Peter Hirst leads the team of professionals who partner with clients and faculty at the MIT Sloan School of Management to develop, design, and deliver innovative executive education programs for individuals and companies. He has over twenty years of experience in international strategy, technology consulting, academic research, higher education, and organizational development.
Peter earned a PhD from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, for research in plasma physics and microwave engineering. After a period of academic entrepreneurship in a variety of related fields, including optoelectronics, neural network computing, and the interfaces between technology and terrorism, he was appointed Westminster Fellow in the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, where he advised MPs and Peers of all parties on policy issues in the physical sciences, defense, and IT. From there he was recruited by the London School of Economics as CEO of its wholly owned subsidiary, Enterprise LSE Ltd., a new venture created to support the commercialization of intellectual property and academic capabilities, which he grew to include technology transfer, new ventures, consulting, and executive and professional education. Peter moved to the US in 2002, and began working as an international strategy consultant for leading UK universities, helping them establish strategic relationships in the US. During this time Peter also became involved in the open source software movement. He provided consulting, strategy, and technology support to non-profits at the cutting edge of using the Web to create and enable collaborative social movements. Peter joined MIT in 2007 as Senior Director in MIT Sloan School’s Office of Executive Education, and has served as its Executive Director since 2010. During this time, MIT Sloan Executive Education has almost doubled in size, now offering over 40 different open enrollment program titles, partnering with an active portfolio of approximately 20 companies and other organizations to design and deliver high impact custom programs, and engaging with over a hundred faculty and instructors from the Sloan School and across MIT. In the process, MIT Sloan’s reputation has solidified as an innovative leader in the field of executive education.
Peter has served as a director and board adviser to businesses and non-profit organizations on four continents. He is a past president of the British American Business Council of New England, for which he currently serves as a board director, and a founding member of its Energy and Environment and High Tech Committees. He is a trustee and President of the American Foundation of the University of St Andrews, Scotland. He has served as co-chair of the Education Working Group of the Internet of Things World Forum and is a founding board member of the Internet of Things Global Talent Consortium. In 2014, Peter was appointed to the board of UNICON, the global association of university-based executive education programs, and has served as cochair of its Digital, Communications and Research Committees. In 2018, he was elected Board Chair of Unicon. In 2015, he was invited to join the Boston Advisory Board of Self Help Africa, an international charity that works with smallholder farmers in Africa to tackle hunger and poverty through food production and rural enterprise.
Peter was named a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2012, in recognition of his service to British and American business and academia interests.