MIT Sloan Executive Education Blog

ACE holder Joanne Markow says seize the day and always finish what you start

Joanne Markow MIT Sloan

Joanne Markow is an executive and entrepreneur who recently earned her Advanced Certificate for Executives in Management, Innovation, and Technology (ACE). The ACE is a special Executive Certificate for participants who attend 25 program days (including at least 10 days of in-person programs) and complete at least two programs from each Executive Certificate track within a four-year period. We recently caught up with Joanne to learn more about her journey at MIT.

When you enrolled in your first executive education program at MIT, did you intend to earn your Advanced Certificate for Executives? When did you decide to go for the 25 program days?

Funny thing is, I didn’t originally plan on earning my ACE. But I love serendipity, and the best things in life sometimes happen organically. I’m continually reminded of two great ways of increasing your likelihood for new opportunities: always seize the day and always finish what you start! I’m thrilled to have earned my ACE and to be a part of the MIT community.

In 2014, I initially selected four MIT Sloan classes to complete the MIT Sloan Executive Certificate in Leadership and Management. I nestled those classes back-to-back in the two short weeks prior to starting a new job the very next day after completing the certificate!

Three years later, in 2017, I felt an unmistakable and natural pull to return to take a few more classes at MIT Sloan, including Neuroscience for Leadership and courses in the Strategy and Innovation track. Doing so, I earned my second certificate, which put me halfway toward the ACE. But it wasn’t until I saw the online programs in Artificial Intelligence business strategies and Internet of Things business implications that I said, “I’m going for the ACE” now. Those two classes put me over the edge! And I loved every minute of the online programs as much as I did with the face-to-face classroom experience at MIT.

What began as a desire to meet phenomenal people from around the world who shared similar leadership goals, technology interests, and complex strategic factors impacting their businesses has now blossomed into a lifelong community for me through MIT Sloan’s network, events, and camaraderie.

Do you still keep in touch with classmates?
Even though it was just a short time, I still keep in touch with some of the folks from my first 2014 classes as well as participants from the online programs—it was fantastic meeting them face-to-face. The professors are also willing to help and very eager to stay in touch after the class finishes.

I’ve also had the pleasure of sitting with MIT Sloan folks at the recent May 2018 Boston Chamber of Commerce event, and in June I attended the MIT alumni weekend with my dad who is also an MIT alum and former researcher in MIT’s civil engineering school.

How is your job/role today different than your responsibilities or day-to-day challenges when you started your ACE?
My life changed dramatically. When I began the MIT Sloan ACE program, I had spent 20 years in operations leadership and five of those years as the COO of a learning experience company.

The day after completing my first Executive Certificate, I was beginning a new leadership role running the career operations team at Hult International Business School’s growing campus—jumping from 268 graduate business students to 726 students within 1.5 years.

Today, I’m co-founder of an early stage startup called GreenMason looking to tackle jobfit problems that impact people’s well-being and ability to build a fulfilling career.

Thanks to MIT Sloan, I’m even more fearless than before. The ACE program opened my eyes, ears, and mind to new ways of thinking about business and how we can change retention and the talent market today.

Joanne Markow earning her ACE

Why did you choose MIT?
I chose MIT Sloan because it values a multidisciplinary approach, blending topics like neuroscience, leadership, IoT and AI strategies, marketing analytics, and business process design. I have a very wide-range of interests and was really happy MIT could accommodate them all.

It’s also important for me to see and learn from other women within technology management, in strategic leadership roles solving tomorrow’s issues. I met some amazing female leaders in these classes.

I grew up on the MIT campus and remember my dad’s beaver class ring. My dad earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at MIT then worked in MIT’s civil engineering research team for 15 years. Making the choice to go back to school after working for 20 years and to have the choice be MIT was a “no brainer” for me!

Did you have any favorite courses? Which stood out to you as the most impactful?
The classes that helped advance my business most directly were Neuroscience for Leadership, Applied Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Business Strategies, Internet of Things: Business Implications and Opportunities, Strategic Marketing for Technical Executives (now called Marketing Innovation), and Negotiation for Executives.

I found the variety of classes, frameworks provided, strategies for navigating change, pricing/marketing tips, and overall blend of strategy, innovation, and technology to be the perfect mix for me. The people, process, and tools are amazing, and I feel like a part of a community—and I really mean that.

How did you find your peers? Were they facing similar challenges—did you feel a sense of camaraderie?
I absolutely loved my peers and meeting so many new people. We also had a local cohort of online program students who all met up in Cambridge, so it was fantastic putting faces to a names while experiencing a 100% online program.

I found my peers to be insightful, caring, eager to learn, and similar in terms of career and leadership experience—as well as their desire for “what’s next.” They are all executives and team leaders from every industry and location. It’s possible to learn as much from their collective perspectives as you do from the professors or the readings.

And also—thank you to the staff at MIT Sloan. I’m know that there are many things the staff do every day to help make executive students’ lives better. It’s all much appreciated and noticed!

Learn more about the Advanced Certificate for Executives and start earning yours!


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