The Alfred P. Sloan School of Management began in 1914 as Course XV, Engineering Administration, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At that time, the concept of providing business training in the academic environment was gaining popularity, thus MIT created a program “specially designed to train men to be competent managers of businesses that have much to do with engineering problems.”

As demand for business courses increased, so did the number of Course XV offerings. In 1925 a program leading to a master’s degree in management was established. In 1926 the undergraduate courses included marketing, finance, accounting, and the study of economic trends. That same year a new subject that focused on the organization and operation of a small business was introduced. In keeping with the MIT methodology of closely relating subjects to practical industrial problems, successful businessmen were encouraged to present lectures to the classes and arrange for students to consult with business executives to examine their administrative methods.

In 1930 Course XV became an independent department and was named the Department of Business and Engineering Administration. In 1931 an innovative program for executive development was initiated with the backing of several industrialists. This one-year program — offering graduate study in the fundamentals of management and decision-making — was aimed at young managers who were nominated by their employers and was highly competitive. In 1938 the program received full funding by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and was formally named the MIT Sloan Fellowship Program for Executive Development at MIT.

In 1950 the Sloan Foundation made a gift of over five million dollars to establish a School of Industrial Management (SIM). The concept of the school was the idea of Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. (class of 1895), then Chairman of General Motors, who was interested in further developing the close association between science and industry. MIT Sloan sought to correlate the complex problems of management in modern technical industry with science, engineering, and research.

The MIT Sloan School opened its doors in 1952, a Sloan Foundation grant providing funds exclusively for research and exploration in the field of Industrial Management. For the first few years the School focused on developing its mission and attracting faculty members. The demand for short, ad hoc courses for upper level managers remained consistently high following World War II and the School continued to broaden its curriculum for management training. In June of 1953 a second one-year program for executive development was initiated. Also in 1953 the faculty and administration began to experiment with shorter executive training courses.

In 1960 the School initiated its doctoral program in industrial management. Studies in the program were divided into two broad categories. The first included the disciplines of economics, psychology, applied mathematics, and statistical analysis. The second included applied management subjects such as production, marketing, finance, and organization. In 1963 a grant from the Sloan Foundation permitted the School to offer doctoral fellowships to attract outstanding young managers to careers in business and research and thereby create a pool of educators both for future management professionals and for serious research in the field.

In 1964 the School was renamed the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management, after its benefactor. Throughout the 1960s short executive development programs, aimed specifically at the transfer of modern techniques in areas of specialized concern, grew in popularity. Throughout the next two decades MIT Sloan met the demand by offering a wide variety of executive programs. In addition to the more traditional two-year master's program, in 1972 MIT Sloan offered an Accelerated Master’s Program — an intensive, one-year program for students with several years of work experience. In the mid-1960s the School began to address important management problems in the fields of health, education, and urban and public affairs through its programs and research, and it pioneered the combining of concern for private and public management problems in its curriculum. In 1975 the School offered the Health Management Development Program.

MIT Sloan also continued to develop its focus on research and the education of management professionals, educators, and researchers. In the late 1970s the School sought to renew its uniqueness by increasing student involvement in research and professional experience through strengthening student writing and speaking abilities, and through increased exposure to practicing managers. To accomplish this the School sought to increase research relative to teaching for faculty members, improve teaching facilities, increase support staff for specific projects, and increase the School’s visibility.

In 1981 the Management of Technology program was established and remained the only program of its kind for several years. The curriculum for this twelve-month, full-time master’s program was developed by a joint faculty committee from MIT Sloan and the School of Engineering. The program was designed for engineers and scientists with an eye toward preparing them for more senior roles in industry and government, where they would generate and manage technology-based endeavors. In 1984 a program in management science was introduced at the undergraduate level, which greatly increased overall enrollment and attracted increasing numbers of students from other schools at the Institute. Also in 1984, the School adopted a revised core curriculum for master’s students which enlarged the number of disciplines and applications in the core, and changed the teaching format to a half semester.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, MIT Sloan developed a new strategic vision to reflect the increasingly global nature of the economy. This vision encompassed three central elements: the need for managers to stay on top of technology in order to remain competitive; the increasingly international aspect of all management, given the nature of the economy; and the need for organizations to change in order to cope with environmental changes such as demographics, as well as the need to research how such change should be implemented.

In 1993 MIT Sloan initiated a five-year plan with six specific initiatives that built upon the School’s existing international focus and inherent strengths, particularly through its relationship to the industrial, scientific, and technological expertise of the Institute as a whole. The six initiatives were: establish a joint engineering/management degree in large-scale system design; use new technology for teaching; expand international partnerships; align and grow executive programs; enhance and expand the master’s program; and build on the School’s strength in research and application of that research through its research centers.

In 2010, MIT Sloan opened its new building, E62. Like the management school itself, E62 does not stand alone, but is connected on several levels to the other MIT structures around it. The building is a tribute to the generations of alumni and friends whose generosity and commitment to MIT Sloan have shaped the school's 21st century aspirations. It has been designed for the school's distinctive model of management education that emphasizes discussion, teamwork, and learning-by-experience. E62 advances greater cross-discipline collaboration by bringing together, for the first time in decades, all the school's faculty in one building. As the "greenest" building on MIT's campus, it reflects both the School's and the Institute's commitment to sustainability. It also provides the necessary physical space and contemporary features for the MIT Sloan School of Management to educate students at every stage of their career.

Today, MIT Sloan is ranked among the top business schools in the world. The School’s academic programs and research centers develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and generate ideas that advance management practice.

Head of the Department of Business and Engineering
Erwin Schell1930-1951
Deans of the MIT Sloan School of Management
Edward Pennell Brooks1951-1959
Howard W. Johnson1959-1966
William F. Pounds1966-1980
Abraham J. Siegel1980-1987
Lester Thurow 1987-1993
Glen L. Urban 1993-1998
Richard L. Schmalensee1998-2007
David C. Schmittlein, John C Head III Dean2007-present

MIT Sloan founder Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. was dedicated to the innovation ethic. “Too often,” he said, “we fail to...pay tribute to the creative spirit.”

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