Collaborative Environment

The sum is more than its parts

Attaining true excellence requires team effort, multiple points of view, and diverse skill sets. Team building becomes increasingly critical as the world grows more complex, and as businesses have to work across boundaries and borders. Learning to develop effective teams is part of our very structure and a cornerstone of our curriculum, from orientation to classes, and from labs to the Sloan Innovation Period (SIP).

Students at MIT Sloan are quick to praise the collaborative environment they find on campus. We often hear students marvel at how everyone pitches in to help them attain their goals, from student peers to faculty, and from alumni to business leaders. Ask anyone what makes the School a special place, and you’ll hear about the people here — accessible, creative, curious, intelligent, respectful, and grounded people — with open doors, who freely work in collaboration toward common goals.

Bringing People Together

Collaboration between students begins with a highly focused, one-week orientation session before the start of classes. Through a variety of challenging group exercises, students are introduced to the often unsettling truth that business problems spill out chaotically across disciplines, departments, and people’s capabilities. A crucial part of leadership is the ability to define such complex problems accurately, and bring the right diversity of skills and people together to develop the best solutions.

Your Team in Action

The first-semester Core establishes collaboration quickly through the creation of teams of six to seven classmates from diverse backgrounds and careers, and with distinct learning styles. The teams are drawn from a larger group of about 68 students who take their required Core courses together. Alumni remark that they feel their team became an important source of support and friendship for life.

Letter Labs, Clubs, Treks

Collaborative learning extends beyond the powerful, shared experience of the Core, both in and out of class. In Action Learning courses such as the Global Entrepreneurship Lab (G-Lab), multidisciplinary student teams tackle problems faced by partner companies from surrounding communities and from around the world.

Fostering trust and friendships, MIT’s impressive roster of highly active clubs and activities offers speakers, debates, business-skills competitions, sports, learning treks, teams, and social events — all organized by student groups throughout the year.

Ultimately, MIT Sloan is a premier research institution because of its people. The campus community embraces Action Learning and promotes a refreshing collaborative environment, all while employing an attitude of optimism and enthusiasm and displaying a willingness to “not stop at green lights.” Those who join this special community quickly find that these attributes combine to create a tangible energy. That's why they are empowered to create some of the most promising innovations and inventions to meet the world’s most critical challenges.

G-LAB: NAM MEE BOOKS, THAILAND Helping a book publisher mature

“It was really rewarding that they wanted to know what we thought. We left there being fairly certain that they will do some of the things that we suggested.”

Lia Cavalcante
MBA
INSTITUTE FOR WORK AND EMPLOYMENT RESEARCH Adapting to the changing nature of work

“We’re very interdisciplinary. Among the faculty in the group are an economist, a political scientist, a sociologist, and an industrial relations specialist. We’ve always made a big effort to be open to a variety of perspectives, but also to go beyond being open to them, to want to bring them in, because it makes for a richer environment.”

Thomas Kochan
Co-director, IWER
G-LAB: PRIVATE HEALTH CARE IN AFRICA Defining growth at a for-profit clinic

“At MIT Sloan you have a lot of opportunities to explore entrepreneurship. Especially in a place like Kampala where you have a lot of development, entrepreneurship can be very exciting.”

Anne Reilly
MBA
G-LAB: AIDS IN TANZANIA Striving for economic empowerment

“Because of the diversity of our backgrounds, when we hit the ground in Tanzania it almost was a natural play where different people assume different roles.”

Krishna Venugopalan
SF
INDIA LAB: EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT Creating employable workers to boost the economy

“I knew about American business, but not enough about what’s really become a global economy. … You can read about it all you want, but there’s no substitute for being there and seeing the context and seeing how completely different these [other countries] are.”

Ted Chan
MBA
G-LAB, KUALA LUMPUR Assessing the future of the Smart Card
"You have to manage what you can deliver for the company and what the company is expecting. The bottom line is that the CEOs of those companies want results. Even though we have to work five months in a row with the project, we have to deliver. This experience is more pragmatic than academic. It's a good opportunity to match those two worlds."
Camilo Syllos
MBA
CENTER FOR INFORMATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH Bringing people and machines together

 “For 35 years, we’ve been studying how companies get value from information. … We try to help organizations take a more holistic view of what they are trying to do.”

Jeanne W. Ross
Director and Principal Research Scientist, CISR
$100K WINNERS: C-CRETE TECHNOLOGIES Reducing the environmental impact of concrete

“One of the reasons I came to Sloan was because I wanted to be at a top MBA institution worldwide. But I also wanted access to working with the latest innovations and the highest technology that was coming out of the MIT labs.”

Natanel Barookhian
MBA
SWITZER FELLOWSHIP WINNER JASON JAY Focusing on environmental research and leadership

 “I love being in a place that is such a nexus of people and ideas — people coming to learn something new and to define themselves. Being a part of that process is a real honor and a real gift.”

Jason Jay
Lecturer, Sustainability, MIT Sloan
RETAIL AND CONSUMER GOODS Luxury beauty and the multicultural consumer
"The goal of the Retail and Consumer Goods Club is to provide networking opportunities for students at MIT Sloan, and to educate students about different functions within the retail and CPG space. We bring in executive-level speakers to educate our community on this topic."
Nga Phan
MBA, co-president of Retail and Consumer Goods Club
LEADERS FOR GLOBAL OPERATIONS Connecting management and technology
“[LGO students] get the advantage of a small cohort. But they’re also part of the larger community. They’re part of MIT, of MIT Sloan, of the MBA program. They’re part of the core program that meets every fall, they’re part of the engineering committee; they get the benefits of both the larger community and the small cohort.”
Don Rosenfield
senior lecturer and director of the Leaders for Global Operations
SLOAN FELLOW Getting serious about going global
"This year we were so fortunate to have 26 nationalities. So it was amazing exposure. I feel much more well rounded as a global business maker than I was before."
Abner Oliviera
SF
G-LAB, RAS RESORT, INDIA Marketing in Mumbai
"The project was really interesting because the scope changed a lot. We started focusing in one goal, then we changed to another, then we changed to another, all before we even left Cambridge."
Gerardo Guzman
MBA
COURAGE AND STRENGTH Supporting a student with breast cancer
"The Sloan community really rallied around me in a way that I totally didn’t anticipate. … It was just really nice to be a part of a community that I was totally comfortable in and felt completely supported by."
Kyle Maner
MBA
G-LAB: MERCY CORPS, INDONESIA Using business principles to address malnutrition

“The conditions in the neighborhoods we were visiting were different than what we realized before getting there. Beyond that, what was surprising was that there weren’t surprises!”

Libby Putman
MBA
G-LAB: WARMBATHS HOSPITAL, SOUTH AFRICA Improving staffing at a maternity ward

“The assistant to the CEO was like our host mom while we were there. She arranged our housing for us, she took us out to her friend’s game farm, and we got driven around in 4x4s. She was just wonderful to meet, and we developed a personal as well as professional relationship with her.”

Kelsey McCarty
MBA
S-LAB: JAKARTA WATERSHED Combating a clean water crisis

“You could talk about watershed management and conservation of energy all you want. But until you put numbers to it and financial analysis to it, you’re not going to get much done. I came to business school to speak that language, speak with people in terms of numbers, financial numbers so that I can get projects done.”

Ian Lavery
MBA
SLOAN FELLOW Merging disciplines for climate change
"I needed to get a better understanding of the interaction of management and technology. And I think MIT is an obvious place for that. There’s probably no better place in the world [for learning] how technology and management interact."
Pascal Marmier
SF
INDIA LAB: BANGALORE Working toward market expansion

“[The India Lab] program is one of the reasons I came to Sloan. ... The hands-on learning that MIT offers was a huge differentiator.”

Katie Baron
MBA
G-LAB: INTERGRUPO, COLOMBIA Growing a business by cultivating relationships

"The relationships that we forged helped us to turn out a better project. We were able to test our hypotheses with the people that we spoke with every single day. And really, I think the friendships that you develop really propel the work that you’re doing."

Ramy Hakim
MBA
MIT LEADERSHIP CENTER Changing views of leadership

“Our mission, along with the mission of MIT Sloan, is to both develop leaders who make a difference in the world, and also to make a contribution to thinking about the topic of leadership.”

Deborah Ancona
Faculty Director, MIT Leadership Center

“There really is a cross-disciplinary emphasis, and I like that. I have one foot in the marketing group and one foot in the economic sociology group, and I really enjoy playing that bridging function.”

- Renee Richardson Gosline
Assistant Professor