I've always wondered: what exactly is Justin Timberlake doing on that album cover of his? Perhaps we can discuss this in the comment field below, or I could bring it up at the next town hall meeting. This much is certain, whatever it is he's doing, it looks important. It's a statement. It requires focus and is most certainly busy work. The same can be said about SIP, or Sloan Innovation Period.
SIP is a one-week slot in a Sloan student's calendar reserved for taking classes outside of your regular schedule. It's a chance to take a break from the semester grind and challenge yourself with new ideas and experiences. SIP is offered once a semester and is a requirement for graduation for Sloanies: you must earn 8 SIP credits to graduate. Classes are offered in 0.5, 1, and 1.5 unit increments.
What do you learn during SIP? That's the best part... pretty much anything you can imagine. As much as SIP is a break from the ordinary for students, it's a chance for Sloan's faculty to showcase their most recent research and ideas... from "Developing Ideas for Breakthrough Products and Services" with Prof. Eric Von Hippel, to "Strategy & Sustainability: Using Public Narrative to Build a Strategy for Sustainability at Sloan" with Prof. Rebecca Henderson. It's also an opportunity to focus on the matters at hand, and get perspectives from some of the world's thought leaders as per Prof. Simon Johnson's "The Global Crisis: Is it Over Yet?" session this week. Yes, that Prof. Johnson who recently held his own against Stephen Colbert last week on The Colbert Report.
What did I get out of SIP? Some of the most memorable moments of my time here at Sloan. The teachings from Prof. Von Hippel's innovation class mentioned above were instrumental in landing our first case competition victory as Team Delta. The day-long "Executive Challenge Simulation" class taught by Prof. Bentley cemented the notion that situations can change with the slightest gust of wind in the business world, and you have better laid the groundwork for it.
There's no question we'll all be graduating into a very different world than the one we came from upon entering school. One of the most widely emailed articles from The New York Times this week has been a piece questioning the fundamentals of modern management education, citing "an overemphasis on the rigor and an underemphasis on relevance", or that certain institutions graduate students with "a focus on maximizing shareholder value and a limited understanding of ethical and social considerations essential to business leadership".
As much as business leaders have been part of recent problems, I take comfort that places like Sloan have been addressing those shortcomings in their curriculum well before any of us set foot here.