Action Learning

China Lab

China Lab pairs MIT Sloan MBA students with international MBA students from five of MIT's premier partner business schools in China.

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China Lab

Welcome

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Action Learning teams at Fudan University

The Economy and Business of Modern China

China Lab offers students a unique, hands-on opportunity to tackle real business challenges that modern Chinese businesses face. Working in a wide variety of industries, including artificial intelligence, finch, biotech, healthcare, e-commerce, and many others, students collaborate with their hosts to dig deeper into their companies' unique challenges. Below are some of the questions students have worked with host companies to answer:

  •  What should be the entry and product strategy for a Chinese consumer goods manufacturing company in the US market? 
  • How can a China-based used car sales and after-sales service platform use big data on vehicle usage and machine learning to improve the value of their offerings. 
  • How can an incubator in Shanghai attract US innovators to commercialize their technology in China?
  • What models from US hospitals can a Chinese health information exchange adopt to improve efficiency and quality of care at the same time?

For a closer look at two China Lab projects, please watch this video:

WATCH: MIT Sloan Action Learning

MIT Sloan provides hands-on management experience through our pioneering Action Learning labs, giving students on-the-ground opportunities to put classroom theory into practice.

China Lab

Info for Students

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Credit: Jenn Alton Photography

The Class

China Lab pairs MIT Sloan MBA students with international MBA (IMBA) students from five of MIT’s premier partner business schools in China. Tasked with a specific project that caters to a participating host company's needs, each four-student team works across cultures and time zones from January through April to put traditional classroom learning into real-world practice while addressing critical business issues and promoting economic growth.

Each spring, China Lab sends 24 or more student teams to an equal number of Chinese host companies to collaborate on-site with their IMBA teammates. In like fashion, the IMBA students visit MIT Sloan for a week in spring, finishing their project work with their Sloan teammates, attending classes, and partaking in a rare opportunity for an intensely interactive experience with academic, intellectual, cross-cultural, and personal gains. Participating companies and entrepreneurs often request teams year after year, attesting to the strength and impact of previous years’ projects.

China Lab Blog

 

Bidding

Students interested in China Lab can start bidding for the course in early December, 2019. Those accepted into the course can learn about and bid on projects in January. 

Class Timeline

  • December-January

    Team formation and bidding. 

  • Early February

    Project scoping. 

  • February - Early March

    Hypothesis development, research, and completion of remote research report.

  • SIP and Spring Break

    On-site visit for MIT team members. 

  • April

    Hypothesis refinement and research 

  • Late April - Early May

    On-site visit for Chinese team members.

  • Mid-May

    Finalize and present report to host. 

China Lab

Info for Hosts

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The Benefits of Becoming a Host Organization

Being a host organization can be an exciting and fruitful opportunity. Together with students, hosts can: 

  • Explore an opportunity that does not fit easily into the day-to-day work flow of current employees, and requires creative, long-term thinking.
  • Provide a new perspective on the host's strategic thinking or organizational model.
  • Analyze the implications of new global technology or market trends for an existing business. 
  • Assess whether global expansion is necessary or valuable given the host's assets and capabilities. 
 

Interested In Becoming A Host?

Please email John Grant at jcgrant@mit.edu or Valerie Karplus at vkarplus@mit.edu.  

Host Timeline

  • September - October

    Host recruitment begins. 

  • December - January

    Student teams are recruited and matched with projects. Hosts find out if they have been successfully matched. 

  • February

    Course begins. 

China Lab

Faculty

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China Lab Faculty

Valerie J. Karplus

Valerie J. Karplus

Behavioral and Policy Sciences

Assistant Professor, Global Economics and Management

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John C. Grant

John C. Grant

Behavioral and Policy Sciences

Senior Lecturer, International Action Learning Programs (G-Lab, China/India Lab, GO-Lab)

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China Lab Mentors

Joseph J. Battat

Joseph J. Battat

Behavioral and Policy Sciences

Senior Lecturer, Global Economics and Management

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David Birnbach

David Birnbach

Behavioral and Policy Sciences

Lecturer, Global Economics and Management

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Sharmila C. Chatterjee

Sharmila C. Chatterjee

Management Science

Academic Head, Enterprise Management Track

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Cathy Louise Iacobo

Cathy Louise Iacobo

Behavioral and Policy Sciences

Lecturer, Global Economics and Management

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Charles Kane

Charles Kane

Behavioral and Policy Sciences

Senior Lecturer, Global Economics and Management and Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management

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Scott Keating

Scott Keating

Economics, Finance and Accounting

Senior Lecturer, Accounting

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Faculty Voices

  • YASHENG HUANG, International Program Professor in Chinese Economy and Business, Professor of Global Economics and Management

    "Chinese businesses can learn from our MBAs, many of whom have worked as accomplished consultants and technologists, and it is good exposure to how they think about and approach business issues.

    "China Lab is deeply, intensely interactive. Students gain a deep view on the Chinese economy, business, and culture. The students who have participated in China Lab overwhelmingly believe this is a very positive experience and one of their highlights at MIT Sloan.”

China Lab Students

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