Immediate Needs and Emerging Opportunities Fund
Through the combined efforts of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni, we will continue to develop the principled innovative leaders the world needs in times of crisis, as well as creating the innovative ideas and management practices that can aid those leaders in addressing the challenges posed by this global pandemic. As you deal with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in your own life, we hope that you will consider a gift to the Immediate Needs and Emerging Opportunities Fund to help support the extraordinary efforts across MIT Sloan to achieve our mission in the midst of this crisis.
Gifts provide MIT Sloan with funding to respond to immediate needs and emerging opportunities as they arise. In this time of global pandemic, this means funding to respond to student and faculty needs related to the COVID-19 crisis—including our response to support students’ continued learning with necessary technology and curricular enhancements; increased activities to address issues related to students securing internships and full-time employment; and support for faculty who are working tirelessly to make a better world.
Support Our Students
MIT Sloan students have shown tremendous resiliency and tenacity in response to the COVID-19 crisis. During this challenging period, they have adjusted to a new learning environment and, in many cases, new living situations. The Immediate Needs and Emerging Opportunities Fund will benefit our students in a number of critical ways.
Shift to a Virtual Campus
Incremental funding will help students navigate the MIT Sloan virtual campus as they migrate to remote learning in their new locations. As an example of how technological needs have greatly increased, the MIT Sloan community spent a collective 1.3 million minutes per day on the Zoom video-sharing platform during the first week of online classes—as opposed to 35,000 minutes per day prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Technological support is crucial for engaging the student community and sustaining learning through an enhanced curriculum. In a short two-week period, 270 sections of courses were transformed into online education, involving more than 150 faculty members. Additionally, 70 staff members from across MIT Sloan were re-deployed to help students and faculty in this rapid transition. This transition continues as we prepare to welcome new students virtually to our three master’s programs (Master of Finance, Sloan Fellows, and Leaders for Global Operations) that begin this summer.
Virtual Learning at MIT Sloan
Minutes Per Day
Sections of Courses
Facilitating Essential Career Development Resources
The Office of External Relations and MIT Sloan’s Career Development Office are working to facilitate essential connections between students and alumni. Sloanies can help by posting open job and internship opportunities, volunteering to coach a student interested in their industry, hosting a virtual coffee chat, or serving as an ambassador for MIT Sloan candidates.
Dozens of MIT Sloan faculty—who were already hard at work solving the world's greatest challenges—pivoted their research to study the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and address the rising economic, financial, and health care needs. If there was ever a time that demonstrated the world’s high regard for our faculty’s expertise, the time is now.
Gifts to the Immediate Needs and Emerging Opportunities Fund will enable our faculty and the many centers, initiatives, and efforts they lead to respond fully to the issues at hand.
Finance and the Economy
- Edward Golding, Executive Director of the MIT Golub Center for Finance and Policy and Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan, is focusing on the large amount of assistance being given to the mortgage market, which will help borrowers but could damage the supply chain by not adding suppliers and renters into the equation.
- Deborah Lucas, Sloan Distinguished Professor of Finance and Director of the MIT Golub Center for Finance and Policy, is applying lessons learned from the 2008 financial crisis to the recent COVID-19 Relief Bill and is raising awareness of the efficacy of credit support versus direct cash outlays.
- Andrew Lo, Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor; Professor of Finance; and Director of the Laboratory for Financial Engineering, is working on a number of projects to stimulate vaccine production—such as using business model simulations to evaluate funding needs, and demonstrating the benefits of investing in and approving of vaccine clinical trials.
- Tavneet Suri, Louis E. Seley Professor of Applied Economics and an Associate Professor of Applied Economics, is applying learnings from the past few years of research on universal basic income being provided in parts of Kenya to explore how economic safety nets can help promote social distancing and other preventative interventions to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
- Emil Verner, Assistant Professor of Finance, and his co-authors recently analyzed the economic impact of the 1918 Flu Pandemic and found that public health interventions have no adverse effect on local economic outcomes. Through a detailed analysis of the various interventions in different parts of the country and found that cities that undertook more aggressive interventions performed better economically in the year following the pandemic.
The Future of Work
- Sandy Pentland, Toshiba Professor of Media Arts & Science and Professor of Information Technology, is working with the United Nations and the Club of Madrid to create policies that can help get people back to work as quickly and as safely as possible.
- Thomas Kochan, George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management; Professor of Work and Employment Research; and Co-Director of the MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research, has determined actionable steps we can take to fill “the holes in our Social Safety Net" and curtail the effects this crisis could have on American workers.
- Dimitris Bertsimas, Associate Dean of Business Analytics; Boeing Professor of Operations Research; and Faculty Director of the Master of Business Analytics program, is partnering with Hartford HealthCare and ASST Cremona to develop and deliver tools for hospitals and policymakers in the U.S. to combat the spread of COVID-19.
- Joseph Doyle, Erwin H. Schell Professor of Management; Professor of Applied Economics; and Director of the MIT Sloan Health Systems Initiative, is addressing issues on the management side of health care—from allocation of limited resources, to management practices and incentivizing beneficial social behaviors. He is working alongside other leading health economists to create spending guidelines for the $100 billion designated for hospitals and healthcare facilities.
- Vivek Farias, Patrick J. McGovern (1959) Professor and Professor of Operations Management, has been analyzing the load patterns on various types of health care facilities being used to address the COVID-19 crisis, with a goal of balancing the load more equally to optimize the availability of critical facilities at appropriate times and in appropriate geographies. Using machine learning techniques and in collaboration with Amazon, Farias has developed scalable approaches to mitigate the load on the most highly-stressed facilities.
Georgia Perakis, William F. Pounds Professor Management; Professor Operations Management and Operations Research and Statistics; and Co-Director, Operations Research Center, is utilizing machine learning and optimization models initially developed for retail forecasting to generate and test both predictive and prescriptive methods for COVID-19 interventions. Using public data sets (such as the John Hopkins University Covid-19 Case Data), Perakis hopes to predict the probability and severity of COVID-19 infections based on the characteristics of a location. This study will also compare the severity and highlight the efficacy of varying social distancing interventions across different regions. Ultimately, the goal is to increase hospital preparedness and optimize government interventions.
- Sinan Aral, David Austin Professor of Management; Professor of Information Technology and Marketing; and Director of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy, is studying the growing importance of social media and how platforms are handling information amid the pandemic to analyze the spread of the coronavirus and determine whether social distancing measures are working.
As local governments assemble task forces and draft plans to open up their states, researchers from MIT IDE—Seth Benzell, Avinash Collis, and Christos Nicolaides—are weighing risk factors to inform policy decisions. Using location data, consumer surveys, and govenrment statistics, the researchers offer a transmission risk vs. social cost analysis for twenty-six different location categories across the US.
- Thomas Malone, Patrick J. McGovern (1959) Professor of Management and founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, is adapting and deploying his Climate Co-Lab platform to address the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. Climate Co-Lab has built a community of more than 120,000 participants to crowd source solutions to the challenges of climate change and Malone hopes to catalyze a similar effort to address the longer-term challenges of this pandemic.
- David Rand, Erwin H. Schell Professor; Associate Professor of Management Science and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT Sloan; and Director of the Human Cooperation Laboratory and the Applied Cooperation Team, is studying the dissemination of false news regarding COVID-19. He has found that, despite a higher ability to determine the accuracy of piece of news, social media users are 50% more likely to share a false piece of news if not prompted to consider whether or not the information is true. Rand hopes to help social media platforms develop methods for limiting the sharing of “fake news” on their sites.
- Simon Johnson, Ronald A. Kurtz (1954) Professor of Entrepreneurship and Professor, Global Economics and Management, and Retsef Levi, J. Spencer Standish (1945) Professor of Management; Professor, Operations Management; and Co-Director of LGO Program, launched the COVID-19 Policy Alliance to help and inform governments, hospitals, and stakeholders during the global pandemic with analytics-enabled tools and operational policy recommendations.
- Hazhir Rahmandad, Mitsubishi Career Development Professor and an Associate Professor of System Dynamics, has been modeling COVID-19 spread in Iran and his analysis suggests that Iran is undercounting the coronavirus death toll by an order of magnitude. Using dynamic modeling techniques to study the projected spread of the coronavirus in one of the global epicenters of this pandemic, Rahmandad has shown that the likely level of infection and mortality could be more than ten times the levels that are currently being reported by government agencies.
- Antoinette Schoar, Stewart C. Myers-Horn Family Professor of Finance, is evaluating the impact of Small Business Administration programs and other economic stimulus measures on the potential recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. By partnering with small business lenders, Schoar is hoping to answer the big questions about how they will weather this financial storm.