MIT Sloan Action Learning

G-Lab Overview

Global Entrepreneurship Lab (15.389)

Entrepreneurship in the 21st century is evolving. Due do global changes in technology, communication, and capital markets, today’s innovative startups are building successful companies in markets around the globe, in environments with young or emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems. These challenges are the focus of G-Lab.

This course focuses on measuring and understanding what kinds of entrepreneurship thrive in different countries, and it develops analytical diagnostic frameworks that can be used to better understand any situation. This includes applying macroeconomic, financial, and microeconomic tools – as well as thinking about the role of politics, culture, and other noneconomic variables. The course covers relevant history, as well as the likely trajectory of countries and what kinds of policies can make a difference.

G-Lab is an interdisciplinary project-based learning course with three specific goals:

  • To provide students with insights into the opportunities and problems facing entrepreneurs in emerging markets
  • To structure an intensive project experience for students, in which they work collaboratively with senior leadership at global startups
  • To help students develop their skills of integrated problem framing, in order to understand how organizations in complex environments move to action

As the main feature of G-Lab, student teams work with their host companies on project engagements designed to tackle real-world problems. Host companies are located in up to 15 countries with emerging economies throughout the world. In September, G-Lab faculty members match the best-qualified teams to their preferred host companies. From late September through December, the teams work remotely from campus with the companies, building their relationships through online collaboration and weekly conference calls. Teams conduct project-related research, interviews and analyses that lay critical groundwork for their work in the field. In January, teams travel to work on site full-time at their host companies’ offices for three weeks.

Return: Post-Onsite Reflections and Deliverables

In MIT Sloan’s signature Think-Act-Reflect approach to Action Learning, reflection is an ongoing component in the cycle of a G-Lab project. Through various methods of reflection—such as blogs, team processing, mentor coaching, posters, and public presentations—students link theory and practice before, during, and after their project engagement, bringing them to a deeper understanding of the broad impact of what they’ve learned. The teams’ final deliverables include a formal presentation and, importantly, concrete "leave behinds" that deliver high-impact tools, such as financial models, HR manuals, strategic business plans, or social marketing strategies that the host companies’ senior management can put to work immediately.

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