Learning can lead to more constructive competition: MIT seeks to enhance relationships with Chinese business school faculty – Alan White

IFF Conference Dean’s Panel, Left to Right: He Gao, Deputy Dean, Yunnan; Guoqing Chen, EMC Chair Professor and Former Executive Associate Dean, Tsinghua; Jun Lu, Dean, Lingnan; Jacob Cohen, Senior Associate Dean, MIT Sloan; Xiongwen Lu, Dean, Fudan; Stuart Krusell, Senior Director, MIT Sloan Global Programs.

Groundbreaking Conference Recently Held in Beijing

As new tariffs take hold and a cooling breeze settles over U.S.-China relations, MIT is seeking to build a better and stronger relationship with their counterparts at Chinese business schools by growing our unique and innovative program, the MIT/China Management Education Program—part of the International Fellows Faculty.

On November 12, 2018, Tsinghua University hosted the International Faculty Fellows (IFF) Conference in Beijing for the first time in the program’s history. The conference brought fellows from Global Programs’ partner schools together with industry leaders, alumni, and faculty to discuss the future of Chinese management education, as well as, the latest trends in curriculum development, publishing, and research.

MIT/Sloan did not create this program as a “teach the teachers” program, but a guiding principle of the IFF Program is that the Chinese Faculty would come to MIT as colleagues; they would learn from us, and we would learn from them.

Through the IFF Program, more than 400 faculty from around the world have spent a semester at MIT Sloan.   “In this collaboration, we felt that it was important to share knowledge,” said former Dean Lester Thurow who was an early proponent of the program.  “We never said this is what you should do.   We’ve always said, this is how we do it here at MIT, take that knowledge and apply it in your own way to your own challenges.   And China has done just that.”

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GO-Lab Puerto Rico – Stuart Krusell

Director of the MIT Sloan Office of International Programs Stuart Krusell

Director of the MIT Sloan Office of International Programs Stuart Krusell

It has been one year since Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc in Puerto Rico, with 155 mph winds devastating the power infrastructure, shutting down roads, and, damaging an already fragile economy with total losses estimated at $91B.  More tragically, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives.  Recovery continues, but it is, by no means, complete.

Six months after the storm slogged across the island, I had the opportunity to spend a week there, traveling with a group of eleven MIT Sloan EMBA students and award-winning filmmaker Bill Carter.  They were there as part of their GO-Lab class, working on two projects addressing the value and viability of integrating reliable microgrid systems to improve resiliency and reliability in the delivery of power for the Puerto Rican people and economy.  One team focused on the architecture, the other on regulation.  Both are critical to finding a sustainable solution.  Their conclusions included:

• microgrids are viable, but an unbundling of the market needs to occur

• operators must prepare to manage the inevitability of grid defection

• support is needed for providers to pilot and coordinate on microgrids

• development of a full-functioning energy system with robust deployment of microgrids requires a fully modernized grid

• an independent and empowered energy regulator is essential to ensure steady and durable energy policy and attract adequate levels of private investment

• stakeholders must break out of their silos, minimize partisan divides, and work collaboratively to reach consensus to advance their (unrecognized) shared interests in stable, long-range policies

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Action learning in Latin America – Stuart Krusell

Director of the MIT Sloan Office of International Programs Stuart Krusell

Director of the MIT Sloan Office of International Programs Stuart Krusell

When a business in Latin America forms a partnership with one of MIT Sloan’s Action Learning programs, both the company and the students in the program emerge as winners.

A small team of students is assigned to work with the company. Most of the participants are second-year MBA students, who already had considerable work experience before starting their graduate studies. For the previous year or longer, the students have been gaining core management knowledge and skills in Sloan classrooms.

The company typically wants help considering the merits of a business initiative, such as entering a new market or launching a product. Many of the initiatives have an important technology component.

The Global Entrepreneurship Lab or G-Lab is the Sloan School’s largest Action Learning program, and it has a strong presence in Latin America. G-Lab participants spend three months studying the company remotely from MIT, learning about the business and its industry. Then, for three weeks, the students go to the company’s site, meeting with top executives and getting an up-close look at the operation. At the conclusion of the project, the team presents its recommendations.

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The economic future of China-Latin America relations — Stuart Krusell

Director of MIT Sloan's Office of International Programs Stuart Krusell

Director of MIT Sloan’s Office of International Programs Stuart Krusell

What do the economies of Latin America and China have in common? They are both extremely interdependent on the other for growth.

China purchases a significant percentage of raw materials from Latin America, which are used in the manufacturing of goods. Many of those goods are then sold back to Latin America. This cycle has increased over the last decade, as China’s trade with the region has surged more than 20-fold since 2000. So while they are competitors, they also are trade partners. It’s a slice of globalization that is representative of the larger world.

China and Latin America’s relationship becomes even more intriguing when you consider the geo-political environments of both regions. What is the impact of Brazil’s elections on its trade partnership? Populist rhetoric to keep jobs local and not to be so dependent on China is appealing to many, but what happens to the region’s economy if trade with China decreases? Further, how do the corruption investigations in China impact trade? If China’s GDP is affected, it could mean the country is buying fewer natural resources from Latin America.

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Palestine 3.0

In his speech outlining his Administration’s post-Arab spring policy, President Obama included several references to non-violent protest, among them “the dignity of Rosa Parks as she sat courageously in her seat.”

The President also spoke of the need to “build on our efforts to broaden our engagement beyond elites, so that we reach the people who will shape the future -– particularly young people. “

The question is, are his team and others around the world prepared for those two goals coming together in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

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