When Rosalind Sullivan, chief financial officer at Cenegenics Medical Institute, the “age management company”, in Las Vegas, decided to do an executive MBA, she had some idea of her ideal programme.

She wanted a programme where students were “collaborative not competitive”, a “manageable schedule” that worked for her and her family and a curriculum that “merged the theoretical and the practical” and would help her “be a better executive”.

She settled on MIT Sloan School of Management. The broad-based programme boasts a successful, highly experienced student population from a range of backgrounds. The class of 2013 have an average 17 years of work experience, 83 per cent are at director level or above and 40 per cent already have an advanced degree.

“In my study group we have an entrepreneur, a physician, a general manager and finance people like me,” says Sullivan. “We all have different strengths and weaknesses, and we work as a team.”

Unlike most programmes, which hold classes every other weekend, MIT’s executive MBA programme meets every third week on Fridays and Saturdays, and includes four eight-day modules on campus over 20 months. The structure is designed for time-crunched professionals with families, but the curriculum is similar to MIT Sloan’s full-time MBA, with a focus on data-driven analysis and innovation.

Executive MBA students do several experiential learning-based courses. Midway through the programme, in the Organizations Lab (O-Lab), they fix a problem in their company. In the final semester, the six-month Global Organizations Lab (GO-Lab) involves on site work at an overseas company.

“I am grateful and surprised at how much the students want to get down and dirty and practical,” says Jonathan Lehrich, MIT Sloan executive MBA programme director. “They are not here to show off; they are here to make a difference.”

Lehrich says students form close bonds during their weekend sessions. “These students make time for each other because they know how precious that time is,” he says. “Modern business means you work with people you don’t see all the time.”

Amaury de Parcevaux, an MIT Sloan executive MBA student and chief marketing officer of Falcon Real Estate, says he was attracted by the school’s reputation. “I wanted to learn from some of the best professors in the world and have a great network of alumni,” he says. “You are a part of the club and that opens a lot of doors.”

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