Action Learning

Global Organizations Lab

The original MIT EMBA Action Learning lab, GO-Lab explores business challenges facing executive leaders of organizations which operate in multiple countries.

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Global Organizations Lab


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15.708 Global Organizations Lab

GO-Lab is a four-month intensive Action Learning lab and project team engagement (January – April). GO-Lab partners with multi-national organizations to address critical cross-border management challenges or opportunities. The four-month project includes interactions with EMBAs on campus, a one-week Field Study, and weekly check-ins. To date, over 130 organizations world-wide have hosted GO-Lab projects and leveraged EMBA teams for focused, objective analysis of their strategic organizational challenges.

Exploring cross-border management challenges and opportunities

GO-Lab explores challenges facing executive leaders of organizations which operate across multiple country borders. GO-Lab offers final-semester EMBAs opportunities to draw on their EMBA experience, apply new skills, explore new organizations and industries, and take advantage of the MIT ecosystem and network. Working as executive advisors to senior management, GO-Lab teams develop a shared understanding of relevant global and national economic and institutional contexts. This experience advances how EMBAs think about and respond to the challenges of managing complex organizations (business firms, NGOs, and other organizations) within and across business, strategic, marketing, cultural, and other critical contexts.

Project hosts will meet with their GO-Lab teams virtually and in person between January – April, 2024. The high point of a GO-Lab project is international travel for an in-person Field Study period of March 18-22, 2024. 

Teams leverage data-driven research, field research, interviews, focus groups, shadowing, and observation for their projects. They also consult with classmates, GO-Lab faculty mentors, and other experts. GO-Lab provides opportunities for personal engagement with managers, employees, and stakeholders as they wrestle with global challenges.

GO-Lab teams close out projects by providing hosts with an objective analysis of each business challenge or opportunity. Project teams deliver recommendations along with actionable proposals, supported by specific tools or “play books” and more, depending upon the individual project scope.

There is no fee to participate in GO-Lab, but each project host is asked to assume the travel and lodging expenses for their team. In January, matched project hosts will be invoiced $10,000 USD, which will be applied to travel and lodging expenses. Expenses over that amount will be billed at the end of the project in May. MIT Sloan Action Learning labs will adhere to state, federal, and MIT guidelines regarding international and domestic travel. 

WATCH: Professor emeritus Donald Lessard on Global Organizations Lab

Global Organizations Lab

Info for hosts

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Hosting a GO-Lab project

Each year, faculty and staff seek projects and hosts in advance to collaborate with GO-Lab teams of 4-6 EMBAs. Faculty mentors work with prospective hosts to design projects and objectives, and then to refine project scope. Each project will evolve from the initial stated problem or challenge to a more fundamental understanding and desired direction as EMBAs and mentors engage, to leverage their objective perspectives, skill sets, and tools.

Start an application here


 Criteria for a successful GO-Lab project

  • An engaged, supportive executive sponsor. 
  • A project host at each site. 
  • A clear, concise project scope that has been socialized with all corporate leaders who may become involved in the project.
  • Strategic importance: this is something that needs doing.
  • Two contexts: cross border people and data in a minimum of two locations.
  • Access to time, resources, data, and people. 
  • Focused attention during the international Field Study period, March 18-22, 2024. 

Project design questions

  • How could we configure our global supply chain to better address unpredictable demand and/or supply shocks? 
  • Where could we launch the next product or platform to best create and capture value?
  • As a foreign organization, what is our strategy for expanding into the United States? 
  • How can we align and improve our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts across global regions? 
  • How can our organization become more global when most of our employees are located at headquarters, but many of our customers are abroad?
  • How could we improve learning across sites to leverage our presence, assets, and emerging opportunities? 
  • How could new products, processes, systems, or business models be developed with inputs from different entities in different countries?
  • How could we balance local independence and global standardization in specific businesses?
  • How could we improve the value of our growth by acquisition, focusing on the integration of a specific acquisition, ideally across different settings?  

Host timeline

  • December 2023

    Submit a project proposal.

  • January 2024

    Projects matched. Host, mentor, and EMBA team introductions.

  • February 23, 2024

    Host meeting with team at MIT.

  • Early March 2024

    Teams prep and plan Field Study period.

  • March 18-22, 2024: Field Study

    Intensive visit to project sites is the center of the lab experience.

  • Mid-April 2024

     Draft report to host. Sponsor sends comments/reactions quickly back to EMBA team.

  • April 26, 2024

    Project closes with executive presentation to hosts at MIT.

Crafting a GO-Lab project: 6 stages

Over the four month project period, EMBA students (along with faculty mentors) work through six stages:

  1. Map the organization’s global sales, production, and innovation footprint and its positioning in relevant competitive landscapes.
  2. Identify opportunities, bottlenecks, or gaps, including performing background research on these issues.
  3. Observe issues from multiple perspectives.
  4. Reframe the challenge; develop a vision/big concept to go forward.
  5. Develop specific tools and analytics to support and sharpen the directions of change.
  6. Present a strategic perspective, objective, and a road map to get there.

MIT Sloan's signature experiential learning model immerses more students in more of the world's under-resourced locales to translate knowledge into useful solutions. 

GO-Lab project deliverables

GO-Lab projects conclude with EMBAs delivering recommendations and actionable proposals, supported by a specific set of tools or "play books" built from their data-driven observations to offer a vision of the desired future state and specific areas for improvement. 

Interested in hosting a GO-Lab project?

To learn more about hosting a GO-Lab project, please contact Beth Chartier.

Global Organizations Lab


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GO-Lab Faculty

Hiram Samel

Hiram Samel

Senior Lecturer

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Stuart Krusell

Stuart Krusell

Behavioral and Policy Sciences

Senior Director, Global Programs; Senior Lecturer, Behavioral and Policy Sciences

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GO-Lab Mentors

Joseph J. Battat

Joseph J. Battat

Behavioral and Policy Sciences

Senior Lecturer, Global Economics and Management

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John C. Grant

John C. Grant

Behavioral and Policy Sciences

Senior Lecturer, International Action Learning Programs (G-Lab, China/India Lab, GO-Lab)

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Charles Kane

Charles Kane

Behavioral and Policy Sciences

Senior Lecturer, Global Economics and Management and Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management

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