The MSMS Thesis Requirement

General Information

Affording students an opportunity to explore a topic in depth, the thesis is a key component of the MSMS program. A thesis integrates previous career experiences and academic knowledge to present independent scholarly insights to the MIT Sloan community and the field of management at large.

Beyond fulfilling the degree requirement, a thesis can have a profound effect on career development and real world productivity. Many students find that the thesis experience forces them to push beyond what they think they are capable of doing to grow both personally and professionally. During the researching and writing processes students learn more about a field, company or industry and broaden their network of contacts though research, interviews, or surveys. Sloan students may be offered exciting career opportunities based in part on the quality or content of their theses. Sponsored students have used their theses to make meaningful contributions to their organizations while continuing their education. Self-sponsored students have written theses that are sold to companies or used to start companies of their own.

Administrative Note: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology requires a thesis to grant a Master of Science (M.S.) degree. As all graduates of the MSMS program receive a M.S. it is an institutional requirement for successful completion of the program.

Thesis Approaches Include:

  • Business Plan: A business plan or feasibility study can include an industry analysis, a market assessment, and plans for product development, marketing, financing and staffing.
  • Case Study: A case study uses a specific example to illuminate a theoretical approach, a general trend, or a variety of managerial problems.
  • Comparative Analysis: A comparative analysis can clarify the behavior or distinguishing characteristics of some phenomenon. It can be applied in a variety of contexts (e.g., comparing models or methods or trends at the national or corporate level, etc.).
  • Historical Study: An historical study describes and/or analyzes the history of a trend, industry, organization, etc.
  • Hypothesis Testing/Theory Development: This approach typically involves developing and/or testing a hypothesis with a set of data.
  • Industry/Competitive Analysis: An industry/ competitive analysis can include an examination of industry structure, economics, market trends, and the positions of companies within the industry. Analyses can also focus on aspects of an industry, such as research and development, regulation, and labor.
  • Marketing Study: A marketing study may involve a complete marketing plan, or it may focus on a particular aspect, such as product characteristics.
  • Method Design: This approach involves designing an analytic framework, a procedure or a process to address a problem.
  • Model Design: This approach involves creating a mathematical model or a computer program to analyze or address a problem.
  • Policy Study: A policy study involves defining a problem, analyzing why it is a problem, searching for and discussing a range of alternative solutions and recommending or describing the implementation of a specific solution. Policy studies are often applied to problems in the public or government domain, although they may be applied to problems in the corporate world or to those problems facing a specific organization.
  • Strategic Study: A strategy study can involve a complete strategic plan for a firm, or it can focus on other aspects, such as trends in a particular sector.
  • Technology Study: A technology study can focus on the economics, strategy, development, engineering, and/or diffusion of a particular technology.

Selecting Thesis Topics

In selecting topics students draw upon:

  • Classes at MIT Sloan (or other institutions)
  • Past Theses
  • Interests outside of Academia
  • Recent Events
  • Company Projects

Note: Applicants are asked to write an admissions essay about a potential thesis topic during their time at MIT Sloan. Though accepted students may make adjustments to the subject before submitting the official Thesis Proposal in late November, it is generally expected that themes from the essay should reflect the proposed project.

Finding an Advisor

The MSMS program does not assign faculty advisors. Individual students have the freedom to develop a topic and find an advisor on their own, but with support from the MSMS Program Office. Considerations for selecting advisors often include:

  • Mutual Interest
  • Degree of interest
  • Working styles

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Thesis Titles of MSMS Alumni (2010-2012)
A Study of Korean Shipbuilders & Strategy for Sustainable Growth
A Study of the Currency Management for Foreign Investments of Korean Insurance Companies
A Study of the DRAM Industry
A Study of the Foundry Industry Dynamics
A Study on the Success Factors of Samsung Electronics for the last 10 Years
A System Dynamics View of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Active Portfolio Strategies Adapted in the Emerging Market
An Analysis on the Hong Kong Real Estate Investment Trust Market
Behavior Based Segmentation and Price Discrimination: Strategies and Implications
Business Model Design of electricity Reseller and their Influence on the Electricity Market
Business Plan for the Frozen Food Industry in Morocco
China’s Mergers & Acquisitions: A Comparison with the United States
Commodity Curse - Reality or Myth
Currencys’ Exchange Rate Trend
Delivering Telecommunications Services in Local Markets: A Case Study Outlining Implementation Challenges
Design-Driven Innovation
Development and Application of a Photovoltaic Financial Model
Equity Risk Premium Under Heterogeneous and Adaptive Beliefs
Evaluation of the Off Grid PV in Rural Region via Competitive Analysis: Conditions for the Commercial Viability
Financial Crisis: Through Various Perspectives
Historical Perspective of Innovation in Electronic Payment Instructions
Implied and Realized Volatility and it’s Impact on Option Pricing, During the Financial Crash of Summer 2008
Individual Investment Portfolio in China
Lessons for China from a Comparison of Logistics in the U.S. and China
Management Innovations at Outstanding Information Technology Companies and Implications for China
Momentum Strategy in China’s Stock Market
Multi Asset Funds in India
Online Advertisement Morphing: Empirical and Strategic Implications
Past, Present and Future Evolution of Oil Prices
Preparing A Business Plan for a Start Up Organization that will Facilitate the Development of Medical Tourism in Iran
Produce-It-Yourself: Remodeling the Music Industry
Raising a Foreign Currency Denominated and Renewable Energy Focused Parallel Private Equity Fund in China
Social Media Campaigning in Politics and Business
The Management of Transmedia Production in an Era of Media and Digital Convergence
The Risk Management Strategy for Korean Life Insurance Companies
The Role of Energy Sector in Sustainable Development in Iran
Managing the Paradigm Shift to Mobile Platforms in the Semiconductor Industry
Personalized Online Promotions: Long-term Impacts on Customer Behavior
Investment Opportunities in Green Technology Real Estate Projects
Openness at Google: Perspectives from Theory and Practice
Strategic Analysis of Mobile Money Ventures in Developing Countries
Impact of Money Market Funds on Commercial Paper Markets in United States and South Korea
Collective Intelligence in Financial Markets: Does Consumer Sentiment Affect Valuation of Financial Products
Exploring Online Retailing Strategies: Case Studies of Leading Firms in the U.S. and China
Challenges for Internationalization Models: the Case of E-Commerce Ventures’ Informal Internationalization
Challenges and Opportunities in the Tunisian Private Equity Sector
An Analysis of Russian Equity Capital Markets
Turkish e-Government Transformation: A Country Analysis Based on Efforts, Problems and Solutions
Forecasting Future Economic Growth: Term Structure of Interest Rates, Volatility and Inflation as Leading Indicators
Emerging Trends in the Satellite Industry
A Strategic and Financial Analysis of the DRAM Industry
Seeds of Growth: The Challenges of Venture Capital in the Australian Landscape
Importance of “Stakeholder Approach” in Service Industry
The Changing Competitive Landscape of the Smartphone Industry
Interaction Model of Private Equity and Venture Capital Developing Factors in Chile and Latin America
Identifying Disruptive Customers to Nurture for Long Term Growth
Non-Linear Revenue Creating Business Platform for IT Service Companies Using Cloud Computing
Corporate Entrepreneurship Programs: Practices and Their Implications in Developing Economies

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