Challenge Yourself. Challenge Convention.

Johanna Hising Difabio is the Director of the MIT Executive MBA & Sloan Fellows.

This September we welcome 126 new members of the Class of 2019 to the MIT Executive MBA community. This is a significant moment, as they begin a journey of mid-career transformation and leadership development. They join a network of extraordinary, high-performing individuals who come together from diverse backgrounds to challenge themselves and challenge convention.

Working with mid-career executives is my passion and the main reason I joined MIT in 2010. MIT Sloan’s focus on Action Learning fundamentally changes the way students approach leadership challenges and opportunities. It pushes them to rethink how they’ve done things in the past, to drive innovation, and lead change and solve complex business challenges. Our work together truly reflects MIT Sloan’s mission: “to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world.”

Our Executive Insights Blog is full of examples of how our students and alumni are using their MIT EMBA education and leadership skills to make a difference. We’ve featured a few of them in this newsletter. I also want to highlight some very exciting developments in our leadership structure.

I am delighted to welcome Prof. Georgia Perakis as our new faculty director. Georgia is the William F. Pounds Professor of Management and a Professor of Operations Research and Operations Management at MIT Sloan and was a founding member of the MIT EMBA faculty. She currently teaches Data, Models and Decisions, and has received accolades for teaching excellence. Her research investigates the theory and practice of analytics in the retail and energy space among others. A professor at MIT Sloan since 1998, Georgia served as codirector of the MIT Sloan Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) Program from 2009 to 2015.

I also am pleased to announce that Prof. Nelson Repenning has been promoted to Associate Dean of Leadership and Special Projects at MIT Sloan. He has served as an inspirational faculty director for the MIT EMBA Program for the past six years. We sincerely thank Nelson for his dedication and help in scaling this program to where it is today. We are glad that Nelson will remain engaged with our students by teaching System Dynamics as well as Organizations Lab and Leading with Impact. In his new appointment, Nelson will continue to shape the MIT Leadership Center’s direction, guiding its mission and vision, and driving new opportunities to expand the leadership capabilities of students at MIT Sloan and across the Institute.

Aligning with our goal of enhancing our executive leadership develop programs, my position recently expanded to include responsibilities for both the MIT EMBA and Sloan Fellows Program. Over the past few years, MIT Sloan has worked to bring the students of the MIT Executive MBA and Sloan Fellows programs closer together to provide shared experiences that facilitate inter-program learning. I have the privilege of directing all administrative aspects of these distinguished senior mid-career MBA degrees. Getting to know how these distinct populations can work together has been extremely inspiring.

In collaboration with our faculty, we will continue to develop innovative curricula and, most importantly, create a learning environment that is second-to-none in terms of their personal development and career enhancement. This is an exciting time for both programs and I look forward to inviting the new MIT EMBA class into our community.

Johanna Hising DiFabio