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The MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award

The Award Application has closed. Finalists will be announced in late April.

2022 Application Timeline

The Award Application has closed. Finalists will be announced in late April.


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 – 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 – 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.
  • 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.

2022 Questions

Question 1

  • Please describe your company, IT organization, and your role. (100 words)
  • What role/title does the CIO report to? (25 words)
  • Describe any organizational responsibilities outside of IT. (50 words)
  • What title (or unit) is responsible for leading digital transformation in your company? What role does IT play? (50 words)

Question 2

  • How have you improved the capability of IT to deliver the right services at the right price and the right level of quality? How do you demonstrate this performance to the rest of the business? (150 words)

Question 3

  • How have you fostered a culture in the business that consistently generates new value from IT? How do you prioritize funding and drive accountability for results? Please describe the “before” and “after.” (300 words)

Question 4

  • 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)

Question 5

  • 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)

Question 6

  • Even in the most effective organizations, not all initiatives will be successful. What is an initiative that you directly sponsored that was not successful? What were the most important lessons learned from that experience? (200 words)

Question 7

  • What is the greatest challenge you and your organization still need to address in driving strategic value from IT and digital? (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 as appropriate.

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 [email protected]