Teaching, Learning, and Living

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

Action Learning at MIT Sloan is a teaching methodology that enables students to learn by applying classroom theory to practice. We do this through more than 15 immersive semester-long courses or labs that include projects addressing a critical business challenge in diverse 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 continue 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.

Since 1998, 1,465 projects within 889 partner companies have been solved by 7,048 students as part of MIT Sloan Action Learning.


How would you develop a successful clean technology company? How would you manage global fish stocks? What makes employees and customers loyal to a corporate leader? MIT Sloan gives educators and students worldwide the opportunity to wrestle with these critical management questions, and many others like them, through its open source website LearningEdge.

Developed at MIT Sloan, LearningEdge is a collection of teaching case studies and management simulations. The collection carries a creative commons license that allows all of the material to be downloaded, copied, and distributed free of charge.

Focusing on research at the cutting edge of learning and knowledge, LearningEdge brings the latest MIT Sloan thinking on system dynamics, entrepreneurship, leadership and ethics, operations management, strategy, and sustainability to a global audience. It offers new ways of thinking about challenging issues while promoting MIT Sloan thought leadership globally.

China Management Program

MIT Sloan actively pursues collaborations around the world, and was one of the first schools of management to develop partnerships with Chinese universities. Now, more than 20 years later, we look forward to the next generation of partnership and activity in China. We seek to broaden our outreach, partner with new businesses and universities, and continue to build meaningful relationships between our faculty and students and their counterparts in China.

We have built much of our work in China on the important premise that MIT Sloan faculty members are uniquely able to teach other teachers, and they have done this extensively in the context of our partnerships with Chinese universities. They have worked directly with faculty in China to ensure that the practices at the heart of MIT Sloan’s teaching methodologies can be applied elsewhere. This collaborative teaching and learning has paved a path for research partnerships that will become ever-more important through our ongoing engagements in China. More than ever, we anticipate that these new research collaborations will provide essential knowledge both at home in Cambridge and in China.

Our students have also gained valuable experience and built relationships in China. One of our most in-demand Action Learning courses, China Lab, provides opportunities for MIT Sloan students to work directly with management students in China on hands-on projects. This cross-cultural exposure reinforces a core tenet of teaching and learning at MIT–that through exposure and experience, students deepen their knowledge and skills. An expansion of China Lab will allow more MIT Sloan students and faculty to gain exposure to this critical part of the global economy and reach even more growing businesses in China.

With many years of such collaborations to guide us, we see opportunities to impact business practices, devise solutions to multinational management challenges, and expand outreach across both urban and less developed regions.

Leadership Center

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, 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, not because it is part of their job, but because they want to improve 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) brings the Institute’s deep knowledge of innovation-driven entrepreneurship and innovation science to the world through a novel curricular approach. Focused on bringing together stakeholders from specific regions, every MIT REAP team works with MIT faculty over a twoyear period (with four on-campus workshops), and each team includes individuals from government, risk capital, academia, entrepreneurship, and industry.

Working with a cohort of eight MIT REAP teams each year, MIT faculty members help 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 acceleration strategy, and begin implementation. Each MIT REAP cohort benefits from the others’ 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. Though designed for an external audience, 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.