Thursday, November 04, 2010

MIT Sloan Fellows program: Soft vs Hard

I received an email from a reader in Europe about my Sloan Fellows experience. One of his questions asked about the "soft" side of the program. He was under the impression that it's all about homework exercises and "hard" technology and quantitative topics, and it's not difficult to see why -- these topics are practically all I highlight when I write about my experiences at MIT (see links below).

While the Sloan Fellows curriculum during the summer indeed contains the quantitative core (Microeconomics, Accounting, DMD, Finance), the Fall semester is more "soft" topics -- leadership, strategy, managing innovation. Further, the program is not just about reading cases and completing exercises. There is a tremendous focus on the SF community as well as discovering your own strengths and weaknesses, and finding your career path. However, I am generally reluctant to discuss my own journey on the blog, as it's quite personal. Suffice it to say it is a central part of what we are doing and the coursework and exercises for these classes are very helpful in terms of letting us determine what we want to do after we finish. I am much clearer on this point now than I was in the summer -- but more self-discovery remains to be done!

Additionally, some of my classmates are also concentrating their electives in leadership and management coursework. It's where they see additional value in the Sloan Fellows program. My own preference tends more toward the technical and business experiences that I might otherwise never have a chance to learn about and may help me in my own career post-graduation. For this reason, I am taking two "action learning" classes -- G-Lab (a group consulting project overseas) and Linked Data Ventures, a class that studies the Semantic Web and involves designing an actual software product and business plan. It may not be soft, but it really is a rich learning experience. It's hard, but I love it.

Other MIT encounters:

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