Multinational student teams in China
The China Lab (C-Lab) presents an opportunity for hands-on entrepreneurial experience combined with a unique working collaboration between MIT Sloan MBA students and Chinese international MBA (IMBA) students. Pairs of MIT Sloan students and their Chinese peers comprise 20 four-person teams to consult on projects for Chinese partner companies.
The China Lab Process
During the three months spent working on their China Lab projects, the multinational teams of students may research and analyze issues as varied as market entry, commercialization, globalization, and financing — whatever issue(s) represent the most pressing needs for their host companies. Midway through the project, each MIT Sloan MBA team is hosted on-site at the firm's headquarters for two weeks. At the end of April, the IMBAs come to MIT Sloan as the project concludes, with the goal of delivering solutions to host companies that make a real impact. Student teams present their findings to the MIT community during the China Lab poster day session at the end of April.
China Lab Opportunities
The China Lab builds on the G-Lab model by integrating for-credit classroom-based education, faculty mentoring, and real multinational business experience. Students learn to work as part of a long-distance virtual team, as well as side-by-side, gaining invaluable skills as they navigate the challenges of cultural barriers and language differences. The China Lab will bring together approximately 80 students and 20 companies throughout the greater Beijing, Guangzhou, Kunming, Xi’an, and Shanghai regions in a multicultural entrepreneurial experience that breaks through the confines of the traditional classroom.
“The assistant to the CEO was like our host mom while we were there. She arranged our housing for us, she took us out to her friend’s game farm, and we got driven around in 4x4s. She was just wonderful to meet, and we developed a personal as well as professional relationship with her.”
“I love being in a place that is such a nexus of people and ideas — people coming to learn something new and to define themselves. Being a part of that process is a real honor and a real gift.”
“At MIT Sloan you have a lot of opportunities to explore entrepreneurship. Especially in a place like Kampala where you have a lot of development, entrepreneurship can be very exciting.”
“The conditions in the neighborhoods we were visiting were different than what we realized before getting there. Beyond that, what was surprising was that there weren’t surprises!”
“The concept behind enterprise architecture is that you have all these machines, you have all these business processes, you have all these people doing things, how do you make sure they all come together and achieve business objectives that make you more competitive.”
“One of the reasons I came to Sloan was because I wanted to be at a top MBA institution worldwide. But I also wanted access to working with the latest innovations and the highest technology that was coming out of the MIT labs.”
"The relationships that we forged helped us to turn out a better project. We were able to test our hypotheses with the people that we spoke with every single day. And really, I think the friendships that you develop really propel the work that you’re doing."
“It was really rewarding that they wanted to know what we thought. We left there being fairly certain that they will do some of the things that we suggested.”
“We’re very interdisciplinary. Among the faculty in the group are an economist, a political scientist, a sociologist, and an industrial relations specialist. We’ve always made a big effort to be open to a variety of perspectives, but also to go beyond being open to them, to want to bring them in, because it makes for a richer environment.”
“I knew about American business, but not enough about what’s really become a global economy. … You can read about it all you want, but there’s no substitute for being there and seeing the context and seeing how completely different these [other countries] are.”
“I came to Sloan because of its high rankings within the sustainability community, specifically the professors. The S-Lab class itself is part of what drew me to Sloan. And the reason I came to business school was to learn the business speak that really is what connects with people."
“Because of the diversity of our backgrounds, when we hit the ground in Tanzania it almost was a natural play where different people assume different roles.”
“We are very much an action-learning environment. The way to learn leadership is not only through reading cases, not only through learning theory — in fact we don’t want people to regurgitate the theory. We want people to take theory and to live it, use it.”
“These companies are really excited to work with MIT students.They reach out to the community to set up these projects and are great to work with. They give us access to all their resources and are very open to us.”
“In one class I teach, I introduce a new economic concept each class in the context of a different country. In almost every case, we have one or more students in class who come from or have worked in these countries.”