“Whenever I ran into a problem or had an issue, I just contacted my CDO counselor, and he was always there.”
How does it work in practice?
In today's fast-moving world, leaders need to know how things get done. “Learning by doing” is fundamental to the MIT Sloan experience. In our Proseminars, students roll up their sleeves and apply what they’ve learned through rigorous coursework to our partner organizations’ most pressing real-world challenges. Then, through structured reflection, they deeply reinforce the essentials of innovative leadership and understanding that are best produced by applying knowledge to action.
Every Master of Finance (MFin) student is required to take at least one Action Learning course from the available two Proseminars or the Finance Research PracticumSM.
Developing Leaders of Finance
MIT’s motto, "Mens et Manus," or "Mind and Hand," fuels our curriculum and underlies the Action Learning opportunities you’ll find in the Master of Finance program. We produce leaders with the rich mastery of both theory and practice that's needed to navigate the evolving world of finance.
To accelerate global leadership development, students at MIT Sloan are afforded exceptional opportunities to actively exercise their skills and apply classroom learning by tackling real-world challenges. Our long tradition of merging theory with practice is the competitive advantage upon which MIT was built, and it is the very foundation upon which MIT Sloan continues to grow. We are the leader among top-tier business schools in Action Learning.
The two Proseminars available to MIT MFin students are in either Corporate Finance/Investment Banking or Capital Markets/Investment Management. Proseminars offer students an outstanding opportunity to work with leading industry practitioners on authentic industry problems. The two Proseminars for MFin students help students bridge the gap between theory and practice and introduce them to the broader financial community.
In Proseminars, problems are presented to the class by leading experts from the financial community. Based on individual self-assessments and each individual’s past experience, students are carefully divided into teams of four to six people, and each team is assigned a problem. The teams have about three weeks to work through to a solution, with the help of MIT MFin faculty and the sponsoring industry leader. Each team's solution is then presented to the sponsoring speaker for evaluation and feedback, and later at a seminar that is open to the entire MIT community.
Beyond working on real-world problems, Proseminars simulate authentic, real-life conditions. Time is limited, and the deadline is tight. Students also need to deal with their other classes and responsibilities.
Finance Research PracticumSM
The Finance Research PracticumSM offers students an opportunity to work on projects proposed by companies. These projects are real business problems of the sponsor companies, and students apply their new skills from the classroom in a business setting. In the Finance Research PracticumSM, teams of approximately three students work full-time on a project for the entire month of January. Student teams work on-site at the host company, and at the end of the project conduct a final presentation.
Mens et Manus
MIT’s guiding principle is its motto, "Mens et Manus," or "Mind and Hand." In addition to fulfilling the MIT philosophy of translating innovation to purpose in the world, hands-on learning synthesizes what you know with what you will need to know to make a more powerful impact in your chosen career.
Action Learning is an integral component of every student’s experience at MIT Sloan. It is a unique process in which students constantly refine their learning through an ongoing, iterative sequence of theory, practice, and reflection. The integration of learning through classroom theory and real-world practice is a part of MIT Sloan’s DNA—“learning by doing” is how we approach education.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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 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.”
“I came to Sloan because of its high rankings within the sustainability community, specifically the professors. The S-Lab class itself is part of what drew me to Sloan. And the reason I came to business school was to learn the business speak that really is what connects with people."
"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."
“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.”
“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.”
“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!”
“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 classroom itself is filled with so much collective brain power . . . it's obvious that I'm caught up in a room full of 124 of the brightest, most curious people from around the world."
“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.”
“These companies are really excited to work with MIT students.They reach out to the community to set up these projects and are great to work with. They give us access to all their resources and are very open to us.”
“As for the faculty, you'll quickly find that your professors – whether Nobel laureates or past presidents of the American Finance Association – are as passionate about teaching as you are about learning from them. MIT Sloan finance professors see you as their partners in shaping the future of finance.”