Nancy Wine, Director of Marketing at O’Connor & Drew, P.C., in Braintree, Massachusetts, spoke recently with MIT Sloan Executive Education about her experience at the School; the benefits of networking with peers from all over the world; and why MIT is still “ahead of its time.”
What executive education courses have you taken at MIT Sloan? Understanding and Solving Complex Business Problems; Intelligent Organizations, Collaboration, and the Future of Work; Transforming Your Leadership Strategy; and Managing Complex Technical Projects. As a result, I received an Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership in 2011.
How have you applied what you learned in the courses back at your workplace?
As a leader, myself, I’ve learned that everyone in the professional services firm I work with is also a leader in some capacity. Every day, I try to demonstrate those leadership skills to set an example. What I learned in the courses gave me affirmation and confidence that, as a leader and manager, I am on the right track, and the importance of paying close attention to the insights and differences in perspectives of those around me.
What are the key benefits you gathered from the MIT courses?
I was able to reap some great benefits from the courses, including renewed self-confidence, recognizing that I’m able to accept change quickly; and an affirmation that communication is key. In addition, my time on campus solidified the idea that I am a life-long learner, a good listener, and the importance of creating an environment for innovation in the workplace.
Were you able to connect and network with other professionals during the sessions?
Yes! Definitely. At each new session, there was ample time to meet new people, work in small groups or teams, and network. I made it a point to sit at a different table each day to meet new people and I looked forward to having lunch each day with people from all over the world. I was amazed that so many people come from across the globe to take courses at MIT. It was interesting to learn about their backgrounds, professionally and personally, and the similarities and differences. It made the world feel small.
Are there any particular insights from your time at MIT Sloan that you would like to share? It was interesting to learn about the research that professors have done. It was also interesting to hear the students who were executives and leaders of Fortune 100 companies give their perspective on a case study or a corporate situation and how they would handle it. While working in groups, we had the opportunity to interact with executives and leaders worldwide and discover their decision-making and communication strategies in solving problems.
Do you have a favorite experience in Cambridge?
Having an opportunity to walk around the Cambridge campus was an amazing experience. You could almost feel that the intellectual environment was the nucleus for changing the world. Depending on which building I was walking past, I often wondered what kind of research was happening or what discoveries were occurring; or if the innovative thinking going on behind those doors was going to change the world. It felt very futuristic. Also, I didn’t find MIT intimidating at all. Everyone was very friendly, easy to talk to, and very helpful.
Would you recommend executive education courses to colleagues?
Absolutely. For many years, I wanted to take courses at MIT, but was not able to fit them into my schedule. In 2011, I was finally able to do so. It was well worth it and exceeded my expectations. Even now, I keep my eyes out for new courses that I might find interesting. I think that is the life-long learner in me.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your experience at MIT Sloan?
Over the years, I’ve had many opportunities to learn and observe first-hand and up-close, how corporations, large and small, across various industries lead and manage, and how they become successful or fail. I’ve always had a strong interest in leadership and organizational behavior and have wanted to study the differences between management and leadership. Through my own research, I discovered that MIT was the only institution to have such a program for executives. Even now, many colleges and universities have similar courses or programs. Still, today, there is no program quite like the MIT program. Academically, it’s always been ahead of its time, and still is. And I’m proud to have been able to experience it.