DIGITAL PLUS PROGRAMS ALUMNUS
The Intersection of Leadership & Innovation Online Course
Senior Manager, Innovation Collaborations, Varian Medical Systems
MIT Alum ‘90, Course 22 (Nuclear Engineering)
What courses have you taken from Professional Education, and why?
I’ve taken three Short Programs courses through MIT Professional Education: two radar courses and a machine learning course. I enjoyed the first radar course a lot and there were so many interesting topics available that I went back for more! In the future, I hope to be able to continue taking courses relevant to my career and interests.
Why did you decide to take The Intersection of Leadership & Innovation?
A year ago, our group became part of the newly formed Technology Innovation Office. The head of the office has a particular vision of innovation. I was (and still am) looking to grow my skill set, particularly around inspiring others to follow a vision. I saw this course and was immediately drawn to both the subject matter and the format. Given both my interest in growing my skill set and the mission of our team, I felt that this was a great opportunity to learn and hopefully apply the lessons back in my work life.
How does online learning compare to an in-classroom course?
I love in-classroom learning, but the format of this online course allowed people who may not speak up in class to participate in a new way. It never felt that the conversation in the course was dominated by one person (which can happen in an in-classroom setting, especially in a time limited setting). People could feel free to ask questions at any time, not just on the spot.
Have you been able to apply what you learned in the course to any aspects of your career or job? If so, what was the outcome?
I used my final video as the starting point for a new three-year plan for my work. I’ve received some positive feedback and it has certainly elicited a reaction from those who have heard it (which, in turn, has provoked additional conversation and guidance). More importantly, and I noted in the course, I also felt that I innovated myself, not just my views of work. That is, I opened my eyes to some new possibilities and challenged some long held assumptions.
As an MIT alum, why did you decide to return to MIT for a professional development course?
Many years ago I took the MIT-Harvard Joint Program on Negotiation. I still apply the lessons learned from that program, so when I started looking for some new educational experiences, I started with this MIT Professional Education program. Knowing how my MIT undergraduate experience impacted my learning, I had high hopes. During the kickoff of the course, we were promised an MIT experience of “drinking from the firehose” and absolutely achieved that. There is so much information in this course that learning will continue for a long time to come.