A venerable legacy, a vital future
For three quarters of a century, the MIT Sloan Fellows Program has been the most venerable executive program in higher education. In part, that venerability stems from the fact that it is the first executive education program in existence — in part, because its alumni are among the world's most dynamic leaders.
However, what distinguishes the MIT Sloan Fellows program most, what secures its legacy and its future, what sets its alumni apart, is a pioneering integration of knowledge, real-world practicality, intellectual courage, global collaboration, and evolution in advance of an ever-changing world.
Birthplace of executive education
Seventy-five years ago, with a generous grant from Alfred P. Sloan, the MIT School of Industrial Management launched the Sloan Fellowship Program, the world's first executive development program. The birth of the MIT Sloan Fellows Program made headlines in The New York Times in 1938 and the first five mid-career managers chosen as fellows were celebrated for their talent and for their promise. As the president of General Motors, Sloan was finding that his engineers, while outstanding in their technical fields, were not prepared for greater management responsibility.
An MIT engineer himself, Sloan understood the problem and brought it to Erwin H. Schell, head of MIT Sloan's early incarnation, the Department of Business and Engineering Administration. Schell had a solution: a program that would help to broaden the perspectives of talented but functionally focused mid-career managers, in order to prepare them for positions of general management and leadership.
Seventy-five years later, the MIT Sloan Fellows Program has built prodigious international respect. It has graduated many of the world's most illustrious and inspiring leaders, including Kofi Annan '72, secretary general of the United Nations, and Carly Fiorina '89, former president and CEO of Hewlett Packard.
And the MIT Sloan Fellows Program has continued to evolve in advance of global challenges. Twenty-five years ago, MIT Sloan and the MIT School of Engineering launched the Management of Technology program, the first program dedicated to developing outstanding engineers and scientists for leadership roles in technology-oriented organizations. Today there are more than 200 programs that have emulated the concept.
Two years ago, MIT Sloan inaugurated the MIT Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership, a strategic integration of these two programs, giving executives from more than sixty countries the opportunity to study the intersection of management and innovation at the very university that pioneered the integration of those disciplines. Heralded as the most relevant program for 21st century organizations, it continues the vision of Alfred P. Sloan by preparing talented mid-career managers from around the globe to lead and create innovative enterprises that will shape the future.