We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Yoni Dahan, a recent participant in the MIT Sloan Advanced Management Program (AMP), a month-long senior executive program designed for a diverse group of seasoned executives seeking a transformative learning experience among global peers.
Tell us a little about your role at UNITO and the company itself.
I'm the founder and CEO of UNITO, a new startup headquartered in Hong Kong that specializes in smart home and smart kitchen appliances.
What prompted you to consider an Advanced Management Program? Did you have specific business challenges you wanted to resolve, or were you looking to grow your overall skill set? Why did you choose MIT?
Being connected to dozens of startups, I’ve witnessed a lot of big success stories but also a lot of stories with a less-than-happy ending. Having a desirable product is a major factor in success; however, it’s not sufficient to just have a good product—companies who are able to take it to the highest level have an excellent strategy on top of the product.
I have seen wonderful companies with excellent products fail, simply because the founders believed that a superior product is a sufficient condition for success, so most of the attention and resources went to the product itself and very little, if any, went to strategic planning. When I started UNITO, I knew I had to lay the right foundations for strategy together with a product that I believe is better than my competitors.
Coming from an engineering background, I wanted to find a management program with engineering in its DNA, so the MIT Sloan Advanced Management Program was the obvious choice.
What did you enjoy most about the program? What proved to be the most inspiring or useful to you?
I would say that I enjoyed every bit of this program—it was a success in so many ways it would be impossible to explain it in few words. I came away with specific targets and, at the end, I was able to check all the boxes.
However, if I had to choose the most inspiring or useful experience, I would say it was spending time with my peers in the program. I learned so much from everyone. Although it’s a very diversified group coming from different countries and different industries, it’s quite amazing how much you can learn from your peers just the same as you learn from the program itself. After graduating from the program, we all keep in close touch, some even engage in business relations, and some connections have become very valuable friendships.
Have you applied any of your learnings to UNITO and, if so, to what effect? What has proven most impactful?
Following the program, UNITO was indeed established with the foundations I acquired at the AMP. For me, the most relevant parts were strategy, supply chain, and system dynamics. UNITO strategy, product categories, distribution channels, and market segmentation were foggy ideas before I joined the program, but the AMP made them crystal clear.
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