Catherine Tucker, MIT Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management and Professor of Marketing, has been named the new Faculty Director of the MIT Executive MBA.
Catherine joined MIT Sloan in 2005 and has been teaching in the MIT EMBA since 2012. She teaches the core Marketing Management course in the MIT EMBA and the incredibly popular Pricing course at MIT Sloan, which is available as an elective for executive degree students.
She’s also cofounder of the MIT Cryptoeconomics Lab, which studies the applications of blockchain, and co-organizer of the Economics of Artificial Intelligence initiative sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Her teaching and research has earned Catherine numerous awards both inside and outside of MIT Sloan. In this Q&A, learn more about Catherine's dedication to educating students at MIT.
You were the first female tenured faculty in the marketing department at MIT Sloan. How has the impact of women, both in STEM and higher education, grown since then?
I became the first female tenured in Marketing at MIT in 2012. When you think about that, it’s somewhat remarkable that it was 2012 before that particular glass ceiling was broken. I think since then, in both STEM and higher education, we’ve had some definite progress in terms of people's appreciation of the importance of language and trying to minimize discomfort.
However, many of the systematic and harder challenges remain. The good news is that I’ve been proud to see the MIT EMBA continue to make strides in inclusion and ensure that we have the right conversations about how we can do better in DEI. The last few years, I’ve seen such an appetite from our students to have these conversations.
What’s it like to be on the forefront of groundbreaking cryptocurrency research?
So much fun. Imagine having a new technology that promises to have remarkable effects on our economy if we figure out how to use it right. But we’re still figuring out the precise use cases, and in the process, there’s so much misinformation to try and help cut through. That makes it a wonderful place to be as an academic, as we can be truly independent.
In your opinion, what makes the MIT EMBA unique?
I would definitely say the combination of being at MIT and the kind of students we are able to attract. MIT as an engineering institution is a very practical place, and I think that keeps us grounded and honest in terms of how we teach and the kind of conversations we have. As far as our community, I think that we do well in terms of this wonderful combination of intellectual curiosity, humbleness, and a great deal of kindness.
What’s your favorite part of teaching executive degree students?
They’re here to learn—not to just check a box. They are here to get everything they can out of every hour they spend in this program and are therefore constantly wondering, "How can I use this piece of knowledge in my own career?”
What are you looking forward to most in the upcoming year?
Getting to know the whole MIT EMBA cohort immediately rather than meeting them towards the end of the program when they would typically take my Marketing course.
What advice would you give to prospective students deciding if the MIT EMBA is right for them?
This is easy. Talk to some of our students and find out what they liked and what they didn't like. I think you’ll find out a few things. First, the program will require commitment and organization. Next, and this is something that will be very precious but no one anticipates, is the friends that you’ll make—honest friends rather than just business contacts. And finally, it will be far more transformational than you could ever expect.