"After ten amazing days on the ground and six days working with our G-Lab client, I’m happy to report that our team is having the experience of a lifetime."
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.
“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.”
“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!”
“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.”
“Our mission, along with the mission of MIT Sloan, is to both develop leaders who make a difference in the world, and also to make a contribution to thinking about the topic of leadership.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
"After we gave our recommendations, the great part was that the very next day the CEO was in the boardroom implementing them with his top vice presidents."
“For 35 years, we’ve been studying how companies get value from information. … We try to help organizations take a more holistic view of what they are trying to do.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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."
“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.”
“The world has never needed MIT as much as it does now.”