Lessons from MIT – Professional Development

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In December 2017, I applied to Join MIT Executive EMBA Program. I submitted 3 essays, including my statement of purpose. In May 2018 I received my acceptance letter in July 2018. This was the beginning of my MIT Journey. I made many trips to the US, spent many hours reading and doing assignments and research on various topics. The course was very demanding with less time for family, work and friends. Alhamdulillah, I finally graduated in May 2020.

The experience has been the most fulfilling. The exposure was great. A lot of courses were applicable to my current role at Eclectics; these included Financial Management, Marketing Management, Systems Dynamics, Data Model and Decisions, Competitive Strategy, Global Strategy, Strategy for People Analytics, Analytics Edge and many more. For each of the core courses, I submitted a paper based on my work and experience in Eclectics. This gave me a splendid chance for my professors and team to have a greater understanding of the company and to provide invaluable advice and suggestions on ways to improve the company. Many of the frameworks and lessons are being shared slowly with the leadership teams. It is my hope this will help the company in implementing the Eclectics 2.0 Strategy.

One of the greatest lessons learnt at MIT was from an organizational management course called “OP” – operations process course. The learning was on organizational behaviour and change management framework called the 3 lenses. The Strategic Design states that Organizations are machines. An organization is a mechanical system crafted to achieve a defined goal. Parts must fit well together and match the demands of the environment. Action comes through planning.

The second lens is Political. In this lens, we learn that Organizations are contests. An organization is a social system encompassing diverse, and sometimes contradictory, interests and goals. Competition for resources is expected. Action comes through power.

The final lens is the Cultural lens. In this lens, we learn that Organizations are institutions. An organization is a symbolic system of meanings, artefacts, values, and routines. Informal norms and traditions exert a potent influence on behaviour. Action comes through habit.

As I conclude this, I would like to urge all my colleagues in Eclectics to expand their knowledge. It will not be easy, I know it’s difficult to even do our day-to-day jobs because of pressures from work, family etc but I believe it’s worth doing or learning something new every day. The simple step is to start by reading at least 1 page or new materials every day!

A huge thank-you to all my colleagues at Eclectics International for supporting me during the course. I thank the company and specifically our MD – Paul Mbugua for support and seeing and believing in this great cause. I will forever appreciate this!

By: Sebi Salim - Deputy Managing Director, Eclectics