MIT Sloan School of Management Podcast
Summary: Look closely and you'll find MIT Sloan is more than one of the world's top business schools. It's a diverse and vibrant community where every person is valued and supported. It's a meritocracy, where ideas supercede status and innovation is organic. It's a rich melding of cultures, perspectives, and ideas. It's a global experience and education, in which students can participate in a classroom discussion on India one month and meet with Indian government and business leaders the next month. It's a place of action and pragmatism, where faculty strive to solve the world's problems. It's a place where industry leaders, like Jack Welch and Carly Fiorina, come to connect with the brightest minds of the next generation. It's a place where the classroom is but one part of the experience -- where students run conferences, found clubs, travel the world, challenge themselves and each other, and build personal and professional relationships for life. Look closely. You'll see what MIT Sloan is really like. Learn more at http://mitsloan.mit.edu.
In Colombia, says Ramy Hakim, MBA ‘10, “everyone tries to be your friend. Everyone is very genuine.” This value on interpersonal relationships was a major takeaway for Hakim and his teammates when they spent time this spring working with Intergrupo, a software company based in Medellin, Colombia. The team was charged with creating a human resource strategy, but the camaraderie they found within the company may be the real success story. Says Hakim, “The friendships you develop in the business place really propel the work you do.” Listen to the podcast.
For Irina Kogan, Emmy Linder, and Anne Reilly, all MBA ’10, flexibility was key when selecting a G-Lab project to work on, and Uganda’s Kampala Family Clinic provided plenty of it. The tradeoff, however, was some extra work to better define both the scope and the deliverables for the project. The for-profit clinic wanted to expand, but was unsure which way to go. One very important lesson that the team imparted to its client: It is important to understand why the organization has been successful in the past before deciding which direction to grow for the future. Listen to the podcast.
MIT Engineering PhD candidate Rouzbeh Shahsavari and MIT Sloan's own Natanel Barookhian, MBA '10, were recently awarded first prize in the 20th annual MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. Their startup, C-Crete Technology, has created a nanoengineered concrete that reduces CO2 emissions and is stronger than any other cement currently on the market. Shahsavari and Barookhian talk about the genesis of their idea, as well as where they go from here.
Bangkok-based Nam Mee Books has made a name for itself as Thailand’s leading publisher of comics and children’s books, including Harry Potter, but it now faces the challenge of expanding into a broader market. The company’s openness to new ideas and willingness to follow whatever path the G-Lab team they worked with recommended meant more pressure on the team, but also a greater sense of ownership over the company’s future for the team members. Lia Cavalcante and Jeremy Bratt talk about the kind of research was required for such an undertaking and the willingness of their hosts to listen.
In Jakarta, Indonesia, street carts are a major source of food for children. In their efforts to combat childhood malnutrition, the Mercy Corps organization is trying to insure that such street carts offer healthy options for their young customers. With a well-run pilot program in place, Mercy Corps brought an MIT Sloan G-Lab team to the table to learn how to maximize their efforts and expand their business. The team spent several weeks in Jakarta, gaining valuable insights about the culture of the city and the conditions of the neighborhoods in which the food carts were operating. In the end, the team was able to provide Mercy Corp with the tools necessary to grow their business and advance their mission.
The Institute for Work and Employment Research (IWER) at MIT Sloan studies issues that are of importance to a great many people—particularly these days. For over 70 years, IWER has explored work and employment issues in both the public and private sectors, and from the perspective of individuals and governments. Professors Tom Kochan and Paul Osterman sat down to explain the myriad areas of IWER’s expertise—from teaching HR management, negotiations, entrepreneurship, and leadership to their long tradition of focusing on labor and employment policy. Through its research and teaching, IWER hopes to help individuals, businesses, and policy makers adapt to the changing nature of work.
Witnessing multiple childbirths is not typically part of the business school curriculum. It was, however, an unexpectedly wonderful bonus for the G-Lab students working with South Africa’s Warmbath Hospital maternity ward. On site to collect information for the creation of an improved staffing model, the G-Lab team were also privileged to witness the efforts of the dedicated, if under-resourced staff, including the singing of a morning prayer for new mothers and their infants. Team members Kelsey McCarty and Jean-Nicolas Gagnon and talk about the nurses’ emotional approach to care as well as learning that the answers the team sought could be found only by learning to ask the right questions.
The mission of the MIT Leadership Center is to develop leaders who make a difference in the world. But the center is also committed to a great deal more. As the Center's Faculty Director Deborah Ancona explains, it's critical to the center to make contributions in how the world thinks about leadership. Through research, education, and practice, the center generates and tests ideas on leadership, and then sends them out into the world. One such idea, The Distributed Leadership Model, is a response to the changing nature of business and the chaotic nature of the world, and it's a model that's taking hold.
MIT Sloan Teaching Innovation Resources (MSTIR) marks its first anniversary with the debut of several new educational offerings, including the Salt Seller management flight simulator. These engaging simulations are specifically designed to give students an opportunity to apply what they've learned in the classroom to real-world management scenarios. In this new podcast, Professor John Sterman, creator of the Salt Seller and other simulations, and MSTIR program manager Cate Reavis, discuss the appeal of management simulations and give a preview of other MSTIR teaching materials.
It may have been around for 35 years, but the central question facing MIT Sloan's Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) hasn't changed: How can companies get value from IT? As CISR's Director Jeanne Ross explains, the answer to this question is not just about technology. Taking a more holistic view of business, the center delves into issues of leadership, architecture, talent development, and relationship building, among others. In the end, CISR hopes to bring people and machines together to make businesses more competitive.
MIT Sloan's inaugural India Lab saw teams of students addressing specific challenges across a variety of industries across India. Here Ted Chan, MBA '09, talks about working with prominent industrialist and MIT alumnus Vinay Rai, MIT class of 1970, whose goal is to combat perceived voids in India's educational system by setting up a series of rural business schools. While on the ground in India, Ted and the team benefited from their firsthand knowledge of an underdeveloped infrastructure and local cultural norms. In the end, the team produced educational and business models for the would-be b-schools, schools which they hope will produce employable workers for India's current economy.
MIT Sloan PhD student Jason Jay recently joined the ranks of Switzer Fellows, a prestigious group focused on environmental research and leadership. Long dedicated to environmental scholarship, Jay specializes in the organizational dimensions of sustainability (i.e., how companies manage their environmental performance and why companies undertake sustainability issues). Here, Jay talks about what it means to be a Switzer Fellow, the trends in sustainability that have him most hopeful, and what he wants to achieve with his doctorate.
It's been predicted that within 16 years, Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta could sink up to 15 feet, leading to catastrophic flooding of the area. This devastating possibility is a direct result of the lack of clean drinking water available from the city's many rivers, which has caused area residents to pump excessive amounts of ground water, leading to massive drops in the land levels. In an effort to mitigate damage and prevent disaster, work is being done to clean up Jakarta's water supply and restore the habitat. A Sustainability Lab team from MIT Sloan was among those who traveled to Jakarta to provide insights on watershed management and insuring clean water. Team member Ian Lavery, MBA '10, talks about the challenge of merging environmental management and economic priorities, and the value of system dynamics.
Katie Barrett and her fellow MBA 2010 teammates spent four months working with Bangalore-based Adea, an IT solutions company, toward possible expansion into the Boston market. Two weeks on the ground in Bangalore gave the team insight into the impact a country and a culture can have on a business, and gave them the information they needed to come down in favor of expansion.
The latest installment in MIT Sloan's G-Lab podcast series illustrates the critical importance of team being on the scene and in the thick of things before it can add maximum value to a project. Prior to leaving for Tanzania, the five-person student team was presented with what seemed on the surface a health care initiative for those afflicted with AIDS. Once one the ground in Africa, however, they were confronted with some sobering realities and a diverse slew of issues. Through meeting with AIDS patients and their caregivers and working with the MAdeA organization to properly assess its goals, the team realized that what was truly needed was economic empowerment for the patients and a new strategic direction for MAdeA. Ted Chan, MBA '09, and Krishna Venugopalan, SF' 09, discuss the importance of not jumping to conclusions, understanding the cultural motivation for decisions, and orders of magnitude.