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In the Next Issue

How has the social contract between employers and employees changed as a result of the turbulence of 2020? Let us know if you’d like to share your perspectives and experiences on this topic for the next MIT Sloan Fellows MBA Roundtable, and we’ll schedule a time for discussion.

Blockchain: Virtues and Vices in the Cryptocurrency Realm

MIT Sloan Professor Simon Johnson, Faculty Chair of the MIT Sloan Fellows MBA program

According to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Blockchain Survey: Blockchain Gets Down to Business, the world’s most inscrutable technology is rapidly gaining traction in the enterprise sphere. Authors Linda Pawczuk, Jonathan Holdowsky, and Rob Massey note that business leaders are no longer asking whether blockchain will work—they’re asking how it can work for them. Their survey revealed that 86 percent of senior executives believe that blockchain will eventually achieve mainstream adoption, and a stunning 83 percent say their enterprises see a compelling business case for blockchain. On the cryptocurrency front, Facebook’s launch of Libra signals a belief in its ability to compete with established global currencies.

In researching this issue of the MIT Sloan Fellows MBA Program Newsletter, we found similar optimism around the future of blockchain. We pick up where we left off in our last issue, which was dedicated to non-currency models for blockchain, and delve deep into cryptocurrencies themselves. We have reached across the MIT Sloan Fellows network to get firsthand accounts from alumni and faculty who are researching or inventing with blockchain.

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Michael Casey explores how bitcoin fits into the history of currency—and what it means for the world’s five billion unbanked people. Silvana Lopez, SF ’16, cofounder and CEO of The Blockchain Challenge, takes up that theme and talks about how cryptocurrencies are pivotal to sustainable development. Jennifer Hongbo Jiang, SF ’17, explores trust issues regarding bitcoin, while Alin Dragos, SF ’17, head of strategic partnerships at the MIT Digital Currency Initiative, looks past bitcoin to a world with multiple cryptocurrency platforms. Prema Shrikrishna, SF ’17, illustrates how societies might correct imbalances of economic power through cryptocurrencies.

We’re already at work on the next issue, so enjoy your summer and know that a new set of intellectual adventures awaits you in the fall. If you’re not on the mailing list, you can right that wrong right now.

“A very different kind of learning laboratory”

That’s how one alumnus described the MIT Sloan Fellows Program. And it is a laboratory, one devoted to the advancement of leadership, innovation, and global perspective. This one-year MBA program is designed for executives of exceptional promise who are about to take on the most challenging roles of their careers.

In this last of three introductory posts about the MIT Sloan Fellows Program, we’ll look at what sets the program apart—three powerful, interdependent pillars.

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Who needs typical?

A typical Sloan Fellows alumnus? You’d be hard-pressed to find one. MIT Sloan Fellows have launched startups that mushroomed into multinationals, forestalled unprecedented environmental crises, and brought mega-companies back from near-death experiences. They are from Paris, Singapore, Sao Paulo. They have backgrounds in medicine, mechanical engineering, international law. A typical Sloan Fellow? Meet three program alumni, and see if you find any common denominators.

Alan Mullaly, SF ’82
United States
CEO, Ford Motor Company (retired July 1, 2014)

An aeronautical engineer, Alan Mullaly entered Boeing in 1969 straight out of the University of Kansas, rose through the ranks, and was made president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes in 2001. A mere five years later, he was named “Person of the Year” by Aviation Week for the quality of his leadership and was soon wooed to the helm of Ford Motor Company. One Forbes columnist called him a “visionary in chief” who turned Ford around by focusing its culture on innovation. Another Forbes writer said that Mulally’s “innovation track record should be the envy of every executive today” and that his “turnaround of Ford will likely be studied by business students for years to come.”

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Inventing a laboratory for leadership

The idea of a leadership program for executives of exceptional promise was so revolutionary in 1938 that all five talented managers chosen to be MIT Sloan Fellows were featured in The New York Times. The program, which actually was created seven years earlier, has stayed on the front-facing edge of management for three quarters of a century, acquiring a deep archive of wisdom—wisdom distributed across generations of alumni and faculty who have helped to rethink the way we work and live.

We’ve launched this blog as a forum for sharing that knowledge. We’ll reach across industries and geographies and collect late-breaking bulletins from alumni and faculty on the frontiers of management. You’ll find out how Sloan Fellows alumni and faculty are changing the way we approach cancer treatment, using system dynamics to thwart poverty, or rethinking the electric car.

We’ll kick off with a few posts about the program itself, so that you’ll have a deeper understanding of the community that is generating this knowledge. The program’s roots actually reach further back than those New York Times headlines. The story—and the program itself—began in 1931, as the world struggled to emerge from the Great Depression. General Motors was not just the largest corporation in the U.S., it was the largest company on Earth—in no small part because GM President Alfred P. Sloan (MIT Class of 1895) was behind the wheel. Audacious and visionary, his mid-century chronicle My Years with General Motors is still considered a seminal text in modern management education.

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