After a brief hiatus, the Greater Boston Executive Program (GBEP) is back. Now in the hands of MIT Sloan Executive Education, this popular course was developed almost six decades ago by a partnership formed among MIT and various companies in the Greater Boston area. The program remains supported and guided by a Board of Governors made up of representatives from several Boston based firms, including the Federal Reserve Bank and Raytheon BBN Technologies.
The original goal was to create a management development program for mid-level managers who wanted to move into executive leadership roles. These forward-thinking companies recognized that fostering continuing education in management principles was essential for those who wanted to move up in their firms. Although many of the initial organizations were already participating in in-house management programs, they found there was something missing: a supplementary program that would expose participants to current thinking in management philosophy without taking them away from their respective workplaces for long periods. With the help of MIT's Howard W. Johnson, then President of MIT, the GBEP was established and held its first course in the spring of 1958.
While the current program has its roots in the original one, it has been shortened, refreshed, and relaunched as part of the MIT Sloan Executive Education portfolio. Today, as before, the program offers the benefits of seminar discussions among participants--representatives from companies based in Greater Boston--while providing managers with current, research-based frameworks for understanding and improving leadership capabilities, the implementation of organization changes, and the management of human resources.
According to MIT Sloan Professor John Van Maanen, who is Faculty Director of GBEP and one of three faculty members who teach in it, the program's frameworks and modules are complemented by the small class size and close student-faculty interaction, as well as the diversity of topics and participant backgrounds.
"I know of no other open enrollment executive course that fosters the amount of mutual learning over an extended period of time as the Greater Boston program," says Van Maanen. "The local character ensures relevance and uniqueness across a variety of companies and industries."
During the intensive, eight-week course, Van Maanen says participants will learn how to apply findings from the behavioral sciences to build stronger organizations and graduate better equipped to "lead change, organize for innovation, and manage an increasingly technical workforce." The course curriculum is divided into three main topic areas: leadership, organization change, and strategic human resources management.
The leadership-focused sessions introduce participants to MIT's Four Capabilities Leadership Framework, a powerful tool for understanding and integrating four critical components of leadership--sense-making, relating, visioning, and inventing. The organization change segment focuses on the strategic, political, and cultural aspects of leading individuals and groups within and among organizations. And the human resources management segment approaches actual personnel and HRM problems and challenges from the general manager’s standpoint, combining up-to-date research findings with case materials and viewing HR theory and practice in light of current and emerging trends in the workplace.
Van Maanen adds that GBEP is particularly appropriate for functional specialists who wish to have a broader perspective on critical management issues affecting their company, as well as executives of small and mid-size firms and those who don't have the time to devote to a full-time program.
The Greater Boston Executive Program runs on eight consecutive Mondays, March 7–April 25, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Participants who complete the program will receive both a GBEP certificate of completion and an MIT Sloan Executive Education Certificate in Management and Leadership.
The program will be taught by John Van Maanen, Erwin H. Schell Professor of Organization Studies; Wanda Orlikowski, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Management; and Emilio Castilla, NTU Professor of Management.