MIT’s first president, William Barton Rogers, launched a daring experiment in teaching: rather than education that existed solely in the classroom, he called for opportunities for hands-on experimentation and experience. That signature approach has led to unprecedented possibilities for MIT Sloan’s students and global partners. We step outside the classroom and into the world, we devise practical solutions to management challenges, and we open our virtual doors to teachers and learners globally. In the process, we bring MIT Sloan’s educational approach to the world.
Action Learning (AL) is MIT Sloan’s distinctive hands-on teaching methodology that enables students to learn by applying classroom theory to business and management challenges at real-world organizations. For several decades, MIT Sloan has been a leader in this hands-on, immersive approach to management education that is true to MIT’s Motto, Mens et Manus, or Mind and Hand. The School offers up to 20 immersive semester-long AL labs that include projects addressing critical business challenges in diverse interdisciplinary areas, such as global economics, analytics, entrepreneurship, sustainability, healthcare, and others. Teams of three to four students, guided by faculty mentors, work on projects that start in the classroom, and travel across the country or overseas to continue this work with the host organization–often in multilingual and multicultural settings– to develop actionable recommendations and tools. This experiential learning model, which combines rigorous theory, practical experience, and systematic reflection, builds crucial management and leadership skills.
The MIT Sloan approach to AL, in both the breadth of diverse opportunities and the pedagogical framework is a key differentiator among peer business schools. In a recently published Action Learning Impact Study, students and alumni alike reported that AL had contributed significantly to both their learning and their capabilities not just as professionals but as thinkers and actors in the world.
What does it mean to be an innovative leader who focuses on solving the world’s most challenging problems? Can those skills be cultivated and developed? The MIT Leadership Center and the thousands of students who have benefited from its teachings think so. MIT leaders thrive in a world of uncertainty, in a wide range of workplaces, diverse industries and environments. They are driven to solve those problems that require cross-disciplinary knowledge, collaboration, and creativity. Our leaders are those who step up to a challenge they see, driven by a culture of collaborators and doers focused on achieving meaningful impact in the world. This drive is founded in the research pursued by the Leadership Center’s affiliated faculty– research that is focused on helping leaders solve major challenges.
MIT’s curriculum is enhanced by the work of the MIT Leadership Center. The Center acts as a translator of research related to effective leadership as well as a hub for leadership development opportunities, providing MIT students with the training and tools they need to make a difference from within any part of an organization. Our students investigate leadership through a variety of lenses and, in the process, learn to think critically about leadership at all levels–personal, team, organizational, and sometimes societal. In order to provide a range of experiences and perspectives for our students, the Center’s programming includes coaching, formal coursework, experiential workshops, and programs that bring together interdisciplinary thought leaders. Through research, education, and convening conversations, the Leadership Center strengthens the capacity of individuals, teams, and organizations to develop innovative leaders who solve the world’s most challenging problems.
MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program
The MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP) sees a path for economic and social progress through innovation and entrepreneurship. MIT REAP brings the Institute’s expertise in leading innovation-driven entrepreneurship and innovation science to communities worldwide through a novel curricular approach. Focused on bringing stakeholders together each MIT REAP team works with MIT faculty over a two‐year period. Each team includes individuals from government, risk capital, academia, entrepreneurship, and industry all from a specific region.
MIT faculty members help a cohort of these regions and the leaders in the program accelerate economic growth and job creation through careful analysis, strategic planning, and collective action. Participants learn about MIT’s research and frameworks, develop an entrepreneurship strategy, and begin implementation. The cohort benefits from the each of the team’s work through bi-annual workshops where all of the teams come together and through ongoing communications throughout the two-year engagement.
Global in focus, the program allows MIT to work closely with thoughtful leaders around the world, apply research-based frameworks in practice, and learn from and disseminate best practices. MIT REAP also will continue to cultivate a global community of regions and individuals interested in ecosystem development. MIT REAP builds on many of the proven tenets of MIT Sloan’s action learning model of learning by doing to support participants as they actively address their regions’ challenges and opportunities.