15.S07 | Spring 2013 | Graduate

GlobalHealth Lab


Course Expectations

This course is open to graduate students only. Admission is by application and interview in the preceding November. To learn more about the application process and the process of matching students to projects, refer to Dr. Sastry’s insights regarding Pre-course Activities.

In the World, For the World

Each of us represents Sloan and MIT, not only in person when we travel but also in emails and phone calls. Bear in mind that all aspects of our conduct set our reputation and enable—or preclude—future students from enjoying similar opportunities. Some teams will meet and work with people who have little experience of working with MBA students, as traditionally healthcare delivery has had few management professionals working to address front-line challenges. This is an opportunity to serve as an ambassador in many respects!


We designed assignments to support your work and maximize learning, so please treat both host work and course work with utmost professionalism. Team self-management is key: it is your team’s responsibility to manage all aspects of the project. To help support that process, we’ve designed quick weekly assignments and class sessions that enable your project and build insights and skills for your future career.

It goes without saying, of course, but in interacting with hosts, you may not request financial or in-kind contributions to the project or upgrades to your travel or lodging. Such discussions are the purview of the course team, so please come to us with any concerns.

We also expect you to build your professional networks and leverage our connections, which could help not only your project and learning but also your professional career. It is important to manage these new connections, share new contacts by making introductions, and close the loop to thank everyone you ask for help.

Team Dynamics

Working in a team of students can be a fabulous part of the course experience, but sometimes also create challenges. Please work with each other, with the course team, and with MIT resources to address internal difficulties so as to prevent problems from limiting your learning experience.

Travel is Earned, Not Guaranteed

Please note that no student has an automatic right to travel in March. The on-site work must be earned through diligent and appropriate preparation. As in past years, some teams may in fact not travel.

Make the Most of the Course Team

We are here to help. If you need more content on any issue, talk with us and we will help you get what you need. We have great resources and contacts to share. Each team works with a specific faculty member as advisor to the team on substantive and process issues. Your team will also be supported by our TA. Your team meets with its mentor periodically, usually biweekly, to monitor progress. Meetings may be scheduled during designated class time or outside class. We plan mentor meetings to support both learning and execution in your project. In some sessions you may draw upon worksheets and checklists. To learn more about the specific responsibilities of the members forming the course team, refer to Course Team Roles.


Attendance at and preparation for every class is expected. Please talk to us if you need to miss a class, as we may be able to help you avoid being absent. Email the TA at least two days in advance to allow you to adapt if we cannot excuse you and us to change plans if we must. We are willing to consider reasonable explanations in advance for why you can’t attend class, but each unexcused absence reduces your grade. Missing three classes, sessions, or group meetings during class hours with faculty, TA, or mentors may result in your failing the course.

For every absence, including excused ones, you are required to:

  • First, complete all readings and preparation for the class, then
  • Talk to a classmate who did attend class, getting detailed notes and a debriefing from them by the end of the next day; and
  • By the following Sunday evening, complete a 300-word blog entry linked to class themes for the session you missed. You may write a new post or comment on an existing one on our site. Your post should demonstrate what you have learned in connection with the content. You may include reference to a news story, site, or class reading, but the 300 words must be your own content. Feel free to email your comment to our TA if you would like your posting to be anonymous.

Class Preparation

Make sure you are prepared for each class, having read assigned readings and thought about how they relate to the class content and your own project. As you know, case preparation requires going beyond simply reading the assigned material—you’ll need to ponder the case and prepare your thoughts to enable the best class session possible.

Your Expenses

As you work on your project, your team may discover you need access to copyrighted or protected material, which in some cases will entail your purchasing online access to an item or two. Please plan for limited expenses of this type, along with poster production costs. Your travel-related costs include visas, ground transport, medical costs, meals, phone and internet access, and other incidental expenses. Airfare and lodging expenses are covered by us, with contributions from hosts as feasible, and we work hard to raise the required funds.


To reflect the effort entailed in the project and course requirements, this course is a substantial 12-unit class that also delivers 2 SIP credits. We recognize that you devote spring break and SIP week to onsite work; along with our hosts, we value this contribution to our partner healthcare enterprises. Even before class starts, you invested in preparation and planning. As the course kicks off, you need sufficient content, interactions, and class sessions to ensure that your project is the best learning experience it can be. Our course design reflects all these considerations. We have 16 class sessions, with a declining load of class-specific preparation. There are also five lunch sessions and an average of five mentor meetings. The first weeks are busy, as neither logistics nor course content can be put off. In April you have more flexibility with your time, with the course ending some two weeks before others. Yet the value of your experience will come from being fully engaged in our April activities, so plan an appropriate allocation of your time to these final steps.

As you plan all three components of your host deliverables, your mentor will work with you to help ensure that the scope of work is manageable. If you have concerns about scope and workload of the project itself, please talk to your mentor first, before pushing back with your host.

Some material may be distributed in hard copy only. Please respect all copyrights and pay for the required materials. Do not share materials you are asked not to. We do not support your signing non-disclosure agreements but ask you to immediately contact the course team if your host requires one; we will put you in touch with MIT Sloan’s legal affairs staff, who will develop an agreement on your behalf. Whether or not you have a legal agreement, in all projects we ask you to treat all information you gather with respect and sensitivity, maintaining careful control of all paper and electronic materials. Whenever you share information please keep in mind the effect it may have on others. When you take pictures, video, or sound recordings, and when you obtain electronic or physical materials, please ask for permission. This is particularly important in healthcare settings where the privacy of patients and minors is paramount.

Interim Research Briefing, Host Deliverables, and Sloan Portfolio

All assignments have been redesigned for this semester’s offering of the course; most have been shortened and streamlined. But it can be more difficult to write a short briefing than a long one! Make sure to plan the time to edit, critique, and improve your work within the team well in advance of due dates. Crop your photos, edit your videos, and polish your writing, drawing on teammates and classmates for feedback as you go, so that you can strive for the highest standards in all you do. Thanks to the excellent quality of student work, many people and organizations have benefited from materials we have shared or posted. More information and assignment templates will be shared as we go.


We designed this class to embody the MIT Sloan mission to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. We uphold the classroom values that enable us to deliver on this mission. Students are expected to adhere to the standard set of MIT Sloan’s classroom values.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2013
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Projects with Examples
Instructor Insights