Financial Times on why MIT’s new executive MBA is worth a 12-hour commute

I recently spoke to a reporter at the Financial Times about why I travel six hundred miles round trip, an international journey that often takes between eight and 12 hours one-way, to attend Sloan’s new MIT Executive MBA program .  The article identifies a trend in the number of EMBA students willing to travel long distances to earn their degrees from the most competitive business schools, and highlights recent research by the Executive MBA Council that shows an increase – from 6 percent in 2005 to 18 percent in 2010 – in the number of EMBAs traveling more than 250 miles to their program of choice.

What the reporter failed to articulate, and which to me was central to my decision to attend MIT, is what defines an EMBA program that is worth traveling long distances to attend?  My decision to invest in the right school was similar to my approach to stock market investing: I focus on understanding the value the investment is going to deliver over time.  By framing the objective in very concrete terms, I was able to make what I believed then, and am certain of now, was the right decision

For more than 15 years I have worked for global high technology firms as a business development leader, product manager and hardware designer.  My work experience has taught me the importance of analysis when making critical business decisions .  It has also taught me that making decisions is easy, that making the optimal decision is (usually) impossible, and that making the right decision is difficult and involves data that is both qualitative and quantitative.   I came to MIT Sloan to integrate data-driven processes into my analysis of strategic investments and to ensure I make the best possible decisions given the available information..

While researching EMBA programs, it was clear to me that MIT’s EMBA was (almost uniquely) built upon a rigorous analytical foundation that enables executives to develop a more scientific approach to management.  I discovered that this approach is built on the advanced research conducted by Sloan faculty and the resulting frameworks and methodologies are used to make complex decisions. Moreover, the extensive project work the MIT EMBA program uses to integrate these methodologies with our professional responsibilities would ensure both applicability and deep understanding of the concepts.  This action-based learning environment provides a powerful context to apply what I would learn and to realize immediate results for my company.

In today’s globally competitive environment , business leaders must seize opportunities, overcome challenges, and drive change.  It is MIT’s approach to the science of management that distinguishes the program and provides students like me an edge in their careers.

Tim Pearson, Executive MBA ’12, is a Senior Advisor in Product Management at the Ciena Corporation in Ottawa, Canada

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