Course Overview

Course Meeting Times

Meeting times varied. In addition to working independently, students met with the instructor individually and in groups to discuss the progress of their projects.


No prerequisites. Permission of the instructor is required for enrollment. This course was limited to Sloan Fellows MBA students.

About the Course

In the summer of 2017, Dr. Anjali Sastry met the incoming Fellows and decided to launch a novel way to work with them in a co-designed and flexible lab format. Sloan Fellows arrive with rich experience and a drive to make the most of their year at MIT. The Sloan Fellows program is the oldest 12-month, full-time MBA / MS program for mid-career professionals. Candidates are required to have at least 10 years of full-time work experience, demonstrate motivation and the potential to lead, push boundaries, tackle challenges, and embrace a global perspective.

With so much on offer across the campus and at Sloan, Dr. Sastry wanted to create an independent study course that would help these mid-career students to develop even further. In an effort to learn by doing, she said yes to every student who asked to work with her—and reached out to others who might be interested. Dr. Sastry worked closely with the students in conversations and collaborations that touched on data analytics, systems thinking, design, behavioral insights, AI, industry analysis, and business models.

Student Projects

Each custom project was driven by the student’s own passion, exploring topics from specific applications of technology to complex challenges that affect communities and the physical environment. This flipped the usual set-up of action learning project classes by collaboratively developing the projects with each student or team. It also revealed how strongly driven the students are—their savviness in connecting classes, their own experience, new opportunities, and their access to the MIT ecosystem with the big questions that motivate them.

Visit the projects section for more information and the following project examples that include in-depth video interviews with Dr. Sastry’s following three students:

  • Using Technology to Improve Small Farming in Brazil: Aline Pezente, SFMBA ‘18
  • Innovations Across the Agriculture Value Chain—An Opportunity for Entrepreneurs: Doreen Mashu, SFMBA ‘18
  • Public Tech Innovation with Real-world Implementation: Idoia Ortiz De Artinano Goni, SFMBA ‘18

Requirements and Grading

Students refined their ideas with input from faculty and stakeholders, created a work plan, participated in individual and group meetings, research and field work, and documented these efforts. The course was graded using the graduate (P/D/F) option.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2017
Learning Resource Types
Other Video
Projects with Examples
Instructor Insights