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Sloan School of Management

Greater Boston Executive Program

MIT Greater Boston Leadership Program: Overview
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Based on MIT Sloan's original Greater Boston Executive Program that has a 50+ year legacy in the Boston area, this program provides managers with current, research-based frameworks for understanding and improving leadership capabilities, the implementation of organization changes, and the management of human resources. This general management program combines the benefits of seminar discussions among representatives from companies operating in the Greater Boston area in an advanced management course and provides a stimulus for continued study.

The Greater Boston Executive Program (GBEP) prepares high-potential professionals for executive leadership. By incorporating new research concepts and management practices, this intensive, eight-week program helps executives to enhance their people management skills, leadership capabilities, and ability to direct and carry out necessary organizational changes. Participants will learn how to apply findings from the behavioral sciences to build stronger organizations and graduate better equipped to lead change, organize for innovation, and manage an increasingly technical workforce. The program’s frameworks and modules are complemented by the small class size, close student-faculty interaction, and the diversity of topics and participant backgrounds.

Course curriculum is divided into three main topic areas:


The leadership-focused sessions will introduce participants to MIT’s Four Capabilities Leadership Framework, a powerful tool for understanding and integrating four critical components of leadership—sense-making, relating, visioning, and inventing. This segment of the course will develop the participants’ ability to practice these capabilities through cases, experiential exercises, role-plays, videos, and self-assessments.

Organizational Change

Organizations are changing rapidly in an increasingly uncertain world; dealing with these changes requires new skills and attitudes on the part of managers. This segment is concerned with the strategic, political, and cultural aspects of leading individuals and groups within and among organizations. Understanding how organizations and groups behave and change is necessary if managers are to act effectively in their current and future positions. Participants will engage in case discussions, small group problem solving exercises, and a computer simulation designed to provide insight and skill when leading organizational change.

Strategic Human Resource Management

While employees have always been central to the functioning of organizations, today they have taken on an even more critical role in the building of a firm’s competitive advantage. The effective employment of human resources in order to improve company performance is the essence of human resource management. This segment of the course approaches personnel and HRM problems and challenges from the general manager’s standpoint, combining up-to-date research findings with case materials and views HR theory and practice in light of current and emerging trends in the workplace.

By the end of the eight weeks, participants will have an understanding of:

  • Leadership as a skill and practice-based process
  • Forces that are transforming traditional management goals and practices
  • Strategic political, and cultural challenges faced by all organizations
  • Current models and trends in human resource management
  • Strategic HR practices such as selection, training and development, performance appraisal, and reward systems and the application of these concepts to real world situations
  • Skills to identify, evaluate, and resolve a variety of issues related to the critical task of managing people


In 1957, companies in Greater Boston expressed a need for a management development program to meet their unique requirements. These firms recognized that continuing education in management principles was essential for developing managers who could assume additional responsibilities in their organizations. Many of the companies were participating in established advanced management training programs. However, they were also interested in a supplementary, broad-based program that would not take people away from work for long periods, but would expose them to current thinking in management philosophy. With the advice of Howard W. Johnson of MIT, who was then at the School of Industrial Management, the sponsoring Greater Boston companies set up the first session of the Greater Boston Executive Program in Business Management in the spring of 1958. From the beginning, participating companies have contributed to the success of the program by their selection of managers, vice presidents, assistant treasurers, controllers, and senior research personnel to attend the program. The program combines the benefits of seminar discussions among representatives from Greater Boston companies in a formal advanced management course, and provides a stimulus for continued study. After a one-year hiatus in 2015, the Greater Boston Executive Program was updated and relaunched as part of the MIT Sloan Executive Education portfolio in 2016.

Sample Schedule—Subject to Change


9:00AM - 5:00PM

  • Introduction to Greater Boston Program:
  • Organization Studies Workshop
  • Understanding Group Processes


9:00AM - 5:00PM

  • The 4 Capabilities Model of Leadership
  • Three Perspectives on Organizations


9:00AM - 5:00PM

  • Sensemaking
  • Why Study Talent Management
  • Work and Motivation


9:00AM - 5:00PM

  • Relating
  • Career Anchors: Diagnosis and Discussion


9:00AM - 5:00PM

  • Inventing and Visioning
  • Job Analysis, Competencies, and Individual Differences
  • Recruiting and Hiring


9:00AM - 5:00PM

  • Networks and Power in Organizations
  • Organizational Change: ChangePro Simulation


9:00AM - 5:00PM

  • Performance and Management
  • Compensation and Rewards
  • Development and Careers
  • Talent Management and Organizational Change


9:00AM - 5:00PM

  • Leadership in Practice
  • Group Process Revisited

Who should attend

The Greater Boston Executive Program is an intense general management program for high-potential, middle-level managers from a variety of backgrounds who seek to understand their changing business environment.

The program is particularly appropriate for functional specialists who wish to have a broader perspective on critical management issues affecting the firm; executives of small and mid-size firms; and executives who cannot take time-off from work to attend a full-time program.

The program is limited to 35 participants. Applicants must have schedules that allow for punctual and complete attendance over the eight-week period and possess the following characteristics:

  • Five or more years of relevant organizational experience, including managerial experience
  • A current position in middle management or higher, carrying significant managerial responsibilities
  • Intellectual curiosity—willingness and ability to learn and unlearn, and an eagerness to stimulate and accelerate his or her own growth and development Work in a Greater Boston-based organization or possess strong business connections to organizations in the Boston area

Titles of past participants include:

  • Worldwide Marketing Communications Manager
  • Director of Operations
  • Enterprise Project Director
  • VP, Field Services and Engineering
  • Chief Network Architect
  • Senior Scientist
  • Senior Account Manager
  • Director, Pharmaceutics
  • Technology Manager
  • Director, Commercial IT Services
  • Project Manager
  • Senior Manager of Knowledge Management
  • Director HR
  • Deputy Chief Legal Counsel
  • Director, Engineering
  • VP Information Security Assessments
  • Sales Manager
  • Lead Analyst
  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Manager, Global Compensation
  • Manager of QC and Process Engineering
  • Business Development Manager
  • Director Global Supply Chain
  • Applications R&D Manager
  • VP, Network & Operations
  • Senior Director Healthcare
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Manager, Consumer Compliance Supervision
  • Director, Services Delivery
  • CFO, Media Division


John Van Maanen is the Erwin H. Schell Professor of Management and a Professor of Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He works within the fields of organization behavior and theory. Van Maanen            is an ethnographer of organizations ranging in type from police orga...
Wanda Orlikowski is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Management and a Professor of Information Technologies and Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Orlikowski actively investigates the dynamic relationship between information technologies and organizations, with particular...


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