Frequently Asked Questions
Please note that no team has an automatic right to travel. Your project site visit must be earned through diligent and appropriate preparation and presentation. A "go/no go" decision will be made by your faculty team at an appropriate point in the process.
How long is the on-site project engagement? When does it take place? Given these guidelines, how do students decide on the exact internship dates?
Each lab requires that you spend a specific number of consecutive business days on site at your host organization. You and your fellow Action Learning Lab team members will work out the exact length and dates of your on-site residence with your host company, based on mutual availability. The Action Learning program will inform you of any local holidays (New Year's Day, Chinese New Year, Epiphany, Carnival, etc.) that may affect your travel plans due to work closures.
Please note that any personal travel you decide to add before or after the on-site period will be at your own expense (see further information below).
Your host company will expect you to be ready to work on your first day there. This means you should plan to arrive well ahead of time in order to recover from jet lag. For example, landing at your destination at 10 pm the night before your first day of work would not be optimal. We strongly recommend that you spell out the dates of your on-site engagement in your project work plan.
Is it okay if some team members arrive earlier than the others?
Team members may travel independently, but that flexibility does not extend to the on-site work period. The entire team must be on site together throughout your working days.
Who pays for travel expenses?
Your host company will pay for economy-class round-trip tickets from Boston to the company and back, as well as for modest, clean, and safe lodging that is readily accessible to the workplace. The Action Learning program will obtain estimates of reasonable economy airfare for all team destinations and provide them to the host companies as a guideline for how much they should expect to spend.
Important: You will bear any additional travel expenses incurred as a result of personal travel before or after your on-site work. In addition, you are required to pay for all other expenses you incur during your project residence, including food, transportation, weekend and evening tourism, visas, vaccinations and immunizations, and communication before, during, and after the trip, such as phone calls, FedEx, etc.
NOTE: In a small number of cases, the Action Learning program may agree to subsidize some travel costs. If this is the case for your team, we will discuss it with you directly.
Who books plane tickets and lodging?
Plane tickets: Either the host company buys your tickets directly, or you buy them and the company reimburses you. You are responsible for any costs associated with personal travel you undertake above and beyond the round trip between Boston and the host company. You should negotiate the itinerary and the timing of any reimbursement ahead of time; do not let the company choose your flights without consulting you.
Lodging: The host company will arrange accommodations for you. Make sure they communicate clearly where you'll be staying before you leave campus; ask the host company to send you links to information about the accommodations so that your team can investigate the options. Although the accommodations need not be fancy—and they probably won't be—they must be clean, safe, and provide you with reasonable access to transportation to your work site. Single rooms are typical, and suites are fine. However, double rooms are not usually appropriate, particularly for mixed-gender teams. It is important that you be housed in professional lodging, such as a hotel, guesthouse, or rented apartment, and not in a bedroom above your host's garage. If, upon your arrival, you find that the accommodations are not appropriate, you should attempt to find more acceptable lodging within a reasonable time and make sure that your host company is willing to pay for it. Any serious lodging problems encountered by your team and/or change of accommodations should be communicated immediately to the MIT Sloan Action Learning program office.
What if I want to travel before or after the on-site work?
You may travel before or after the on-site engagement, but you must pay for all associated costs, including additional airfare, lodging, and in-country transportation. Your host will only pay for the value of an agreed-upon round-trip airfare between Boston and the company.
What kind of visa should I get, and where do I get it? Who is responsible for paying visa processing fees?
There is no single answer, as visa requirements vary greatly, depending on both the country from which your passport originates and your destination. We recommend that you confer with A Briggs Passport and Visa Expeditors, with whom MIT has a preferred vendor relationship and who offers discounted visa processing fees: 617-830-2535, or email them. You—not your host organization—are responsible for obtaining your visa. Be sure to initiate this process well in advance, as some countries' consulates can take several months to issue a visa, depending on the type of passport you hold. You will need to investigate issues such as cost, turnaround time, possible passport renewal (your passport must be valid for at least six months after your return date), number of blank pages in your passport, and your itinerary. If you are not a U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. resident, make sure you understand any restrictions pertaining to the visa you hold that allows you to be in the U.S. You are responsible for paying your visa processing fees.