CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 9, 2006 — Former General Electric CEO and corporate legend Jack Welch will try his hand as a classroom instructor for the first time this fall at the MIT Sloan School of Management. The course will center on the leadership beliefs and practices described in Welch's recent book, Winning.
“This is the first time I've ever done this and I'm looking forward to it,” said Welch, who lives on Boston's Beacon Hill across the Charles River from MIT Sloan.
“I haven't wanted to teach at business schools before because a lot of the people getting MBAs want to become consultants and investment bankers, and that doesn't require a lot of management expertise. But when I appeared at Sloan last spring as part of my book tour, I found a very enthusiastic dean and students who were engaged and energized by many of the same issues about which I care.”
Welch said he hoped that his class, which is titled “Conversations with Jack Welch,” will meet eight times this fall, “will get more MBAs interested in leading an organization and the fun around it and the differences you can make. A leader has an enormous amount of opportunity to do a lot for a lot of people.”
MIT Sloan Dean Richard Schmalensee said Welch's legendary resume and his down-to-earth approach and style make him a natural fit for the MIT Sloan classroom.
“At Sloan, our students spend a lot of time on strategic thinking and other important analytic skills,” he said. “But it is equally important that our students — and our future business leaders — know how to implement the strategies they develop and how to lead organizations. Jack Welch is all about getting things done and he has a lifetime of leadership lessons to offer.”
To test the classroom waters, Welch this week sat in on a similar MIT Sloan class taught by Alex d'Arbeloff, the honorary chairman of the MIT Corporation and the retired founder of Teradyne, Inc.
“It's a good idea for MBA students to talk to experienced practitioners who have been successful at managing large and small companies,” said d'Arbeloff. “Jack and I agree that by having more students interested in being good managers we will develop more leaders who can run or create companies.”
Welch said that rather than lectures, he wants to make his class as interactive as possible, using stories, anecdotes, and actual experiences described in Winning.
“I'm not thinking about taking up teaching as a career, but I like MIT Sloan and the thinking that is going on there a lot.”
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