Thousands of graduating students, alumni, and their families came to campus in early June for the 2023 commencement ceremonies and reunion celebrations. Among the returning graduates were over 1,300 Sloanies and their guests who attended MIT Sloan Reunion 2023.
The pride of MIT Sloan
The annual event, which resumed in-person festivities in 2022, began on Thursday, June 1, with presentations by faculty, the MIT Sloan Career Development Office (CDO), and the MIT Leadership Center. These included three of the long weekend’s most popular sessions.
Gayle Grader (Director, Executive Career Development and Coaching Lead, CDO) presided over “Using Assessment Insights to Hack Your Career Switch” and “Be Board Ready,” back-to-back workshops presented by the CDO. In the first, she and Shauna LaFauci Barry (Senior Associate Director, Alumni Engagement and Coaching, CDO) presented highlights from the “Executive Career Journey” framework for guiding alumni through self-reflection and related strategies for landing their next role or making a career switch.
The second CDO workshop saw Grader moderating an alumni panel discussion of what it takes to become a successful board member. Participants included Bill Hughes, SM ’94, Becky Klein, EMBA ’21, Luda Kopeikina, SF ’90, and Jennifer Levin Carter, EMBA ’19.
In a continuation of her talk from the 2022 MIT Sloan Women’s Conference, Nicki Roth (Executive Coaching Program Lead, MIT Leadership Center) spoke about the significance of “Big Impact Through Small Actions” for leaders at organizations of all shapes and sizes. Elsewhere, Arnie Barnett, PhD ’73, (George Eastman Professor of Management Science; Professor of Statistics) delivered a stirring presentation on “Driving with Data” to a packed room.
“I’ve been extremely lucky to be here, and you have a lot to do with it,” said Barnett. “We are extremely proud of our alumni, and I hope that sometimes we make you proud of us.”
Our greatest (limited) resource
Friday began with concurrent sessions on “Real Estate for the Future” with Kosta Ligris, EMBA ’18 (Lecturer, Technological, Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Strategic Management; Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship), and “Effective Communication in the Hybrid Workforce” with Neal Hartman (Senior Lecturer, Managerial Communication).
More concurrent sessions followed, including “A Future with SustAInable Solutions” with Bethany Patten, EMBA ’13 (Senior Lecturer; Director of Policy and Engagement, Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan), Dan Harple, SF ’13, Lillian Kwang, MBA ’22, and Peter McHale, MBA ’22; and “Perspectives from Leaders for Global Operations” with Mick Farrell, LGO ’98, Annabel Flores, SB ’99, LGO ’03, Leigh Hunnicutt, LGO ’08, Kristin Toth, LGO ’03, and Leon Villegas, LGO ’08.
In “Burnout and Moral Injury in Healthcare,” the recently formed MIT Sloan Physicians Group, a collaboration between current students and alumni with medical backgrounds and careers, made its Reunion debut. Group members Carl Dahlberg, SF ’17, Andrea Doria, EMBA ’19, Anthony Dowidowicz, EMBA ’18, and Jason Gluck, EMBA ’22, lead the presentation.
Before the night’s many individual class and program celebrations commenced, everyone gathered in Wong Auditorium for “IM2M Talks: Ideas Made to Matter,” during which Fernando Goldsztein, SF ’03, spoke about the health initiative he founded to research a cure for pediatric brain cancer; Jean Su, SF ’03, discussed her decision to leave Silicon Valley for Hollywood; and Aagya Mathur, MBA ’18, emphasized the importance of prioritizing women’s health.
“Resources are limited, and at this stage of my life, I’ve realized the most limited resource is our time on this planet,” said Su. “We cannot treasure our most limited resource enough.”
Many things at the same time
While all alumni were treated to free admission to the MIT Museum for the weekend, the final stretch of Reunion sessions began Saturday morning with two hugely popular faculty presentations and closed that evening with a fireside chat, the annual “State of the School” address, the TED Talk-style “Innovation Showcase” hosted by the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, and the Consumption Function.
Miro Kazakoff, MBA ’11, (Senior Lecturer, Managerial Communication) and Arathi Mehrotra (Senior Lecturer, Managerial Communication) co-presented “Persuading with Data,” based on the MIT Sloan Executive Education course of the same name. Afterward, Retsef Levi (J. Spencer Standish (1945) Professor of Management) and Karen Zheng (George M. Bunker Professor) spoke about their research and outreach activities through the Food Supply Chain Analytics and Sensing Initiative in “Innovation of Agriculture and Food Systems.”
After a long break for lunch and networking, attendees returned to Wong Auditorium for a fireside chat between John C Head III Dean David Schmittlein and Brad Feld, SB ’87, SM ’88, co-founder of and partner at Foundry and co-founder of Techstars. Throughout the lively conversation, Feld spoke about his experiences at MIT Sloan and how they shaped his life and career moving forward.
“One of the best things about MIT is that you can be involved in many things at the same time,” he said. “I had these things that were different but sort of linked together. That was a profound experience for me, that I could be in a world where I could do that.”
Dean Schmittlein followed with his overview of MIT Sloan and its prospects for 2023 and beyond, but not before expressing his gratitude to the alumni community for the power of their philanthropy and their continued support for the school.
“It’s been an interesting five years, and I just want to take a moment, with some thanks, to acknowledge the work that this school as a community did to bring us through the pandemic,” he said. “More than a few of you were a part of that in multiple ways.”