CAMBRIDGE, Mass., October 6, 2005 — Fifteen of the nation's most seasoned business executives have been selected Founding Members of a new MIT Sloan School of Management organization that will enable them to bring their expertise directly into the classroom while serving as an informal “sounding board” on curriculum and other issues for MIT Sloan administrators and faculty members.
Designed to be flexible yet responsive, The Alfred P. Sloan Management Society, named after the General Motors legend who 50 years ago formed the MIT management school that bears his name, operates with no staff, budget or formal agenda. But some of its members are already making their presence known on campus, guest lecturing in classes and discussing educational and other issues with school officials.
“The whole idea is born of a pretty simple precept,” said Society member Michael Armstrong, who has chaired the boards of Comcast Corp., AT&T Corp. and Hughes Electronics Corp. and is currently a visiting professor at MIT Sloan. “We are a small group of experienced and interested people who want to become engaged for the benefit of MIT Sloan. While we may set up a more formal set of objectives, the Society will retain its informality and responsiveness so that we can function effectively as a good sounding board for the Dean and faculty.”
Society members will further build upon MIT's strong collaboration “across three pillars of excellence within MIT — science, technology, and management,” said MIT President Susan Hockfield. “We look forward to seeking insight and counsel from a select group of practicing leaders who agree with the need for change and embrace the importance of technology-based innovation for future success.”
The impetus for the Society came from MIT Sloan Lecturer Howard Anderson, who as founder of the Yankee Group developed relationships with many of the group's members. “The Society consists of leading movers and shakers in American industry who are committed to working with faculty, administrators and students, who as a result will be able to be in regular contact with some of the nation's best business minds,” Anderson said. “Society members are making a commitment to help train the next generation of business leaders.”
One member, Citizens Financial Group CEO Lawrence Fish, is already set to teach a banking case study this semester. He noted that while the Society will most directly benefit the MIT Sloan community, it also offers something to its members. “The Society provides us with a network of like-minded people who are accomplished in business and who, for the most part, are local,” said Fish, who serves as an MIT trustee. “As people with an interest in the community, we will now be better able to enjoy and learn from each other's company.”
While no formal launch is planned for this informal program, MIT Sloan Dean Richard Schmalensee is hosting the group for dinner. Schmalensee noted that Alfred P. Sloan “recognized that innovation-driven companies are unique and present special management challenges. He also knew that industry had much to teach academia, a point that recent critiques of business education have made abundantly clear. So it is especially fitting that this Society has been formed in Mr. Sloan's honor.”
Here is the full list of founding members of the Sloan Management Society:
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