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  • Hands-On Action Learning

    Students and Industry Collaborating on Real-World Challenges

    Action Learning is a hallmark of MIT’s teaching methodology—a continuous learning environment with numerous opportunities to explore, experiment, and put theory into practice.

    MIT Sloan’s signature finance Action Learning courses offer unique opportunities for students to engage in meaningful, real-world business challenges, providing relevant experience employers respect.  Students work alongside corporate partners, faculty, and a diverse cross-section of fellow MIT students on collaborative teams, gaining insight and coaching from experts, building their networks, and enhancing their portfolios of outcome-oriented case studies.

    All MFin students participate in action learning through Proseminars—real-world financial problem-solving experiences; or the Finance Research Practicum℠—a real-world team research and analysis experience.  While only one of these courses is required, students often choose more than one to gain additional practical experience in finance and social skills critical for success in a diverse global economy.


    Proseminars offer students an outstanding opportunity to work with leading industry practitioners on authentic industry problems, help students bridge the gap between theory and practice, and introduce them to the broader financial community. Students work in teams to tackle problems posed by company sponsors and present findings to leading experts in the finance industry and to classmates.

    Project examples:

    • Provide investment banking advice to a private equity-controlled chemical company, including valuation, analysis, and exit strategies.
    • Analyze the cost of trading foreign exchange for a major New York-based asset management firm.
    • Construct a rainy day fund that will perform well when equity prices are falling, volatility in increasing, and credit spreads are widening for a significant Boston-based hedge fund.
    • Give recommendations on raising capital for a rapidly growing private company.

    Learn more about Proseminars

    Finance Research Practicum℠

    The Finance Research Practicum is a graduate-level finance elective course in which students work in teams on projects proposed by external sponsors. The goal is to provide students with an outstanding opportunity to work with leading industry practitioners on important business problems, while helping them bridge the gap between theory and practice, and introducing them to the broader financial community.

    Student teams work on-site at their host companies or on campus for the month of January and present their work at the end of the project during the spring term. The projects address real business problems and involve the use of one or more advanced technical skills, including financial econometrics, simulation, derivatives valuation, optimization, and related software and programming languages.

    Project examples:

    • Building a model using macro data to predict returns to bonds for the most liquid 17 emerging/frontier markets for a large NYC-based emerging markets debt fund. 
    • Researching ESG factors that can predict stock performance, including board composition, and women in senior management for a Boston-based large ESG manager. 
    • Conducting a deep dive into fundamental research on international/emerging markets trading opportunities in convertible debt for a Boston-based asset manager.