Course Goals

Entrepreneurship in the 21st century is evolving. Because of global changes in technology, communications, and capital markets, today's innovative startups are building successful companies in countries around the globe, in many instances with investors, vendors, customers, and employees located thousands of miles away. The challenges these leading-edge companies face, particularly in emerging markets, are some of the most sophisticated issues both for businesses and governments alike. These challenges are the focus of G-Lab.

G-Lab has four specific goals:

  1. To familiarize students with the issues and challenges facing global entrepreneurs.
  2. To provide students with an intensive internship experience working in a "global" startup.
  3. To familiarize students with the power of informal networks and the importance of leveraging MIT-related and other networks while working globally. In addition to helping you deliver a better product to your host companies, learning to use a rich set of informal networks effectively is a powerful personal resource as well.
  4. To offer high-quality advice for global companies. We would like MIT Sloan to become the first place that global startups look for advice and help. This is an important goal for you, MIT, and all future generations of MIT students.

Course Design and Expectations

G-Lab is both a course and a collaboration: a partnership between MIT Sloan and entrepreneurial companies facing real challenges throughout the world. MIT's and Sloan's reputations are very much at stake here. Future students will only get this kind of opportunity if G-Lab continues to provide value to everyone involved.

Please note that faculty and other advisors to the course have devoted considerable time and resources in finding appropriate projects. This includes assessing whether there is a good fit between what you can contribute and what the entrepreneurs need. As a result, both sides have invested heavily in this relationship.

Please regard everything we ask you to do as a work assignment (i.e., as if from an employer) rather than as a course requirement. Everything in this course is designed to help you work effectively with your projects. There is no make-work or irrelevant material; all of the requirements have been designed solely to help you and your team to be effective. If you need more content on any issue, talk with us and we will make sure you get what you need, as quickly and easily as possible. Moreover, if there is anything that you do not understand about the course structure and requirements, please speak with the faculty.

Course Requirements

The requirements for the course and the contribution of each towards the final grade are as follows:

Two case write-ups (10% each) Individual 20% The night before the case is discussed in class
Class participation (based on in-class contributions and feedback from your host company) Individual 25% Ongoing, throughout the course
Project workplan Team 15%

Workplan due to faculty by Ses #12

Sign-off from your host company by Ses #14

Remote (MIT-based) internship and interim research report Team 20% Report due to faculty by Ses #20 and to your host company by Ses #24
On-site internship, final research report, and poster Team 20%

Presentation to your host company at the end of the on-site internship

Report due to faculty by one week following end of internship

Poster due 10 days following end of internship

These course requirements are described in more detail in the assignments section.

Logistics and Teamwork

G-Lab will entail extensive teamwork. You need to build a team with diverse and complementary skills. This is the key to success in your internship. Think carefully about the people you want to work with (and even temporarily live with) and how you will allocate responsibilities within your team. We will help you as much as possible, but ultimately team selection and operation is your responsibility. This activity is not graded directly, but it will have a major effect on your performance throughout the course.

  1. Team Formation process:
    • To facilitate team building, please register and post your resumes no later than Ses #3. We need your resumes in order to send them to your host company after the match, and you may need them as you form your team.
    • Teams should be formed of students in the same section. This is to ensure that every team can meet together for 90 minutes twice a week, without anyone missing.
    • On the day of Ses #5, one week before bid forms are due, there will be an in-class mixer to give you an opportunity to find or complete your team.
    • Please note that most of the questionnaires include a section asking for required or requested skill sets or background, including language. As you review questionnaires, bear in mind the requirements that the host companies have laid out. They will carry great weight in the match process.
  2. Bidding and Match process:
    • The postings consist of questionnaires that have been prepared and submitted by the host companies. They contain substantial background information on the projects and the proposed focus for a G-Lab team. Each project is under the supervision of one of the G-Lab faculty; there may also be additional project advisors. Each project will also report directly to one TA.
    • If you have questions regarding the proposed project, please request that the appropriate faculty or TA contact the host company. You should not contact any company until matching is complete.
    • After a thorough review of all projects, your team should begin ranking its preferred projects. As noted above, where host companies have laid out skill requirements or requests, faculty will give great weight to those requests.
    • On your hard-copy bidding form, your team will rank 3 projects in order of preference. You will also submit copies of your resumes, as well as a short persuasive statement summarizing the strengths and merit of your bid requests.
    • The match process is confidential, and conducted by the faculty. Their decisions are final. Historically, a high percentage of teams are matched with their first or second choice.
    • Dates: Bid forms are available one day before Ses #4. Forms must be submitted in hard copy on the day of Ses #7. Results will be announced and emailed on the day of Ses #8.
  3. Post-Match process (teamwork during the fall):
    • After the match process is complete, your team will be notified which host company you have been matched with. Your team should send its acceptance of your project immediately by return email. We will then forward your resumes to the host company, and give them the same opportunity to accept your team. As soon as we notify you that your host company has accepted your team, you should set up your initial call and commence work with them.
    • Each team will work with a specific faculty member as an advisor to the team on both substantive and procedural issues. Your team will also be supported by one of the TAs. Your team will meet with its advisor periodically over the fall, usually biweekly, to measure and monitor progress. Meetings may be scheduled during designated class time or outside of class.
    • While your advisors will remain available to you, your team will own its relationship with the host company, and will be responsible for negotiating and managing all aspects of the work plan and the project, during the fall and IAP.
    • Please note that no team has an automatic right to travel to the internship in January. The internship must be earned through diligent and appropriate presentation. A "go/no go" decision will be made by faculty in December. As in past years, some teams may in fact not travel.