MIT Sloan Executive Education innovation@work Blog

Participant shares how ACE provides flexible and targeted continuous learning at MIT Sloan

Pierre-Antoine Martino

Although Pierre-Antoine Martino had a solid international academic background—including undergrad and MBA degrees from an engineering school in new technology and a prestigious business school in France, as well as two exchange programs in the UK and Canada—the business executive felt there was something lacking in his professional résumé.

To fill the gap and supplement his CV, Pierre-Antoine pursued a degree in digital marketing and finance from IMD, a leading Swiss business school, and, ultimately, an Advanced Certificate for Executives in Management, Innovation, and Technology (ACE) from MIT in 2018.

Prior to acquiring his advanced degrees, however, Pierre-Antoine accrued a dozen years working in the strategic marketing department at IBM and five years as a senior consultant in strategy and transformation at Capgemini Consulting. As such, Pierre-Antoine became well versed in a variety of best business practices and cognizant of key issues pertinent to a wide variety of industries. Today, Pierre-Antoine serves as Head of e-Regulation & Compliance at SICPA (Ink & Security Solutions), a family-owned enterprise located in Lausanne, Switzerland, that is a global provider of security inks, secured identification, traceability, and authentication solutions. Prior to this role, he was leading the Operations Performance and Analytics within the same company.

ACE enables unmatched networking opportunities

In an effort to further develop his professional skills, Pierre-Antoine began searching for a longer-term certificate program. He explains that throughout Europe there are many programs but most are short term and don’t go into enough depth. Indeed, Pierre-Antoine wanted to work with U.S. citizens to experience the U.S. culture and mindset and take advantage of the invaluable networking opportunities that MIT has to offer. “I was seeking a more complete executive program where I could address specific current challenges on a two- or three-year period, meet executives from different industries and build a strong network, understand and tackle issues with a new international mindset, and become more focused on the U.S. vs. European culture.”

At MIT Sloan, Pierre-Antoine says he found exactly what he was looking for, including the ability to think out of the box and present things differently. “I was also looking for a culture where you are not scared to try, to learn, and where a failure is not considered an issue.”

Pierre-Antoine discovered that the ACE was a unique experience because of access to the [MIT Sloan Affiliate] Alumni network, which he found to be one of the main benefits of the program. “I had direct access to 250-plus high-quality people from different backgrounds, thanks to the different courses I decided to follow. It was great to share experiences, insights, and just understand different points of view. The amount of people you met during these days was just incredible. This is absolutely amazing how you can build such a community in a short-term period. And, to go beyond that community to build strong relationships and business worldwide,” says Pierre-Antoine, who adds that in his newest role he has already identified several people who will be key players in helping him to define pain points, issues, and positioning.


On the whole, Pierre-Antoine found the format, content, professors, guest speakers, and accomplished participants, as well as the combination of remote and onsite options, a huge plus. He also found the price point very appealing as compared to similar programs. “This certificate [ACE] was a great deal. You could pick and choose all the different courses over quite a long period of time. I have a full-time MBA and I have accounting and finance skills, but I wanted to be more focused on some specific issues such as data and business innovation. I already had some and was convinced that in several years I would have others, so I wanted to choose courses based on particular pains.”

Certificate offers best mix of classes, professors, and knowledge

In his pursuit of advanced learning, Pierre-Antoine wanted the opportunity to interact with professors from “one of the very best universities in the world,” and to have the ability to schedule a program that fit within his professional and personal constraints. The executive also wanted the chance to access a wide range of courses related to innovation, operations, leadership, and data-oriented topics. Last but not least, he was looking for something to enhance his MBA.

Although Pierre-Antoine thought all of the courses—both onsite and remote—were top notch, some stood out. Specifically, Understanding Global Markets, Digital Marketing and Social Media Analytics, and Analytics Management.

“Onsite, some courses have had a huge impact on the way [I] learn, deal with problems, communicate, address topics … even if not fully related to my professional needs. The remote modules were also a great alternative with the opportunity to develop specific skills.”

Although Pierre-Antoine says he knows how finance works, he admits he’s not an expert in the field of macroeconomics and appreciated the value of this course. “Clearly [Professor Roberto] Rigobon is totally unique. The value of the three-day program is amazing. You are able to talk about the different methods and ways central banks have to work; it’s clearly relevant and the macro elements became obvious. It was just great.”

He also found great value in the Digital Marketing and Social Media Analytics course taught by Sinan Aral. “Because we are transforming our company from a B2G model to a more B2B approach, it was great to understand how to talk to industries and understand their pains and where they want to invest, as well as the impact of social media in a short period of time. “

Since Pierre-Antoine is an avid sports fan and participant, he appreciated how the Analytics Management course, taught by Ben Shields, demonstrated how to tackle data issues. “This course is one of the best … If you are a data enthusiast, sport lover, and want to see how the sport markets harnesses data in their daily business, this two-day program is definitely made for you. Top-class speakers, great examples; I would have loved to go for a couple of more days!”

Outside of his academic and professional pursuits, Pierre-Antoine spends the majority of his time with family, friends, and practicing sports; he runs marathons, participates in long-distance triathlons, and takes part in ultra trails. For Pierre-Antoine, who is an enthusiastic data leader, continuous learner, and someone with a passion for sports, the MIT Sloan ACE was a perfect fit.

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