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Banu and Tom Atkinson, SM '94

Banu and Tom Atkinson, SM '94Banu and Tom Atkinson, SM '94

Banu Atkinson, SM '94

Treasurer for United BMB Group Inc.

Tom Atkinson, SM '94

Director of Information Management at EnerNOC

Co-chairs of the MIT Sloan Alumni Board

Banu and Tom Atkinson readily acknowledge how much MIT Sloan has brought to their lives: a world-class education, rewarding careers, a fruitful alumni network, and, of course, a marriage.

But in 2006, they had an “A-ha moment” that took their appreciation of MIT Sloan to new heights. After living around the globe—where Banu benefited from the clout her MIT Sloan degree provided her as a woman in a male-dominated industry—the couple returned to the Boston area to support Tom’s aspirations for a career change.

The guidance and support Tom received from MIT Sloan went above and beyond his expectations. “I was looking to make a significant shift in my career, from the investment banking world into something new. And I didn’t even know what that new something was going to be,” explains Tom. “I met Alumni Career Counselor Ken White, SM ’69, who was instrumental in guiding me through an exploration of what I might be passionate about. Ken introduced me to the idea of learning by doing, of getting out and participating.”

Keeping Ken’s insights in mind, Tom explored a nascent enthusiasm for energy. He joined the fledgling MIT Energy Club and helped plan its first-ever Energy Conference in 2006. “Being involved in the club’s early phase helped me to learn about the energy industry and get integrated into the community of clean tech around Boston, which led to my job at EnerNOC,” says Tom.

“Tom’s experience was a turning point for us,” says Banu. “It was an ‘A-ha moment,’ when we realized that MIT Sloan has made a lifelong investment in us. The relationship didn’t end when we received our diplomas. More than a decade after our graduation, the MIT Sloan Career Development Office has transformed our lives.”

But Tom and Banu took more than his new career from the experience—they wanted to help other alumni as they had been helped. “We realized that we wanted to reciprocate, in whatever capacity that we could,” says Banu. Adds Tom, “I saw the value of our community firsthand, and decided I wanted to do more of this stuff. I wanted to go back to MIT Sloan and give talks and advise students. I wanted to pay back for having been given so much.”

Currently, Tom and Banu are also giving back as the new co-chairs of the MIT Sloan Alumni Board. In their positions, they hope to connect with alumni on a global scale and raise awareness of the value of the MIT Sloan community. And they just might help their fellow alumni to experience some “A-ha moments” of their own.