Inquiry and Discovery

The MIT Sloan School of Management faculty is driven by discovery, by the pursuit of ideas that address the world’s toughest challenges, and by a passion for problem solving. As they invent the next generation of organizations and devise solutions to ensure that the work of the world creates a better future for all of us, they approach their work with an exceptional level of rigor and with a focus on relevance. This work is not destined to remain between the covers of books. This work is applied—practically and with an emphasis on tangible impact—both in the classroom and in organizations around the world.

Drawing on our history of groundbreaking research, MIT and MIT Sloan will continue to champion the importance of sharing such information with society. We invest in our faculty and their work because that work—in sustainability, the digital economy, healthcare, finance, and other fields—is shifting how we approach the world.

Inquiry and discovery are at the heart of MIT Sloan. These continuing pursuits define us and, in this rapidly changing world, will define the future.

Bennett W. Golub Center for Finance and Policy

While there has been a profound expansion and increase in complexity in the financial markets, the public sector has not consistently kept pace in its understanding or practice. Through the Golub Center for Finance & Policy (GCFP), MIT Sloan faculty members are conducting innovative, cross-disciplinary, nonpartisan research and leading educational initiatives that address the unique challenges facing governments in their roles as financial institutions and regulators of the financial system.

Led by Deborah Lucas, Andrew W. Lo, Robert Merton, Jonathan Parker, and Doug Criscitello, the GCFP is filling a knowledge gap between industry and regulators, bringing research and education to policymakers who regulate our nation’s complex financial systems and who allocate hundreds of billions of dollars of capital each year. The Golub Center’s three main research areas—Evaluation and Management of Government Financial Institutions; Regulation of Financial Markets and Institutions; and Measurement and Management of Risk—will provide policymakers with new approaches to their work, help governments manage risk, and promote financial stability in the United States and abroad.

The GCFP faculty is focused on real-world application. A primary goal of the GCFP is to provide greater access to the tools of modern financial analysis to current and future regulators, policymakers, and other public-sector stakeholders. To fulfill this mission, they create customized curricular materials, free online courseware, and executive education programs. The Golub Center is also helping to educate the next generation of sophisticated finance leaders, with action learning opportunities and courses for MIT Sloan students. Prepared with both the research and educational tools, the GCFP will help ensure stability through improved financial policy and practice for years to come.

Initiative on the Digital Economy

How will self-driving cars and other forms of artificial intelligence transform the way we live and work? How do new technologies and social media impact productivity, consumer demand, political mobilization, and public health? How can we re-skill people to make sure rapid digital transformation leaves no one behind? Digital technologies advance quickly, yet organizations and skills tend to move at a slower pace. In the coming decades, the divide between rapidly evolving technology and the slower pace of human development will grow wider as exponential improvements in artificial intelligence, robotics, networks, analytics, and digitization affect more and more of the economy and society.

The IDE conducts groundbreaking research—often in partnership with business, government, and other organizations—in four areas: productivity, employment, and inequality; new digital business models; big data and human AI; and social analytics and digital experimentation. No other initiative in the world is exploring the trends and impact of the digital economy with the same determination, depth, focus, and perspective as the IDE. Its charter is to understand, inform, and pragmatically solve real-world challenges based on facts and causality derived from rigorous academic research. This charter aims to enable corporations, governments, and policymakers to rely on the IDE for insights, best practices, and solutions.

Building on this research, the IDE convenes academic and industry-specific activities and events to bring thought leaders together to exchange ideas, learn, and create solutions with a direct impact on business and expose our students to multiple approaches to both the challenges and the opportunities presented by the digital economy. Committed to action, the IDE launched the Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) to award entrepreneurial organizations around the world that are using technology to reinvent the future of work and create shared prosperity in the digital age.

The digital economy poses tremendous challenges and opportunities that will impact us all. With a focus on real-world, real-time solutions and the foundational belief that technological transformation is creating new opportunities for people and businesses to thrive, The IDE represents MIT at its best, applying its research and insights to chart a course for a thriving society that is focused on economic inclusion.

Initiative for Health Systems Innovation

The MIT Sloan’s faculty are working to provide better access and lower cost solutions to managing global health through the MIT Sloan Initiative for Health Systems Innovation (HSI). HSI seeks to accelerate the creation of high-quality and cost-effective health systems through industry-based research and education. In order to achieve this mission, the group leverages existing faculty research and also launches new efforts through expanded partnerships with health industry leaders throughout New England and beyond.

Healthcare in the United States is facing significant systemic issues as costs increase, the population ages, and chronic illness rates grow. Seizing an opportunity to make the healthcare system more efficient, patient-oriented, and cost-effective—and aiming to fundamentally make people healthier—a group of MIT Sloan faculty members led by Joseph Doyle, Retsef Levi, and Anne Quaadgras have launched the Health Systems Initiative (HSI).

The Initiative is a center of intellectual leadership and innovation that provides bridges to and from the health industry, and enables collaborative work between industry stakeholders and academics. HSI educates students and industry leaders through degree programs like the Healthcare Certificate, which offers a hands-on curriculum to all students at MIT, custom Executive Education programs that are structured around close partnerships with industry, and regular seminars and conferences. With new models, management practices, data analysis, and technologies to improve complex health systems, HSI and its affiliated faculty and students are working to transform health management, clinical practices, and systems design around the world.

Sustainability Initiative

Imagine a world where farms and factories are run with zero waste—no waste in energy, no waste in material, no waste in human vitality. A world where our purchases and policies reward those type of businesses that create a better world. A world where the measure of good businesses is the number of good jobs they create and the lasting impact on the environment and communities. A world where the technologies and business models that create a better world get the capital they need to test, deploy, and scale. This is the vision of the future of the Sustainability Initiative. Led by Director Jason Jay and Co-Directors John Sterman and Roberto Rigobon, the Initiative’s ultimate mission is to deliver the best education, apply academic rigor to real-world problems, and empower leaders everywhere to take action, professionally and personally, so that humans and nature can thrive for generations to come.

For decades, MIT and MIT Sloan have been leading the way in the field of sustainability, fostering productive debate and disruptive innovation through systems modeling, entrepreneurship, and cross-sector collaboration. The formation of the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative was driven by faculty and researchers seeking to connect these ideas in a holistic approach. We engage and educate our community in new and meaningful ways through degree coursework, executive education, and innovative projects. We operate within a rich ecosystem comprising students, faculty, industry, government, NGOs, and hybrid organizations. These relationships allow us to broaden the scope of our impact, create market opportunities, and make meaningful progress towards creating a just and sustainable world.

Through rigorous research and novel approaches to existing data, the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative can share knowledge and tools to make the invisible visible, expand people’s mental models, support change in policy and decision-making on critical issues, and help real organizations to advance innovations for sustainability.

Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan (CAMS)

Widespread digitization can make the world a better place, but cyberattacks are occurring with increasing sophistication and frequency. While securing conventional information systems is clearly important, the continued bombardment of public reports of data breaches, malware, ransomware, and cyberspying indicates that current approaches are not fully effective.

Organizations are trying to address threats and plan for the future, but individual companies often lack the scope or incentives to do so, and governments typically focus on administrative and military infrastructures. It is time to take a broader approach, identify common cross-industry problems, and engage public and private organizations through research and education. That is the objective of Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan: to address the difficult organizational-based cybersecurity issues in order to help all organizations increase digital resiliency. Under the leadership of MIT Sloan Co-Directors Professor Stuart Madnick and Dr. Michael Siegel, and Executive Director Dr. Keri Pearlson, CAMS focuses on the organizational, managerial, governance, and strategic aspects of cybersecurity.

Computer-controlled facilities produce and deliver our electric power, oil and natural gas, food and water, financial services, telecommunications, and healthcare, among myriad other functions. Yet, these facilities are dangerously unprotected from cyber-attacks. And the attack surfaces are only going to increase as we venture further into the Internet of Things (IoT), such as autonomous cars. Increased digitization of almost all aspects for business and society has potential for vastly improving our lives, health, and energy efficiency and helping to make the world a better place, but one of the biggest threats to attaining these benefits is rapidly increasing cyber attacks.

A digital world safe from cyber threats is MIT Sloan’s ultimate goal and fundamentally reflects the school’s mission to develop leaders who improve the world and advance management practice. Educated leaders and secure, well-managed organizations are at the foundation of a future that is safe from cyber threats. The consortium works with faculty and researchers across MIT and MIT Sloan to generate knowledge and shares insights and tools across industry and government to advance this vision.

MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering

How do financial markets adapt to accommodate irrational human behavior? What can we do to identify and reduce systemic risks in the financial system before they turn into crises? Can new financial models help cure cancer, Alzheimer’s, and COVID-19? These are just a few of the questions being asked at the MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering (LFE), led by Andrew W. Lo, Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

The LFE is a research center focused on the quantitative analysis of financial markets using mathematical, statistical, and computational models and methods. Created as a partnership between academia and industry, the goal of the LFE is to support and promote academic advances in financial engineering and computational finance. The LFE also engages with students, industry professionals, regulators, policymakers, and other stakeholders to facilitate new application of these financial technologies in practical settings.

LFE researchers draw on a diverse set of disciplines—finance, accounting, biology, cognitive neuroscience, computer science, and engineering—to tackle complex problems. By applying scientific principles, novel data analytics, and financial engineering expertise, faculty are developing new insights into longstanding research challenges in asset allocation, investor behavior, risk management, and regulatory policy, thereby deepening their understanding of financial market dynamics. These insights have a number of practical implications, including the creation of new options for financing biomedical research, drug development, and healthcare loans for expensive therapies; new methods of sharing aggregate risk statistics with regulators while maintaining privacy through cryptography; and new ways to help investors maintain a long-term perspective in the face of short-term market dislocations.

The LFE provides the platform by which MIT Sloan faculty members can tackle these complex financial issues and help translate new research ideas into practical proposals for dealing with some of the most challenging issues of our time.