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Andreas Mathismoen strikes a balance between online and in-person learning at MIT

Andreas Mathismoen strikes a balance between online and in-person learning at MIT

Andreas Mathismoen is a media and communication professional from Norway. Seeking to keep himself updated on new communication channels and digital strategies, Andreas took his first program with MIT Sloan Executive Education online, completing Artificial Intelligence in early 2019, followed by Digital Business Strategy, also online. This summer he came to campus to complete Cybersecurity Leadership for Non-Technical Executives, and Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Creative Problem Solving, Innovation, and Change, earning his MIT Sloan Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership as a result.

“MIT has given me a way to further my digital development,” says Andreas. “Change is coming more and more quickly, and you have to be a student the rest of your life if you’re going to be good at marketing. You can never think you are mastering it.”

Andreas was drawn to the topics of AI, digital development, and cybersecurity because of their growing importance across industries. “In Norway, the government is working on creating a coordinated strategy for AI and digital development under Nikolai Astrup, the first Minister of Digitalization. He’s preparing guidelines and a strategy for Norway, which is something I think every country should do. Whether you are in government or industry, it’s hard to keep pace with digital. And, as a result, we have an increased need for privacy, so cybersecurity is more important than ever.”

Until recently, Andreas was a communication and marketing manager working with some of Norway’s biggest events. “If you’re a marketing manager and you’re not constantly reading about or taking courses on digital development, you have no chance to achieve your goals or make the right strategies.” Now Andreas is back as a PR consultant, working with Norwegian industrial companies, among others.

As Andreas weighed his options for executive education, he was drawn to the MIT faculty, who are leaders in their fields. “It was a very special experience to learn from industry pioneers like Stuart Madnick, Founding Director of Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan, and Tom Malone, Founder of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.

“I think Madnick and his colleagues Keri Pearlson and Michael Siegel have one of the most important courses at MIT. Cybersecurity either is or should be #1 on every big company’s agenda. Whether or not you have any understanding of cyber, you will have good learning experience in this program. You’ll will develop an understanding of how your company should work with IT security. There were a lot of wow moments. The managers in the room were like, ‘I really need to make this a strategy.’ And the IT specialists who attended realized they needed to foster cyber-safety awareness in a new way.”

After completing the cybersecurity program, Andreas attended the inaugural session of Questions are the Answer this past summer, a course that he credits for having a very transformative effect on him. “I started my career as a journalist—questions have been a big part of my life. So, when I came to this course I said, ‘here is something I know a lot about.’ But Hal Gregersen surprised me. He was finding different questions and different methods that were improving the way I approach things. We worked with creating catalyzing questions … and it really opened my eyes and started several processes inside of me that I’m still developing.”

Andreas added that several days after the course he continued to work on tasks over the phone with another program attendee. “It doesn’t stop after the course is over!”

While taking this course, Andreas also noticed that staff from MIT Sloan Executive Education were in attendance, as part of our own learning and development. “It was a pleasure to get to know the MIT team. They really do make you feel as though you have become part of a family. The fact that they were students also says something about the environment at the school—everyone is open to learning and challenging themselves.”

We asked Andreas how he felt the online courses and the in-person programs compared to one another.

“The online courses are much more work, and a lot of time. You can manage them, but to really participate they take 20% or 30% of your time for several weeks. There is so much material presented that you can commit yourself to and benefit from. On the other hand, when you are at MIT in person, you have the great fortune of meeting so many exiting people from different countries and backgrounds, each who gives all of himself or herself in the classroom. There is the benefit of networking with and really getting to know the professors and the thinkers and the other students. So, there are great things about both, and I’ll continue taking courses online and in person. I’m going to be a student for years to come at MIT.”

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