Inventing a laboratory for leadership

The idea of a leadership program for executives of exceptional promise was so revolutionary in 1938 that all five talented managers chosen to be MIT Sloan Fellows were featured in The New York Times. The program, which actually was created seven years earlier, has stayed on the front-facing edge of management for three quarters of a century, acquiring a deep archive of wisdom—wisdom distributed across generations of alumni and faculty who have helped to rethink the way we work and live.

We’ve launched this blog as a forum for sharing that knowledge. We’ll reach across industries and geographies and collect late-breaking bulletins from alumni and faculty on the frontiers of management. You’ll find out how Sloan Fellows alumni and faculty are changing the way we approach cancer treatment, using system dynamics to thwart poverty, or rethinking the electric car.

We’ll kick off with a few posts about the program itself, so that you’ll have a deeper understanding of the community that is generating this knowledge. The program’s roots actually reach further back than those New York Times headlines. The story—and the program itself—began in 1931, as the world struggled to emerge from the Great Depression. General Motors was not just the largest corporation in the U.S., it was the largest company on Earth—in no small part because GM President Alfred P. Sloan (MIT Class of 1895) was behind the wheel. Audacious and visionary, his mid-century chronicle My Years with General Motors is still considered a seminal text in modern management education.

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