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Ideas Made to Matter


MIT Sloan students to study alphanomics, Web3, and happiness


Like organizational leaders themselves, business school course offerings need a constant refresh to keep up with turbulent times.

Which is why, in the year of worker empowerment and “quiet quitting,” MIT Sloan students have an opportunity to study happiness alongside artificial intelligence, venture creation, and the metaverse.

Here are details on “Pursuing Happiness and a Meaningful Life” and five other new courses MIT Sloan faculty are teaching this academic year — and why those topics matter to business leaders.

Alphanomics: A New Approach to Security Analysis

Noisy markets are both a challenge and opportunity for investors, and markets have arguably never been noisier than they have in this era of meme stocks and crypto swings

Professor of accounting and finance Eric So aims to help students cut through that noise with alphanomics — the practice of using informational arbitrage to understand asset mispricing relative to fundamental value and, hopefully, profit from that gap.

The course explores the practice of active investing, the relation between investor sentiment and market pricing dynamics, and the role of retail investors in the markets.

The course, which So said is designed to be both practical and nontechnical, also covers market efficiency, value investing techniques, fraud detection, and quantitative stock selection. 

Artificial Intelligence for Business

Artificial intelligence is pervasive in business, but exactly how much do most people need to know about how it works?

This new course isn’t about the mechanics behind AI systems, according to MIT Sloan assistant professor 

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“Most of our students won’t be in roles where they’re directly building systems. Instead, they’ll be making decisions and evaluating products in environments where AI is one of many parts,” he said. “This requires a different set of skills and information, in the same way that building an engine and driving a car are two very different tasks. The goal of this class is to teach students to drive the car.”

Raghavan’s course will emphasize the practical, social, and ethical challenges of putting AI systems into the world.

One major theme is understanding the context in which an AI system is deployed, which contributes to whether the system succeeds, Raghavan said.

“Students will learn enough about AI to understand when it will work well, what its limitations are, and how to get the most out of it in commercial settings," Raghavan said.

Creative Industries: Media, Entertainment, and the Arts

Two themes of MIT senior lecturernew course are the impact of digital technologies on industries like music, television, video games, and sports, and how audience behavior and business models are changing.

Shields, who previously served as the director of social media and marketing at ESPN, will address not just the creative sides of media, entertainment, and arts, but also the business half.

“On the creative side, students will learn about the content development process and how managers can enable talent to collaborate and produce breakthrough creative concepts,” according to the course description. “On the business side, students will learn strategies to distribute content and consider decisions on media platforms, monetization, audience engagement, and measurement.”

Pursuing Happiness and a Meaningful Life

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2022 Report, only 21% of employees feel engaged at work, just a third of employees said they are thriving in their overall wellbeing, and 19% said they were “miserable.”

A new course from MIT Sloan senior lecturerwill teach students about the various factors that impact their happiness, and how to “enhance their own happiness by changing their behaviors.”

In “Pursuing Happiness and a Meaningful Life,” Pozen and co-instructoran entrepreneur in residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, will present research findings on what does and does not produce happiness, as well as conduct self-assessment surveys, lead introspective weekly exercises, and host guest speakers.

Venture Creation Tactics

Good ideas are easy to come by — it’s building a successful business plan around those ideas where things get tricky. In his course “Venture Creation Tactics,”uses his firsthand experience as a serial entrepreneur to help solo founders and startup teams connect the dots from framework and first principles to executing a fundraising plan. Cheek is the executive director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and co-founder of Oceanworks.

The lab-style class promotes rapid experimentation and covers topics including user experience design, recruiting, and customer profile and persona development.

According to an earlier interview, Cheek said his goal is to ensure “that we have individuals who are better equipped with not just the mindset of entrepreneurship, but also the skill set of entrepreneurship, so that if one [business] doesn’t work out, they’ve got the skills to go and start another company.”

Web3 and Strategy: Blockchain, Metaverse, and NFT Essentials

What will Web3 and the metaverse mean for businesses? MIT Sloan professor looks at how the next iteration of the internet will affect business strategy, organizations, entrepreneurship, and investing.

Aral, the director the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, will lead the course with lectures and guest speakers. Topics include blockchain, crypto assets, decentralized currency, NFTs, decentralized finance and organizations, and smart contracts. Students will explore how these technologies can impact the digital economy and beyond.

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For more info Tracy Mayor Senior Associate Director, Editorial (617) 253-0065