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The MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award

2016 Application Timeline

Applications for 2016 are now closed.

Finalists will be announced in a press release in late April. The winner will be announced in a press release on the day of the Symposium.

Finalists will formally recognized at a private event the evening before the Symposium on May 17, 2016.

Application process

You must complete the application using Adobe Reader. Once you are satisfied with your application, use the “Submit Form” button from Adobe Reader, or simply email your final application to

Download information about the award


Nothing we learn from the application process that is not publicly available will be shared or communicated beyond the Award Team, which we define as Judges and Award Committee members, without express permission of the applicant. This includes the names and companies of the applicants.


Key characteristics of CIO leadership include:

  • Exceptional Communicator – Articulates a vision for strategic business value from IT and works across the organization to build partnership around this vision. Focuses communications on value and innovation, not technology. Helps all IT staff to understand the business and speak the language of business leaders.
  • Recognized IT Leader (“Cheap Information Officer”) – Clearly demonstrates value-for-money in the management of core IT services – providing the right services at the right price and the right level of quality. Recognized among peers as an effective leader of the IT unit.
  • Driver of Business Value (“Chief Improvement Officer”) – Understands the business and needs of the CEO, CFO, Line-of-Business heads and other senior executives. Ensures clear focus on potential and realized value in all IT initiatives. Incorporates IT into business decision-making by participating in key strategic conversations, suggesting innovative uses of IT, and for managing risk.
  • Trusted Partner (“CIO-Plus”) – Exercises authority beyond IT itself. Considered a trusted member of the senior executive team, not just a technology leader. Suggests innovative uses of IT to transform the business – and successfully executes the changes. May receive additional non-IT responsibilities such as Chief Operating Officer or VP of Strategy, or strategic temporary roles such as Head of M&A integration.

These criteria are adapted from the award-winning book The Real Business of IT: How CIOs Create and Communicate Value, which draws extensively upon research conducted at MIT Sloan. As you answer the questions below, please tell us how you have demonstrated these leadership characteristics.

The application includes the following questions. The weights represent relative importance of each question in Phase 1 of the judging process. Question 1 provides context that will be useful in assessing responses to subsequent questions.

2016 Questions Weight
Q1 Please describe your company, IT organization, reporting relationship, and any organizational responsibilities outside of IT. What is the size of your company in terms of revenue and number of employees? What is the size of your IT unit in terms of budget and number of employees? 100 words
Q2 What is the role of IT leaders on the senior executive team of your company? How does this role drive transformative value in your company? 15%
150 words
Q3 How have you fostered a culture that consistently generates new value from IT? What metrics and other communications methods do you use to communicate about value? Please describe the “before” and “after” environment, both within IT and the overall organization. 25%
250 words
Q4 Even in the most effective organizations, not all initiatives will be successful. What were the most important lessons learned in implementing an initiative that was NOT successful? 15%
200 words
Q5 Describe an innovation that illustrates your vision and achieved your targeted business results.
Why do you consider this initiative to be innovative? How did you select, design, build support for and manage the execution of this innovation?
400 words
Q6 What results did this innovation deliver? How did you assure that these results would continue to be delivered?
Please include both hard and soft metrics.
200 words
Q7 What is the greatest challenge you and your organization still need to address in driving strategic value from IT? 10%
200 words

Judging process

The judging process will be conducted in three phases.
A panel of CIOs, industry thought leaders and MIT Sloan-affiliated professionals will act as judges.

Phase 1: Initial Screening

Each application will be read by 3 judges and ranked based on quality, depth and completeness of the responses. The top applications will be selected to advance to the semifinalist phase.

Phase 2: Detailed Analysis

A team of judges, including CIOs and past Award Winners and Finalists, will read each semifinalist application and rank order based on detailed evaluation criteria. Judges will meet to discuss ranking and select a set of 3-5 Finalists for the next phase.

Phase 3: Interviews

A team of 3 MIT-affiliated judges will interview the Finalists and then meet to pick the Winner. Finalists will be notified in advance so that they can prepare for interviews.


Press interviews with the Finalists will be scheduled for the day of the Symposium.

For award-related questions

We wish you the best of luck and look forward to your application. If you have any questions, please contact the Award Co-chairs at