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As you dig deep into the MIT Sloan Fellows curriculum, you are bound to feel all those reactions—sometimes simultaneously. The rigor is relentless, especially during the summer session, but MIT’s “drink-from-the-fire hose” pace, as students have sometimes called it, is as invigorating as it is challenging.
The strategic components of the MIT Sloan Fellows Program work in synergy to deliver a powerful learning experience that is not just career altering, but also life changing. You graduate from the program with in-depth knowledge, a global perspective, a broader understanding of interpersonal and team dynamics, the international network of a leader who has worked all over the world, and the deeply grounded confidence that all those assets engender.
Before you arrive at MIT Sloan, you will participate in a 360° Leadership Assessment with the help of a dozen or so of your handpicked peers, managers, subordinates, and clients. Working one-on-one with faculty, you will review the results of this assessment during the summer term before beginning intensive executive leadership development studies.
The year kicks off with April Orientation Week, which features an academic overview of the program and gives you a chance to get acquainted with the MIT Sloan environment. This week is also a valuable opportunity to get to know your learning community—and to get oriented to MIT and the Cambridge–Boston area. You will meet members of your class and their partners and families. You will also have opportunities to talk with the outgoing class and get inside tips on program matters and practical issues, like housing options and support systems.
The first weeks of the program focus on building a strong foundation for collaboration. In addition to activities that introduce the overall program, the curriculum, the faculty, and broader MIT resources, many events focus on team building and developing bonds with fellow classmates, their partners, and their families.
The core of the summer session is a rigorous curriculum that brings all fellows to the same level of knowledge in key disciplines. Given the vast diversity of the class—100+ fellows with 100+ different frames of reference—this mandatory core curriculum means that going forward, you and your classmates will be speaking the same language on essential business topics. Read more about the team-building element.
The offerings are delivered in a variety of formats: half-day, full-day, or weeklong courses, workshops, simulations, and field trips. Many of these offerings focus on leadership theory and skill development, and provide a wide range of opportunities for modeling, practice, feedback, self-assessment, and reflection. The offerings are delivered in a variety of formats: half-day, full-day, or weeklong courses, workshops, simulations, and field trips.Note: While SIP runs during fall and spring terms, fellows have the opportunity to participate only in fall.
The Independent Activities Period (IAP) is a special four-week term that runs the entire month of January. A signature component of the MIT experience for almost half a century, IAP provides you with a break from the routine of the fall and spring semesters and offers opportunities for creative learning experiences. During IAP, you are free to set your own educational agenda, undertake independent projects, meet with faculty, or pursue volunteer options around the globe. Read more about IAP.
The MIT Sloan Fellows Seminar in Leadership is a class without boundaries. You will evaluate leadership models with MIT Sloan faculty, global leaders, and your program peers. You will travel to key centers of enterprise and government and talk frankly and confidentially with leaders about their greatest challenges. And you will give powerful, real-world context to the intense innovation and global leadership expertise you have been building throughout the year.
In a world where ever-accelerating change is a constant, skillful executive leadership development is more crucial and more difficult to achieve than ever before. As a Sloan Fellow, you will have the chance to develop your capacity for creative, effective leadership innovation through rigorous analysis and intensive practice. You will enhance your ability to define critical objectives, build dynamic relationships, and deliver innovative solutions. And you will talk face-to-face with some of the most influential leaders of our day and learn about their greatest—and lowest—moments as leaders. With the rigor and range of leadership knowledge and experience as your foundation, you will develop a distinctive and effective leadership style and the ability to practice it with skill and confidence.
One of numerous venues for talking to iconic executives and heads of state is the Dean’s Innovative Leader Series, which brings many of the world’s finest leaders to campus every year. Read more about the Dean’s Innovative Leader Series.
The curriculum includes a selection of core courses that will help you and your peers build a shared foundation of knowledge. You will round out your curriculum by choosing a number of strategic electives from among 100 courses across MIT. These electives give you the opportunity to create a tailored course of study that dovetails with your own interests, challenges, and experiences. Review core courses, electives, and the curriculum calendar.
As an MIT Sloan Fellow, you have the option to complete a master’s thesis (in pursuit of an MBA or SM), individually or with a coauthor. Developing a thesis is an opportunity to tap MIT’s extraordinary research centers and laboratories to analyze and solve a business challenge that you find particularly pertinent. Such in-depth exploration into a topic is something the normal pressures of day-to-day business just don’t allow. Read more about the thesis option.
MIT’s credo is Mens et Manus, or Mind and Hand, and it is integral to the Sloan Fellows experience. During your year in the program, you will meet leaders here at MIT and out in the nerve centers of change. You will work on projects with real-world impact, have an opportunity to put leadership innovations to the test in authentic management situations, and find out how business is being done in your own industry and in related industries around the globe. Learn more about the Sloan Fellows action-learning component.
Rod GarciaSenior Director, Office of Admissions
MIT Sloan School of Managementrgarcia@mit,edu
“I strategized with the world’s top aeronautics scientists, explored pivotal technological
innovations at the MIT Media Lab, learned from leading security experts in political
science–even tapped the latest thinking on defense policy at Harvard’s JFK School
of Government. If it was essential to me as a leader, I could reach across the MIT
universe and get it.”
“Immersion in the MIT Sloan Fellows environment is not just about rigorous academics.
It’s about the accelerated learning you experience by being at MIT full time: the
dozens of thought leaders who visit campus each week, the spontaneous brainstorming
sessions over coffee, and the exploration and reflection you never have room for
in your normal routine.”
“Working so intensely with classmates from around the world day in and day out meant
that, by year’s end, their experiences became my experiences. Today, as I leave
the program, my perspective encompasses a wide swath of countries, cultures, and
industries. I could not have developed that expanded view any other way.”
“A management program at MIT Sloan was a strategic choice for me. An MBA from MIT
underlined my technical credentials while giving me skills that are complementary—rather
than redundant—to the strengths of the other executives sitting around a boardroom
table. I find I bring a richer base of knowledge and a broader perspective to problem-solving
“I have been working with local civic and medical leaders in Guatemala, El Salvador,
and Qatar on developing sustainable healthcare models. Key to success is building
strong multicultural relationships, a skill I developed in one of the most collaborative
cultures on earth—MIT. I learned that if you don’t have robust relationships in
place, change isn’t sustainable. After spending a year at MIT, the ability to build
teams—and consensus—is second nature to me.”
“Family is so important to us that my husband and I once took a year off and lived
at sea with our two children on a 32-ft sloop. So when I was considering a year
at MIT, the kids figured heavily into the decision. They were middle school age
then and found Cambridge, MIT, and the children of my program peers fascinating
and inspiring. My daughter very much responded to the rich intellectual and multicultural
environment and is now at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. Her plan is to
get involved with Doctors without Borders. My son, after a summer robotics program
at MIT, is making his career in electronic game design. That year very much shaped
who we all are today.”
“Every day I find myself tapping into skills I learned during that intense year
at MIT. How to communicate and build strong partnerships, for example. How to guide
the evolution of organizations. How to drive change. These capabilities are now
in my DNA and have been crucial to realizing my vision—and in helping me help others
to realize theirs.”
“I was self-sponsored, so going to business school was a major investment. I decided
on MIT because a business school set within an engineering school could give me
a much more informed perspective on new technologies. I knew that having the skills
to understand technology trends would be of enormous value going forward—and it
“One year immersed in an idea-generating environment with some of the best minds
in the world is an extraordinary opportunity. The faculty, of course, taught me
so much, but I learned just as much from my peers in the program. Working closely
with these inspiring, highly accomplished people day in and day out, I picked up
valuable knowledge across an astonishingly wide spectrum of the global marketplace.”
Bruce S. Gordon is that rare hybrid, a social visionary and an astute businessman.
After 35 years rising through the ranks of Bell of Pennsylvania, Bell Atlantic,
and Verizon, he retired at 56. In his final position, he led the company’s largest
division, retail markets, which served 33 million residential and small business
customers. He also directed corporate advertising and brand management and brought
in $25 billion in annual revenue. After his retirement, Gordon took the helm as
president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP) until stepping down in the spring of 2007.
Often lauded for outstanding leadership, Gordon was included in Fortune magazine’s
2002 roster of “The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives.” Black Enterprise magazine
named him “Executive of the Year” in 1998. “I'm definitely a believer,” he says,
“that leadership technique has an immeasurable impact on a business.”
Gordon believes his experience in the MIT Sloan Fellows Program was critical to
making him the leader he is today. “Executives from 17 countries were represented,
very accomplished business people from a wide spectrum of business, industry, government,
and military organizations,” he says. “Even if working with that diverse group of
people was the sum total of the Sloan Fellows experience, I would have walked away
a winner, but there was so much more – the faculty, the curriculum, the learning
experience, the trip to the Far East. The experience was remarkable.”
“I wanted the high-level access to MIT faculty that comes with being a Sloan Fellow–to
be able to talk over problems with Nobel Laureates in physics and economics, with
innovators and ground-shakers. I have seen the remarkable power of MIT Sloan thinkers,
and I wanted to learn from them and grow to be one myself.”
“My company is eager to reach out into the world and become a great enterprise.
I see this year of immersion as the nourishment of that aim. When I was deciding
whether to apply, I mapped all our goals and gaps to the opportunities offered in
the program and achieved a one-to-one match. I couldn’t afford not to come.”
“The Sloan Fellows are so legendary, I wondered if there was an element of myth.
But during orientation, I realized the elite caliber of the fellows is real…the
depth of accomplishment, the breadth of diversity, the global network, the bonding
and collaboration–all greater than I could have imagined.”
“MIT is an intellectually invigorating, high-energy environment. You are surrounded
by people who are pushing themselves to realize their dreams. Accomplishment is
not about status at MIT. It’s about making something important happen—something
that makes a difference in the world. I found that spirit infectious. In fact, it
influenced the course of my career.”
“During my time at MIT, I came to realize that I had a very ‘Singaporean perspective,’
and that if I were to discuss an issue with colleagues back in Singapore, they would
share that perspective. My program peers from Brazil, Japan, and other cultures,
however, would share very different ideas on the same issue. It was incredibly illuminating.
Now, if I want an alternate perspective, I have a global network I can turn to for
“MIT looks at technology holistically. The value of integrating management strategy,
marketing, technical issues, and other factors is an approach that has proven successful
again and again worldwide. And it’s a perspective that has been extremely valuable
to me as I help bring innovations to market in my work at the NRF.”
Francis Yeoh is an innovator’s innovator. An engineer with a PhD in telecommunications,
Yeoh has been immersed in high tech entrepreneurship for most of his career. He
was CEO of an internet services company, headed an R&D organization that spun
out a bevy of start-up ventures, even set up Singapore’s first Internet service
provider. Now, as CEO of Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF), Yeoh is
driving research, innovation, and enterprise using a holistic, highly collaborative
model inspired by his time at MIT.
As head of the NRF, he connects inventors with investors and subject experts to
develop multipronged commercialization strategies that increase the odds of entrepreneurial
success. And through the pioneering initiative CREATE—Campus for Research Excellence
and Technological Enterprise—he is bringing together many of the world’s top research
institutions (including MIT) under one roof to pool knowledge and solve some of
the most intractable problems of our age.
When Forbes magazine named James C. Foster “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2002, the
Chairman and CEO of Charles River Laboratories had transformed his 56-year-old family
business into one of the world’s leading biotech companies. And he did it by taking
back control of the company from a multinational corporation.
Although he had a law degree, Foster knew if he was going to grow Charles River
Laboratories into a biotechnology giant, he needed a strong management foundation.
Not wanting a traditional MBA degree, Foster never even considered other schools
or programs. He knew what the MIT Sloan Fellows Program had to offer and headed
straight for it.
Foster says that the program prepared him for the gauntlet of professional challenges
that culminated in his 2002 award. “The MIT Sloan Fellows Program is not just an
education, it’s a life-altering experience,” he says. The powerful relationships
forged with faculty and fellow students, the CEO seminars, and the trips to New
York City, Washington, and beyond made the program an experience that he says was
perfect for him at that juncture in his career. Charles River Laboratories now employs
8,000 people at 70 facilities in 18 countries.
MIT Sloan taught Foster that to be successful in running a business, you have to
take balanced risks and create an environment in which people are given incentives
to be risk-takers. “You want to be constantly soliciting people’s input,” he explains,
“to say, ‘What do you think?’ and ‘Why don't you go out and try that?’ And if it
doesn't work, you have to be able to say, ‘Thanks for trying.’ ”
Keiji Tachikawa was actually disappointed when placed in charge of NTT DoCoMo, the
mobile telephone unit of the Japanese telecom giant Nippon Telephone and Telegraph.
He’d had his eye on what he considered a more coveted job leading NTT East, the
company's local phone service unit.
That disappointment only served to fuel Tachikawa’s vision for DoCoMo. Three years
after taking the job, he had grown the unit’s market capitalization to $225 billion
– bigger even than that of NTT itself. He also took the company global, carving
out stakes in mobile companies in Europe, Asia, and America.
Tachikawa was named CEO and, soon after, “Asian Businessman of the Year” by Fortune
magazine “for his role in one of the world’s greatest business successes of 2000.”
The honor, the magazine explained, was bestowed on the leader who proved to be “ahead
of the pack, in profits and vision. Tachikawa leads on both fronts.”
Tachikawa credits the Sloan Fellows Program with helping him shape an effective
methodology for business management and decision-making. “In addition to the basic
courses of law, economics, and accounting, and subjects such as strategic policy,
finance, and marketing, I became aware of the diversity of ideas,” he says.
If Tachikawa’s entrepreneurial triumph took the global business world by storm,
it did not surprise his classmates in the MIT Sloan Fellows class of 1978. Indeed,
it was his experience at MIT Sloan that inspired his motto for corporate management,
“Think drastically, execute steadily.” A motto he has brought with him to the Japanese
space program–JAXA–which he has headed since 2004.
Kofi Annan can remember the day. It was 1971 and he was in the middle of his first
term in the MIT Sloan Fellows Program. He was walking along the Charles River, ruminating
about his place in the class, wondering how he fit into the audacious group of global
leaders who were his classmates.
When the answer came to him, Annan says, it came to him most emphatically: “Follow
your own inner compass...know who you are, what you stand for, where you want to
go, and why you want to get there.” He recalls that at once, his anxieties began
Annan believes that as a result of that walk by the river, he took away from MIT
“the intellectual confidence to help me locate my bearings in new situations, to
view any challenge as an opportunity for renewal and growth, and to be comfortable
in seeking the help of colleagues, but not fearing to do things my way.”
MIT and the United Nations, Annan says, have more in common than might be at first
obvious. The experimental method, for example. “An international organization,”
he says, “is an experiment...an experiment in human cooperation on a planetary scale.”
He notes that “international organizations must be closely tuned to their environments,
quickly correct their mistakes, build cumulatively on their achievements, and continually
generate new modalities as previous ways of doing things become outdated.”
Although that introspective walk along the Charles River is now more than 30 years
past, Annan’s experience at MIT still informs his decisions. “As a Sloan Fellow,
I learned management skills that I could draw on in refashioning the United Nations
for the new century.”
“During our international trip to South Africa and Brazil, I was struck by an incredible
sense of momentum. The nations we visited were very different yet equally committed
to sustainable fast-track development. The government and company leaders we met
gave us tremendous insight into the possibilities for responsible entrepreneurship.”
“I’m preparing to start a multinational company focused on data analytics. The best
thinkers in business, entrepreneurship, and IT are all right here. The one-on-one
interactions with faculty and global leaders are unlike any other educational experience.
And your fellow students are the best of the best. I remember looking across the
classroom and thinking: just the dozen of us in this room could change the world.”
“My family considered it ‘our’ Sloan Fellows year. My wife, who is also an entrepreneur,
was able to work remotely from Cambridge. My children became fluent in English,
played soccer, and took classes through MIT’s fantastic SPLASH program. They loved
the idea of studying at MIT, just like Dad.”
“The program is a microcosm of the corporate environment. You work closely with
people who hold very different perspectives from your own. You evolve from accepting
those differences to counting on them. You learn there’s far more power in collaboration
than in competition. And you learn not just how to lead, but when to lead.”
“My year as a Sloan Fellow was the best of my life. I met so many influential leaders
and saw how they integrated who they were with the fundamentals of good leadership.
When I returned to my job at HP, my dialogue with senior executives was transformed.
I was immediately making things happen in my company.”
“I always knew I wanted to do big things with my life. As a Sloan Fellow I gained
a deeper understanding of how the world works – economics, finance, ‘the Street’
– but I also learned about poverty, sustainability, and social issues. I gained
a clearer, more actionable vision of how to make the world a better place.”
“The value of the program was extraordinary. It opened my mind, stretched my thinking,
and fueled my creativity in ways I did not think were possible. I emerged with the
confidence and ability to make a difference in my company and in the community.”
“I was the very last person in the class to arrive on campus. I came upon a group
of fellows deep in discussion. When they realized who I was, they immediately welcomed
me and dropped everything to help me get settled and ease my transition. That Sloan
Fellows bond is powerful – and lasts far beyond the program.”
“Every day, I feel the impact of my Sloan Fellows experience. I am more innovative,
more strategic, more global in my thinking. The value of the program is integral
to everything I do and everything I am. Two years have gone by, and I keep waiting
for that sensation to abate, but it doesn’t.”
“Before MOT, I started a small company, and it was successful, but I felt I could
take my ideas much further. I realized there were gaps in the story I wanted to
tell about myself. I needed the pedigree and capabilities to match my vision—and
a management program that could help me develop that. It’s true. An entrepreneur
who wants to bring revolutionary technologies to market has one clear choice in
“MIT is instrumental in moving the world forward, and my year in the MOT Program
gave me the resources to join that effort. On top of everything I took away, I can
show up on campus today and ask for whatever I need—with the confidence that that
need will be met.”
“At GenomeQuest, I am riding the most exciting technology development in the history
of mankind. But I am convinced that if I hadn’t taken that year out for the MOT
Program (now Sloan Fellows), I would still be a mid-level technical manager in a
biopharma company. My time at MIT gave me everything I need to go as far as I want
Richard Resnick is a genetics pioneer, a serial entrepreneur, and a music innovator,
but a more accurate characterization might be high-tech explorer. Resnick has planted
so many flags on so many tech mountain peaks, it’s dizzying. Today, he’s channeling
everything he’s learned in those many pursuits into his role as CEO of GenomeQuest.
The possibilities inherent in the study of the human genome first became clear to
Resnick right out of college when he worked as a computer scientist on Eric Lander’s
Human Genome Project at MIT. Now, he is at the front lines of the business of genomes,
helping to advance the use of the genome as a universal and affordable diagnostic
tool. And he is drawing on his MIT education—and network—to move forward on that
Read Richard Resnick’s blog at GenomeQuest.
Ron Williams has his head in the clouds, and that’s exactly where he intends to
keep it. “One of the basic principles of successful leadership is to keep your head
in the clouds and your feet on the ground. You have to start with a large-scale,
long-range vision and then operationalize strategies that deliver real value to
As President of Aetna, Williams stands as powerful proof of his theory. He oversees
the bulk of Aetna’s $25 billion business and has been named one of the “50 Most
Powerful Black Executives” by Fortune magazine. He credits the MIT Sloan Fellows
Program as a major force in shaping his ideas about leadership.
“I went to Sloan to turn myself into a generalist with a wider view of business.
I wasn’t alone. At the start of the program, all the participants tended to define
a problem in terms of their specialty. By the end of the program, we’d moved beyond
our respective functional disciplines and learned to match the right discipline,
or combination of disciplines, to the problem at hand.”
Williams looks back on this collaborative experience as a fundamental step in his
evolution as an executive. “Working with a world-class faculty and high-performing
classmates, I was able to take everything I knew about business and raise it to
the next level.”
“MIT is on the crest of the world, and I feel like a kid on a skateboard with my
hat on backwards ready to take off. I’m in this adventure for the thrills and for
the chance to stretch, discover, and expand.”
“In New Zealand, we are great innovators, but we are not commercializing or exporting
nearly enough. As a CEO and a passionate New Zealander, I need to fix that. Just
a couple of weeks in, I’m already building a powerful global network and tapping
into MIT’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. This is exactly where I need to be right now.”
“The Sloan Fellows Program is a strong, inclusive family. When my husband saw how
enthusiastic the partners are about the program and how close-knit the community
is, he decided to make more time to visit from New Zealand so he can take part.”
The MIT Sloan Fellows are individuals of exceptional caliber–highly motivated and deeply experienced. As fellows, they have the rare opportunity to create customized courses of study in their specific areas of interest, allowing them to dig deep into a crucial issue.Alan MacCormack Visiting Associate Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management
The MIT Sloan Fellows are individuals of exceptional caliber–highly motivated and deeply experienced. As fellows, they have the rare opportunity to create customized courses of study in their specific areas of interest, allowing them to dig deep into a crucial issue.
© 2016 MIT SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT