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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“[The India Lab] program is one of the reasons I came to Sloan. ... The hands-on learning that MIT offers was a huge differentiator.”
“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.”
"After we gave our recommendations, the great part was that the very next day the CEO was in the boardroom implementing them with his top vice presidents."
“The concept behind enterprise architecture is that you have all these machines, you have all these business processes, you have all these people doing things, how do you make sure they all come together and achieve business objectives that make you more competitive.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“We are very much an action-learning environment. The way to learn leadership is not only through reading cases, not only through learning theory — in fact we don’t want people to regurgitate the theory. We want people to take theory and to live it, use it.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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!”
“A huge number of companies have emerged from MIT, not just MIT’s science and engineering schools, but also from collaborative projects between the science and engineering disciplines and the Sloan school.”