MIT Sloan Executive Education

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MIT Sloan professors’ award-winning paper points to shift in sales distribution

A study of the Pareto Principle and the Internet’s “Long Tail” phenomenon by MIT Sloan Professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Duncan Simester recently earned the duo a prestigious award—and reveal results that point to a shift in the distribution of product sales.

The big data experts won the 2013 Management Science Best Paper Award sponsored by the INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences) Information Systems Society. The award recognizes the best contribution to the theory and practice of information systems among papers published in Management Science in the previous three years. The winning paper, “Goodbye Pareto Principle, Hello Long Tail: The Effect of Search Costs on the Concentration of Product Sales,” is co-authored with Jeffrey Hu (a PhD graduate of Sloan’s IT group, now at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business).

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Pitch perfect: Using human signals to convince and persuade

The art of the business plan pitch could fill volumes of b-school literature. But what if the real secret sauce had less to do with content and everything to do with delivery?

honest-signalsAlex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, Director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, has conducted research around the power of unconscious forms of communication. The tools have revealed subtle patterns in how people interact, enabling Pentland and his colleagues to predict outcomes of situations ranging from job interviews to first dates to pitches for funding.

Pentland conducted a study of business plan pitches, during which “rising-star” business executives gave their presentations to venture capitalists, while Pentland and Felix Heibeck, Research Assistant at the MIT Media Lab, watched. “The skills the executives required—the ability to clearly formulate ideas, effectively communicate to a group of peers and then persuade others to pursue those ideas—are indispensable in business as well as everyday life,” said Pentland.

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Certificate holder Bertrand Liang on his experience at MIT Sloan Executive Education

I have been fortunate to have multiple careers—from working in the university setting to the buy-and-sell side of the financial industry to the product development environment. Making the transition from a technically oriented academic career to a practitioner is definitely a humbling experience in the business milieu.

Acquiring a commercial perspective was important to my career, which is why I went to business school to get my MBA, sponsored by my company. However, more than 10 years later, times have changed, and business-oriented instruction is becoming less available for technical staff, both because of constrained resources and lack of time. Numerous articles in publications like MIT Sloan Management Review and the Wall Street Journal have commented on the “commoditization” of the B-school degree, noting that companies are becoming reticent to spend dollars and time on MBA programs.

Is there a way to get what is needed within the forum of a B-school, but without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and years in school? Executive education programs, concentrating on areas as diverse as negotiation, improvement strategies, and product development, have recently been emphasized as meeting the needs of technical personnel. They provide a level of updated information that can directly and practically address key issues that face the emerging or established technical executive first-hand; moreover, the opportunity costs are relatively low, given the two to five days needed to participate. If more time is available, enrolling in more immersive programs (such as MIT Sloan’s Advanced Management Program) or completing an executive certificate can provide additional hands-on learning experiences and are viable alternatives to full- or part-time MBA programs.

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Political Innovation: Embracing and understanding customer service

Guest post by Grayson Brulte, Co-Founder & President of Brulte & Company

Politics is a pursuit inherently built on customer service but without enough attention paid to those who matter the most: voters. In politics, voters are the customers, and instead of asking for a refund or an exchange, they can vote the politician out of office.

So why isn’t voter relations one of the top priorities of a campaign? Campaigns should hire a Chief Voter Relations Officer to manage voter relations and develop an organization that is always striving for perfection. In that way, the organization would be actively embracing customer service as an asset, not a chore.

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MIT Sloan Executive Certificate holder named to “America’s Most Powerful CEOs 40 and Under” list

0x600It’s one thing to be recognized for accomplishments earned over a long and illustrious career. It’s quite another to receive similar kudos at the young age of 39. Such is the case with Justin Hutchens, who for the third consecutive year was named to America’s Most Powerful CEOs 40 and Under list, published by Forbes. To make this list, you had to be the chief executive of one of the 20 biggest publicly traded companies in the U.S. that have CEOs aged 40 or under.

Hutchens is the CEO and President of real estate investment trust National Health Investors (NYSE:NHI), as well as an MIT Sloan Executive Education Certificate holder. In this interview, the successful businessman shares his thoughts on why he chose MIT Sloan Executive Education, the challenges he faces as a young CEO, and some advice on starting out in business. 

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