Welcome Sloan Fellows ’17!!!

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MIT is welcoming the SF’17!!.

This week, former Sloan Fellows and their families are thinking about you, and about the great experience you are going to live from now on. Currently, you are meeting people who are going to be your new friends and families for the rest of your life.

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We would like you to enjoy from the very first moment and to be completely open to this wonderful experience .

In this blog you’ll find all kind of tips to follow when you arrive to Cambridge , as family, and as partners and Fellows.

 

Moreover, on June, the Fellows from several generations, and specially the 15, 16 and 17 we are going to enjoy some meetings together. Looking forward on meeting you!!

Have the best week and one of the greatest years in your life.

María & Gil Mª (SF’15)

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Make way for ducklings: Moving to Boston with four young children by LAMIS SOLAIM

IMG_3140If you don’t know what the title refers to you wil understand it as soon as you arrive in Boston, this is a classic story that is quintessentially Bostonian! it is commemorated by a charming statue in the public gardens. Your first stop in exploring the city!

Moving with four young children cannot be easy; no matter where you move! But Boston has been wonderful for all of us! It is a rich but not overwhelming city.  Small enough to make it easy to get around, yet big enough for an engaging cultural scene.  For someone moving from the desert, our children experienced weather seasons they only hear about in stories. Before coming here, four seasons was an abstract concept!

“The snow feels like sand in the desert but its white and cold,” My daughter observed! The landscape of the city also inspired them “Riyadh needs more statues, parks, and playgrounds “Riyadh should have trains”

They learned swimming in summer, skiing and ice-skating in winter and of course picking apples and carving pumpkins in the fall.  As for spring, they learned a very important lesson, that cities do blossom after being buried under the snow for many months, and so does the human spirit!

One of the beautiful things about being in Boston is its close proximity to many gorgeous landscapes, whether you go for a scenic drive to New Hampshire, visit the beautiful beaches of the Cape Cod, or seek the ultimate Urban rush in NYC!

To me however, what sets Boston apart are the people! The brains, the spirits, and the diversity.  The intellectual capacity in this city is second to none! once you overcome the intimidation stage, it is so refreshing to see the human face of genius. To know that greatness is accessible! You just have to decide which part of your brain you want to grow, as there is only so much time! It was also a source of inspiration for the children, for why tell your kids they must study hard to go to MIT or Harvard? Go there yourself.  After all, they are more likely to do what you do rather than what you tell them to do! IMG_2187

I must say the first month of school was hectic with many activities assigned at school. We were initially hesitant to enroll the kids in after school activities, but glad for two reasons:

 a) this is a city of working professionals. Life here is quite structured and people plan their weekend ahead of time, coordinating six calendars can be rather daunting, so organizing playdates and social time for kids can be challenging.

b) I was glad that children enjoyed after school and it afforded them an additional platform to make friends and meet other kids at their school. After a year in the city, I find it fascinating to listen to the kind of conversations my children have… “what’s the weather like? It’s not too cold, it’s only -7” or the big questions they ask, like “can computers be inspired?”  or the life skills they have acquired such as my daughter reacting to rushing her in the morning, it is more important to be mindful.  While the year was grand, it is those small moments that I will always cherish.

So the verdict is, Boston is not only good for families with multiple children,  it is WICKED GOOD;)

Going back to Spain

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IMG_20150612_130601Today is our first day in Spain. After living one year in Boston we found our country very strange. Our house in the countryside looks very confortable, quite and very very big if we compare it with our on-campus appartment in MIT. The birds woke up us this morning (not the train as usual)  and the sound of the news in the radio in spanish look worrying.

Grandma showed little Gil a picture of our house in Boston and he said – Abu es mi casa (Grandma is my home)- I was working in my computer and I felt the same,it is (was) our home.

As Guillermo told in his last post, the Sloan Fellows program is a year of profound changes in our lives. For the fellows and the partners this experience would be one of the best of their lives and one year to learn all kind of things from each other. I remeber myself asking a very good friend how to organize my home (it was very difficult to do it the first month).

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Back at home I think the year has gone very fast because we had many things to do. Meetings with friends, conferences, visits to Boston, classes and the most important, taking care of my almost 3 years son.

Many of you, Sloan Fellow 16 and partners asked me for advise about activities to do this year, trips and studies. I think those are things to discover step by step. But, if you read that and you really want to follow my advise, then chek the following points:

  • Go to the ccae (click here) and take a course of your favorite hobby (singing, cooking, languages…) I did there a course to build websites and blogs. Or visit harvard extension school and plan your year (you can get a cerificate from Harvard with 4 or 5 courses).
  • Take the sailing course with your partner or with a friend and take a kayak trough the Charles river (just behind Watermark Apartments near the parking lot)
  • Do sport. Even if you won’t be able to run the Boston Marathon, go to the sports center and take advantage of the activities you can do.
  • Go shopping. You will find very cheap stores and outlets. Take advantage of that.
  • Plan your trips for the rest of the year. In summer visit: Edaville (for kids, dinasor park and Thomas the train), Apple picking (visit lookoutfarm), Franklin Zoo, Gloucester, Newport…
  • Walk trough the river, Boston Common, Charles street, Newbury Street
  • Leave the Museums for winter (Children’s Museum, Aquarium, Museum of Fine Arts, Science Museum)

And those are my fast points and recommendations for this next month. Enjoy your experience, your mornings, your evenings…everything will conect you to the following step.

Enjoy your summer!

MY YEAR AS A MIT SLOAN FELLOW by Guillermo Estévez de Cominges

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IMG_2455Exhaustion
. That is the first word that comes to my mind after this amazing year as a student in MIT Sloan Fellow Program in Innovation and Global Leadership. I cannot find a word that describes better this year. Maybe High Intensity. With capital letters. Because this year has been that for me. Even since I was admitted and took the decision to come to live to Boston. Then, every day, every hour, something great and amazing was happening in MIT. Not only in the academic field, but in the life of the campus in general. The MIT has a halo of “magic” that involves it all, and that is what makes all programs here so special. And the Sloan Fellows Program, providing the opportunity to share this experience with extraordinary students, professors and, the most important, partners and families, perfectly fitted in this environment.

Because the MIT Sloan Fellows program is something really unique and special. I do not know how many times I have already explained the differences between this Program and the “regular” MBAs or the Executive MBAs. It does not mean that this is better or worse than the others. I just mean different.

All of these programs are great, no doubt about it. But to know the answer to which one to choose, it is more important –as usual- asking ourselves the right question. Probably for each person’s situation any of them will fit better.

In my case, MIT Sloan Fellow was what I was needing: One full time year abroad living the experience with other fellows with the same interests –and at the same time so different- in life as me. I was looking for a transformative experience in many ways. And it could only be given with a real intense break. One year of reflection was what I was looking for. And I was happy to see that all the students, no matter the age, origin or professional background, were also expecting that. We are very different persons, but with an interestingly common goal. And that is fantastic.

The Sloan Fellows is not a regular MBA. The age and experience of the students –average age of 40 years and average work experience of 15- makes it totally different. Actually, many Sloan Fellows have already a MBA degree. Sloan Fellows students are looking for a live transformation after very successful careers. And they want to live it so intensively that is also involving their families. It is a total break in one’s life, a change in all the aspects of live. It is a learning for all. At the same time, it is different to the Executive MBA. The age and professional experience of the EMBAs is similar. What is different is the way of living the Program and I would say the purpose itself of the Program. The EMBAs have great and successful careers, and in that process they come to that great program to be more well-prepared professionals and increase their horizons. During two years they regularly meet on weekends. But they do not have that break we Sloan Fellows are looking for. Their normal lives continue during the week as usual.

Iphone 246We came here to look for something else than an academic learning. We came to MIT looking for a transformative experience that affects our lives in the future.

One year of deep reflection about academics and careers, but also about our personal skills, leadership styles, the way we understand and accept other cultures, the way we feel confident with people different to us, the way we have been living with our families in the past, etc. One year sharing and living with people from 35 countries, their kids, their partners, their traditions, their concerns, their dreams. Day after day. Learning the good aspects of other cultures and making them our own aspects, adopting the great styles from classmates and making them part of us, living with the families (what a nice learning from partners and kids this year!), etc. All in all, I would say that even learning about what we are and which purpose do we want to give to our lives in the future.


IMG-20141014-WA0013In brief, one transforming year where every day I learnt something new even from the most unexpected situation.
An amazing place within an incredible environment like MIT. What a year (because it has been only one year, right?). Sometimes I think they were five.

If I had to describe the MIT Sloan Fellows Program, I would think of it from 3 perspectives.

First, I would say that a 30% of the Program is academics. The curriculum that we can access is diverse –including Harvard- and every Fellow can chose its own path, whether it is finance, entrepreneurship, sustainability, or just the development of soft skills. Top professors and the resources and options in the campus make the alternatives enormous.

A second 30% are the students and families from all over the world that we meet in the Program. Successful professionals and great families supporting them in this “crazy” year. My best learnings and memories of the year are not in the academic field –I have many as well-, but sharing experiences with the big “Family” that is the Sloan Fellow.

Finally, another 30% is MIT. The ecosystem created in this area along the Charles River is incredible. At least, I had never felt something like this in my life. Every day something amazing was happening: Top level speakers teaching every time, something interesting and new happening in every corner of the campus, students trying drones, Star Wars simulated fights at night, etc. In this year I have attended hundreds of conferences, meetings, lunches, exhibitions, etc. But the most incredible thing is that I have missed millions. Every day I had conflicts in my agenda, and I had to choose. I would have needed four lives in parallel here to use all the amazing resources of MIT. If there is a center of knowledge and action in the world, no doubt this is it. Now I take a look back and I understand why I am exhausted and need vacation!

IMG_3430And then reader you are right, we are missing a 10% here. And that is fantastic and probably the most important piece of the cake. That is the one we were probably missing before coming here and probably the one we did not know was lacking in our lives. This 10% is the one that helps us, leveraging on the 90%, to better understand which our next step is, where we want to focus our careers and, in the end, our future lives –professional and personal-. This is our personal learning that closes the circle.

This 10% was the time that everybody could find to use on its personal own way. The reflection year helped us to understand where to focus, our interests, our weaknesses, what we were missing. Some people used it to spend more time with their families –what a great opportunity to have a break in the usual life and spend more time with them-, some people used it to better understand where the world is going in their professional fields, others to explore their entrepreneurship side, some people used it to do sports again and remember past times of glory, some others found time to travel and discover new places to make the experience greater, etc. This 10% served everybody, Fellows and Partners, to become better persons and understand each other better.

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The experience served to put all of us out of our comfort zones and learn how to be better and survive in those uncomfortable places. And that was the purpose of the Program: Become better prepared persons in a global and constantly changing world to be able to become Global Leaders. Sensemaking.  

Because the good thing of the experience is that it has really been Global: Academics, Classmates and Families, MIT ecosystem, and finally –or initially- Ourselves. And that last part is key. Every one of us has found his place or is in the way to find it. And that is priceless.

That is why MIT Sloan Fellows is probably unique and the experience is so transformative. And that is what MIT Sloan Fellows, both students and families, will take away from this year. I do not know if I will have more successful jobs and career in the future. Actually, I do not believe that was the main purpose of the Sloan Fellows. But I can say that with the help of my professors, classmates and families I now understand the world better and I have grown for better in every aspect that I wanted and probably in others that I have not tested yet. I feel now confident about doing the right things. And that is the best take away from this one (or 5?) year experience.

What a happy feeling of exhaustion!

Go Sloan Fellows!10171097_10152234890936266_4400746068122279802_n

Boston, a city to bike by Veronica Bunge

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Hi! My name is Veronica. I’m from Argentina and I have spent the last year living in Boston with my husband.IMG_0413

Back home we used to ride our bikes quite frequently, mainly because we like to do exercise outdoors, and we decided to continue in that path once we moved to Boston.

One of the very first things we did when we arrived was to buy two nice bikes that would allow us not only to continue exercising but also to move from place to another. I find that Boston is a very friendly city for bikers. Most of the avenues and many of the streets have bike lanes, especially in Cambridge, where students use their bikes a lot to move around campus. It is also very common to see moms and dads taking their little kids for a ride in the bike trailers.

IMG_0411One of my favorite rides is along Charles River. The bike lane seems to never end. I like to start on one side of the river and then cross to the other side in any of the many bridges that cross the river, and go back the other way. I like to feel the company of other bikers and runners and the river view is very relaxing.

Another very nice ride is The Minute Man Trail (http://www.minutemanbikeway.org) which I did a couple of times with my friend Laura. To get there, we took the red line (yes, you can take your bike in the T off peak hours) and got off in Alewife station. From there it is a five minute ride to the trail, which runs from Arlington to Bedford. One of the nicest things of this trail is that since it is surrounded by woods you ride in the shade most of the way, which is very convenient in summer. I recommend to go during the week if possible because it can be pretty crowded in the weekends.

Regarding rules and regulations, I recommend the following website: http://massbike.org/resourcesnew/bike-law/
As you will see, it is not mandatory for adults to wear a helmet. However, I strongly recommend that you do so if you are planning to bike.

IMG_0446Typically it is quite easy to find where to park your bike, for which you will need to have a good lock. I do not recommend the regular ones (chain + lock) because they can be very easily opened or broken. U-Locks (by Kryptonite for example) are a good option.

One last recommendation: Ride safe! Enjoy your ride!

Top 10 ways to manage First and Final Stress

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When you arrive here or you are leaving Boston maybe you will feel the Final Stress.

Today I was walking down the infinite corridor when I found some volunteers giving information about what to do in times of stress . And now it is clear that most of us are living this situations , because we are leaving, because we are arriving, because we are about to experience a great change in our lives and in our families organization. Here you have some recommendations that give the experts and I think we need to follow :

Top 10 ways to Manage Final Stress

1. Make a to-do list

Write down everything that needs to get done, breaking tasks into a smaller parts and spreading them out.

2. Avoid people who will stress you out

Every one is working hard, don’s make a competition to see who is more stressed.

3. Talk to someone who can help

4. Get enough sleep

It will keep you alert and attentive and gives you energy for studying. 8 hours is ideal! (for those who ha
ve kids that is a little bit difficult but try it with the help of your partner)

5. Exercise and eat well

Don’t forget about your health! Exercise is a stress buster (take exercise like a course you have to do in your MBA) , and healthy eating will give you more energy. Try to have a balance food every day (fruits, veggies, fish…) you will feel better.

6. Attend Study breaks

They are everywhere, take advantage of them!

7. Practice relaxation techniques

Yoga MashaExercises like deep breathing and meditation ara proven to reduce anxiety. You can find guided meditations here.

8. Think positively

Rather than worry about the past , focus on the steps you can take to improve your performance now. Visualize your self doing well on the exam, on your life, on your family…

9. Don’t be afraid to say no

The most iimportant word: NO

10. Reward yourself

DSC02599Have some fun and kep your motivation up by rewarding yourself after a study session or exam, go for a walk to the river, watch a movie or catch up with friends.

My MIT experience by Maria Ievseieva

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MAsha presentacionWe were celebrating new year which is the biggest holiday in Ukraine while my husband Artem received an e-mail with acceptance to MIT. This was something he really was craving for. He was extremely happy and confident that he is going to go forward with it. My feelings were a bit controversial…

On one hand I was very happy and proud of my husband, but on the flip side of that I was facing a difficult decision to make for myself. I had a very successful carrier, being a global marketing director of a large international company.

Obviously my husband was wishing me to join him in Boston, but I was very skeptical.

Artem was telling me that the partners will also have a great experience and that I will find a lot to do there. I was jokingly replying: “what will I do there? Sewing classes? Cooking classes? English courses? Are you kidding me?”.  We have arranged a phone call with SF 13 couple from Georgia to talk all the details. I was laughing hard as I found out that main activities organized were in fact English classes, cooking and sewing classes. On the bright side I discovered other opportunities like joining Harvard extension school and found out that many MIT events (not classes) are open for partners. I had to make a choice and I was not ready to quit my job yet.
In the end decision was made via the power of the circumstances: war started in my country and hostile take over of my company took place literally at the same time.

So I packed my bags and went with my husband to explore this new life.  There were days when I felt home sick, job sick and maybe sometimes even a bit depressed but there was not a single day when I felt regrets regarding the decision  made.


What I did in Boston?

Surprisingly for myself I did take cooking classes and what was even more surprising I absolutely enjoyed it! I learned how to do sailing and puddle boarding, I did a lot of sports in general – MIT has great facilities for that. I was learning Spanish and French, I was teaching yoga, I have attended many events and conferences at MIT and Harvard, I was doing documentary movie about Ukraine, working on my startup ideas and what is the  most important I was preparing my application for MBA for next year.

Yoga MashaNow when the year is almost over I can confidentiality say that it was one of the best years in my life! What made it so awesome? I guess we were very lucky with our cohort – friendships were made for life! Everyone was active and volunteering to do something for the community. Most of the events were created by people volunteering to do something for others – something they do well, something that their country is proud of sharing their culture and aspirations.

Additionally we had a chance to explore the US: we traveled to Savanna with its incredible forests, Charleston with its colonial history, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park driving to Las Vegas via Death Valley, San Diego and its beautiful beaches, Acadia national park in Main, a pearl of Caribbean Puerto Rico as well as surroundings of Boston with great beaches in summer and ski resorts in winter.

Finally in March I was accepted to MIT. This has made the year even more exceptional and granted  me certainty for the future.

I am greatful to everyone who made this year so special for me!

Be careful with the “FoMO” syndrome by Laura Gaviria Halaby

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 Laura
FoMO is “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”. While you are at MIT there are so many interesting things happening at the same time, that you have to be able be ok with missing some of the cool events, speakers and opportunities around you.
Nonetheless these  are the top 5 things that you should not miss out as a Sloan Fellow at MIT
 

1. Tim Muddy talks & Beers

In addition to learning about your classmates life and experiences, Tim Muddy talks remind you of the importance of gratitude and humility. After the Tim Muddy Fellows meet that the Muddy Charles to enjoy beers and share their stories.11150776_10152687270796266_5310921533642469797_n

2. Sloan Fellows Private C Functions

The Sloan Fellows Private C Function is a great way for fellows from a specific country or region to share their culture with the rest of the cohort. Getting involved in this event is a great way to experience first hand another country’s traditions and get out of your confort zone.10714275_10152356060161266_7620366967575611489_o

3. Life outside Sloan

I encourage you to explore MIT outside Sloan. It is a unique experience to be immerse in the MIT ecosystem and to learn about the amazing things that are being created. Think of it as studying the future…. Below Professor Lozano and his small satellites.11173345_10152686639011266_7974415523176127871_n

4. Living as a student again

Being a student again comes with amazing benefits. You can participate in club activities and feel like a teenager again again… our Slow Fellows Soccer team was great fun during the year.11179960_10152677992851266_2038194994082559731_n

5.  Fellows and their families

But no matter what you do at MIT, the best thing are the Fellows and their families. They become your family and a network that will support you forever.

Finally as a way to help you keep up with MIT activities, download the MIT Mobile app and check the calendar on a daily basis. And don’t forge that a way to avoid FoMO Syndrome is to participate in as much events as possible

Enjoy your MIT experience!

Laura Gaviria Halaby
MIT Fellowship in innovation and Global Leadership | MBA
Legatum Fellow 2014 – 2015

Latin Breakfast around Boston

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Yesterday morning we enjoyed walking through Boston with the Latin group of partners of SF15.IMG_20150507_101050

We took the T in Kendall and get off at downtown crossing. It was a special and fun morning . It has been very difficult to get together for a breakfast because each one has its responsibilities. The breakfast had a farewell taste , Maria (form Mexico) is leaving very soon and the rest will be leaving Boston to go back home while Sloan Fellows 16  and their families are coming to Boston. We talked about how a year has changed our lives with the MIT experience and we laugh with the new iPhone application which tell us we are younger than we are.

Thank you girls!

Weekend Ideas

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With the arrival of the warm weather we feel like going out of the town and enjoying outdoor activities .

Feb to may 4547 On the weekend trips page you will find activities to do in one or two days. To go to the Zoo, Cape Cod or Martha ‘s Vineyard ( to the beach) , Plymouth, Walden Pond, or a water park are a very good options. Check out and enjoy the nice weather. I promise you ‘ll have time to lock yourself at home whe the winter will come.

Many of you will be arriving to Boston the coming weeks. I remember when I came here trying to organize the house in a week and missing a lot of activities just wanting to have everything organised at home. I will recommend you to go slowly , to enjoy every day from your arrival , and like a partner of SF14 told me “leave those things (to do at home) for the cold weather”.

Enjoy!