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Jonathan Lehrich Outside the Box

MIT Sloan School of Management has launched its second year, and director Jonathan Lehrich clearly is proud of the program’s momentum and the fact that this year’s class has a higher average level of work experience among students than most executive MBA programs — 17 to 20 years.

The program has 71 students in the class of 2013, up from 62 students in the inaugural class of 2012, and Sloan accepted just a quarter of the applicants this year.

More of them have senior-level positions in their companies, more than half travel from outside New England to attend the classes, and many cross multiple time zones, he said.

When Lehrich is not building MIT Sloan’s executive MBA program into the most competitive one out there, he is busy working toward a doctorate in education at Boston University. Education, as Lehrich puts it, turns him on.

What’s your definition of a good day?

When my students and my team feel they have achieved something great. When they come out and say this is going to be really useful. This makes me very excited.

What have been some challenges in your career?

I started a Ph.D. program in medieval history at the University of Chicago. I was there seven years, but I didn’t finish that doctorate. My academic adviser said I lacked the ability to sit in my chair and actually do one thing. I keep a lot of balls in the air. My obstacle has been trying to find ways to not be bored.

What are two things people don’t know about you?

I’m not as thin or as tall or as young as I look. I look more young and skeletal than I actually am. Also, that I did all the coursework for the medieval history Ph.D. but didn’t finish the dissertation. It’s something I’m really very interested in, but I’d never be a good enough researcher to be a great academic in the field. And I don’t want to be a mediocre anything.

What books are you reading?

I have several running at the same time. “The Somme: The Darkest Hour on the Western Front” by Peter Hart. And works by P.G. Wodehouse. I also just read a book on the Harvard strike, when Harvard students occupied university hall in 1969.

What are your pet peeves?

Bad proofreading. I get obsessive compulsive. I start correcting things.

Who is your mentor?

I have a lot of people I call mentors. But one is Richard Locke, a professor here at Sloane. I took an MBA class from him and worked with him on other international MBA programs.

What are your hobbies?

My pastimes include fatherhood. I have a daughter almost 6. That’s one of the best possible ways to spend my time. If I weren’t with my daughter, Ella, and I was thinking of how to spend my time to unwind, I’d read a book and have classical music playing in the background. That would be a very nice evening.

What is your favorite restaurant?

A restaurant I really like is Bondir on Broadway in Cambridge. And Sandrine’s Bistro in Harvard Square.

Read Jonathan Lehrich Outside the Box
Originally Published: Boston Business Journal
Author: Mary Moore