Stories. Reflections. Entrepreneurial Thoughts.

Making the Right Decision: International Student Edition

Today’s post is brought to you by Launch Alum, Tak-Ho Lee.


Summer programs are important. They teach you valuable skills you can’t exactly learn in school; they create long-lasting relationships; they introduce you to people all around the world with different skill sets and perspectives. Knowing these potential benefits of summer programs, I set out to make my last high school summer worthwhile. I knew I wanted to attend a business (especially an entrepreneurship)-focused program with a structured curriculum, because the closest class to business I have in school was AP Economics. Thus, armed with recommendations from upperclassmen and counselors, I chose to apply to MIT Launch along with many other summer business programs.

Launch’s application was like none other; it didn’t consist of the boring, old “Describe yourself in 200 words” or “Why do you want to attend this program?” Instead, the application also asked us to come up with three words that describe us, to rate ourselves from 1-10 regarding specific skills (like leadership), with an interview and even a 90 second video. I found myself introducing “Tak-Ho Lee” more thoroughly than I’ve ever done before. I was chosen for the interview round and was able to explain my entrepreneurial projects with great passion and create a video that encompassed my whole life. Ah, the video.

The video was a very interesting part of the application. It wasn’t only the filming/editing part, but also watching everyone else’s stellar feats on YouTube that was compelling. People were making robots, creating companies with substantial revenues, and winning national awards left and right; I didn’t know how I was supposed to stand out amongst these spectacular applicants. However, as intimidated I was, I also was thrilled about potentially spending four weeks of summer with these talented people of different backgrounds.
Continue reading “Making the Right Decision: International Student Edition”

Why I chose MIT Launch (and why you should too).

Today’s post is brought to you by Launch Alum, Sean Ojha


My name is Sean Ojha, and I’m a Launch ’16 alum. MIT Launch gave me the most immersive entrepreneurial experience of my entire life, endowed me with a powerful skill set, and introduced me to an unreal network of motivated individuals across the globe. Today, I want to explain to you all what exactly drew me towards Launch, what the program requires, its benefits, and why I chose Launch above other business accelerators.

What made Launch so appealing to me and my peers?

For me, summer vacation offers not only the necessary reprieve from the stress of school, but it also allows for a more “unstructured” education. By this, I mean to say that summer gives you enough to time to dedicate yourself to a passion. In past years, that passion was playing tennis, re-selling shoes, and blogging about music. As relatively trivial as these activities may seem, they shaped my personality as a hustler and an enthusiast.

I had the attitude of an entrepreneur, but neither the necessary resources, research or experience to reasonably attain success as an innovator. MIT Launch offered me the chance to bridge that gap. Launch balances a core curriculum with a hands-on, do-it-yourself approach, which appealed to me greatly.

I’m not alone in this. As my friend Cameron said, “I wanted to explore my entrepreneurial interests and expose myself to new ideas, so I researched summer programs that would allow me to do so.” I too saw Launch as a place where I learn the framework of entrepreneurship, the “map to success,” without compromising my personality or my passion.

What do I need for Launch to be beneficial for me, and what are these benefits?

If you want to be successful at Launch, there’s really only one necessity: pure motivation. Pardon the cliché, but your capacity to put in “blood, sweat and tears” is the only real thing that you’ll need. MIT Launch is so rich in resources that if you work hard, you’ll do well.

What are these benefits? Work hard and you’ll impress the right people. Impress the right people and your vision can become a reality. In my case, Launch pushed me past my threshold, and as a result, every goal I had set for myself that summer was accomplished. Whatever effort you invest in Launch, the rewards will be ten-fold.

Why Launch over the alternatives?

Without name-dropping, there is simply no real alternative to Launch. There are other high-school business incubators, some even in Boston as well. I have friends who have attended these programs as well, and their experiences have differed greatly from my own. Why?

Firstly, Launch is intense. Yeah, there’s free time, fun get-togethers and a really chill community at MIT. But when it’s time to roll the sleeves up and get dirty, no program gets more intense with work ethic and dedication than Launch. Again, pardon the cliché, but pressure makes diamonds, after all. From my own experience working with Launch entrepreneurs, they’re incredibly tenacious compared to the rest of the crowd.

Secondly, Launch is resourceful. I’m going to keep this short and sweet. At Launch, you’ll be exposed to connections and resources from:

Leveraging these resources will take up a large portion of your time at Launch, and it should. Resources like those at Launch are unparalleled; no other program comes close.

Finally, I’d like to add that Launch stays with you. Again, without dropping names, other programs don’t do this. Just today, the alumni chat had an extremely enlightening discourse about the potential of the Snapchat IPO. Tomorrow, I’m going to chat with a friend from Launch about including Snap Inc in my portfolio. The day after, I’m calling my team to give updates regarding our press release. Week after week, month after month, Launch remains fundamental in my career as an entrepreneur. And I can guarantee it will be as fundamental in yours, too.

Hopefully this was a helpful crash course about the Launch experience and convinces you to prioritize Launch.

Thanks for the read!

-Sean Ojha //

Never Settle- My Launch Lesson

This week’s post is brought to you by Launch Alum and entrepreneur, Rishi Talati, CEO of Gift A Hand Foundation


“On behalf of the Admissions Committee, we are pleased to have expanded the first session of the Launch Summer Program by a couple spots to allow your admission from the waitlist and into our 2014 program. Congratulations!”

These words would forever change my life in more ways than one…

I was an incredibly unorthodox student at Launch. Someone recently gave me a book called Mindset. It talks about two types of individuals: the person who has a fixed mindset, or the person who has a growth mindset. Well, back in the 9th grade, I was the former. A small kid growing up in Coppell, Texas, I never considered myself to be anything other than ordinary. I felt that my ceiling was met, that I was just to accept where I was and where I would be going.

Even though I was waitlisted for Launch, I assumed I would never actually get in. So I did what I always did: I just accepted that as the truth. I wasn’t going to Launch. My summer dream, like all my dreams, would be just that: a dream. When the acceptance letter came in, I was speechless. No one had ever taken a chance on me, no program had ever told me I was good enough for them. That day changed my life for the better. That was the day I realized I could do anything I wanted.

Arriving at Launch was initially like stepping into a castle. It was magical, intimidating, but incredibly surreal. I walked in not having the faintest idea of what it took to be an entrepreneur. By the end of week 1, I was thoroughly convinced that I had to be one. It was after week 1, however, where things started turning from fantasy to reality.

You know that feeling you get when something you’ve always wanted? You get that toy, or that internship that seemed out of grasp. Initially, you’re over the moon. You celebrate, you rejoice. But that’s only about 5% of it. The part no one really rejoices about is the other 95%, the part when you actually start doing the work. For some, that 95% is incredibly easy, because they can consistently just hammer out what they need to do, even if it’s boring, in pursuit of the bigger picture. But for others however, that 95% can be daunting, frustrating, and sometimes maybe even seem like it’s not worth it. As a rising high school sophomore with severe self-esteem issues, I’ll be honest in admitting that I did not have the maturity to handle the 95% of things expected of us, and as a result I didn’t get the most out of the program. The moment I became complacent, thinking that simply being in the program would be enough, was the beginning of my downfall.

Continue reading “Never Settle- My Launch Lesson”

Launch Stories: Nakul Goel, India



I remember finding out about Launch two hours before the application deadline was due. The minute I opened the Launch website, there was a picture that gave me goosebumps. In the picture high school students were studying in an MIT classroom and it said “This could be you.”  I was so excited and nervous, I was barely able to type. I spent the next few weeks searching Launch alumni companies and seeing who worked on them, and after a comprehensive research, I knew I was going to receive a rejection letter. But a couple weeks after applying, I got my acceptance letter from Launch.

July 7th is the most special date I will ever remember because it was the day I arrived at the MIT dorms. I met 69 of the most amazing teenagers on the planet. Everyone talked about their startups, what their home towns were like, etc.. I knew then that the following month was going to be extraordinary.

The very same day, Launch organized a welcome dinner for us at the MIT Media Lab. Ms. Laurie talked about all the amazing kids we had sitting among us and told us that Launch was going to be tough. In the following month I realized she was right, Launch was by far the toughest thing I have ever done, but I will be talking more about that later.

Continue reading “Launch Stories: Nakul Goel, India”

Launch Stories: Isha Mayor, Massachusetts



My experience at Launch was quite unique and I loved it. I associate Launch with my experiences from interacting with the people I had the opportunity to meet. My favorite part was listening to incredible speakers during lessons and entrepreneur panels. We were able to learn from some of the most incredible people including MIT and Harvard professors, mentors, and student entrepreneurs. I learned so many important lessons during my time at Launch but I’ve highlighted a few below.

You can do it! If you have the passion, the strategy, and the right people to make something happen, you can. The student speakers in particular made me realize that I have the potential to be where they are. Many of them started a company to solve a problem they had. For example, Kale Rogers, a student athlete at MIT who talked to us during an Entrepreneur panel, made a robot with his teammates to get healthy food quickly, and they made it into a company. Check out his company, Spyce, here:

Start talking. GOOD networking is key. How do you approach someone who inspires you? How do you ask them for a favor? Most importantly, how do you present yourself so that they remember you in a good way if you ever talk to them again? Mere connections are one thing, but meaningful connections are another. I learned that the speakers that came in wanted to be inspiring and recognized that we are the next generation of entrepreneurs, so they liked it when we showed interest and talked to them. Just from talking to a speaker for a minute after their presentation and following up in an email about my interests, I was able to land an internship in a startup from MIT. Bottom line: talk to people, leave a good impression, and follow up.

Seek out mentors. A good mentor can go a long way. I am very thankful to Launch for being able to talk to my residential counselor every night during check-in about what was going on. Launch helped me learn about myself, how I work with people, and how I handle stress, and it was helpful to be able to talk to my counselor about those areas. Sometimes we would have two hour long check-ins at night, eating ice cream and bonding; other times we would go out to breakfast for four hours and get into deep conversations. The counselor group experience was invaluable, and I continue to talk to my counselor post-Launch.

Continue reading “Launch Stories: Isha Mayor, Massachusetts”

Financial Need Scholarships for 2017

Every year we get so many great questions about the Launch program. While many of these questions can be answered here, we’d like to take a moment to address one important topic- financial assistance. We have covered this topic before, but we have some updated information that will give applicants a better idea about our financial assistance process. In 2016, more than 25% of students received financial need scholarships and we’re excited to continue offering scholarships for the 2017 sessions!

It’s important to stress that Launch is need blind. Indicating on your application that you require financial assistance will in no way impact your acceptance outcome. Furthermore, you won’t be asked to submit proof of financial need until after you are accepted to Launch. Financial assistance packages are provided on a case-by-case basis and vary depending on the student’s individual situations. Assistance is offered to both international and domestic students. 

But what about the application fee?

The application does require a fee but do not let this deter you! Fee waivers are available for students who provide evidence of need. The goal of Launch is to inspire young entrepreneurs, regardless of their personal or family situations.

As in the past, we have compiled information the financial scholarship offers of our previous financial need applicants to provide average figures, though please note that each package is made individually, so they vary based on additional factors of the admitted student and family circumstance.  


We strongly encourage you to apply to MIT Launch Summer, regardless of your financial situation, and we look forward to reviewing your application!

Launch Stories: Reginald Fils, Boston


I can vividly remember sitting in my school library talking to my teacher about what I hoped to fulfill for the upcoming summer. The weather outside was an ordinary 40 degrees, but this did not stop the conversation, it actually fueled our conversation as we yearned for the warm weather to hit our faces. I spoke about how I really wanted to be on a college campus, taking classes that pertained to business. Immediately after I said that, we googled a few programs that offered what I was looking for—the first one we found was MIT Launch.

MIT Launch encompassed all of my interests and most importantly centered itself around entrepreneurship, which I was most passionate about. I applied with no hesitations and a few months later, got an acceptance into the program. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Upon arriving at MIT, like other students, I had already started a lifestyle brand called “Urban Inspired”; the brand bears a social message which is to be inspired by all things around you. UI has been featured in fashion shows, photo shoots, and some local Boston publications. It was great to already have some insight on what it takes to run a business coming into Launch, but don’t think that this is necessary to get into this program.

A few months before launch, some friends and I decided to hold a youth event in Boston. The date fell on July 29th (during session 2). As I was at Launch, I would attend classes, do work with my team, hang out with Launch friends and then find time at the end of the night to answer emails and plan the event. This went on seamlessly as I lived in Boston and the campus was very close. However, I wouldn’t recommend that you do this, as it may take away from your Launch experience. Luckily for me I made it work without it interfering with any work or fun times with Launch friends.

Continue reading “Launch Stories: Reginald Fils, Boston”

How to Start a Maker Space

This content was written for and originally posted on the personal website of Laurie Stach.


ProtoWorks space at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.

The Makerspace Movement is playing a critical role in upgrading the education system to the modern age.  Instead of just learning from a textbook or lecture, students are able to problem solve and put their ideas into action in the physical world.  These spaces fit with concepts like Active Learning and Project Based Learning that have become popular for more modern schools.

Pioneers of the Makerspace Movement suggest that students just need the space and time to let their creativity flourish.  Students are able to create their own products or ideas through physical prototyping that can then be shared and improved upon.

What is a Maker Space?

A maker space is a place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials.  It’s much more than just a physical space with tools and machines, though.  A maker space builds and supports community, and accelerates learning via experimentation, making the culture and practices just as important as the machines within the walls.

Continue reading “How to Start a Maker Space”

Shining a Light on Female Entrepreneurs in Tech

This content was written for and originally posted on the personal website of Trish Cotter,  Entrepreneur in Residence at the Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship at MIT.


Last night, MIT’s Martin Trust Center hosted a screening of the award-winning documentary “She Started It” which follows five women in their journeys to launch businesses in the technology industry. We were honored to have the director and co-producer of the film, Nora Poggi , with us to introduce the film and join in our discussion along with our own panel of budding tech entrepreneurs.

The event was inspiring and featured accomplished women who beat the odds. If one message came through “loud and clear” it was that the entrepreneurial journey is all about persistence and networking. Our discussion reinforced that entrepreneurship can be taught, and that practicing entrepreneurial skills will pay off in the end.

The “She Started It” film focuses on five female entrepreneurs and their experiences, along with empowering the next generation of women tech founders. (You can check out the trailer here.) The film cited statistics about being a female entrepreneur in the technology industry that were bleaker than a cross-industry perspective. For example:

  • Women create only 3% of tech startups
  • In Silicon Valley, women earn only 49 cents to a man’s dollar
  • Women receive less than 10% of venture capital funding
  • Only 12% of undergrad computer science degrees are earned by women
  • 96% of venture capitalists are men

Yet, the five women profiled in the film are out to break the mold.

Continue reading “Shining a Light on Female Entrepreneurs in Tech”

Learn How to Scale From a Pro!

This content was written for and originally posted on the MIT Sloan School Newsroom

levin.jpg co-founder Donna Levin teaches scaling entrepreneurial ventures at MIT Sloan co-founder Donna Levin played a key part in that company’s growth, and the passion was personal. Levin’s work plans were curtailed when her son was 11 weeks old and had a seizure following a difficult pregnancy. Tests were inconclusive. Her daycare situation evaporated; she and her husband took turns staying home with the baby for three years until his health stabilized. Her husband worked nights, she worked days, and somehow they muddled through.

“Everyone has a caregiving story. At some point we will all either be a caregiver or need a caregiver,” she says.

Levin later built the infrastructure, operating systems, policies, and procedures as scaled. Today, it’s is the world’s largest online destination for finding and managing family care, with more than 20 million members in 18 countries.

Not every company is so lucky: half of startups fail by their fourth year, and 70 percent fail by their 10th year.

“Scaling prematurely burns cash, and it’s hard to course correct when you have hundreds of employees,” Levin says.

It’s crucial to take it slow and do it right. Levin, who teaches Scaling Entrepreneurial Ventures at MIT Sloan and is an entreprepreneur in residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, explains how.

1. Grasp what “scaling” really means. Scaling your startup is all about growth. The definition Levin prefers is “accelerating growth with confidence,” meaning that the resources that you put in should yield great results that are predictable and measurable.

Continue reading “Learn How to Scale From a Pro!”

Launch Alumni Conference-2 Weeks!


Launchies from all over the world will be returning to MIT campus in just two weeks to enjoy a weekend of learning, professional development and fun. MIT Launch hosts an annual conference to continually engage alumni in our community and, more importantly, to continue supporting the amazing work that alumni do as young entrepreneurs. The learning and professional development that takes place is really geared towards pushing students to the next level of their entrepreneurial, building and refining skills that we had no time to cover in four weeks! The theme for this year’s program is Invention + Innovation. There is a gap between those who make things and those who build businesses.

Continue reading “Launch Alumni Conference-2 Weeks!”

Will you take the pledge?


Let’s start with the million-dollar question: What is entrepreneurship?

Most of what you see on TV is built on the myths of entrepreneurship: freedom, wealth, power, etc.. Entrepreneurship is not quite so glamorous as it may appear. As Shark Lori Grenier says, “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours per week to avoid working 40 hours a week.” Successful entrepreneurs share this definition of entrepreneurship: the relentless pursuit of opportunities beyond resources controlled.  

MIT Launch is a transformative summer experience that enables students to begin their entrepreneurial journey and acquire a better understanding of the method for starting a successful venture. From move-in day to final pitches, we focus on providing Launchies with the mindset and skills to go from high school students to entrepreneurs who have started real companies.

The program guides students through the disciplined entrepreneurship framework. While the summer curriculum covers a variety of business topics including pricing, revenue models, strategy, etc., the core focus is on the entrepreneurial topics of primary market research and building a minimum viable product. At Launch, we have adopted the lean start-up methodology. We encourage companies to go from idea to testing as quickly as possible through first market research then testing a MVP. To evaluate and benchmark company progress, teams have three Mock Board of Directors meetings with experienced entrepreneurs and experts in their respective fields.

Continue reading “Will you take the pledge?”

Launch Stories: Gabi Fullam, Ireland



When I applied for Launch, I didn’t really consider the fact that I might ACTUALLY get in. It was more a far away cloudy dream. I had no idea that this dream would materialize in front of me into something so real and tangible.

I remember the nerves before my interview and excitement after the “Congratulations” email. I remember the relief that came with receiving a scholarship, and I remember long hours spent packing and hugging friends and family goodbye at the airport. But it only really sunk in when my feet touched MIT soil.

The environment we were all working in was amazing. Living with 70 innovators from all over the world as you try and build a company from scratch was phenomenal.

Having straight A’s and a million accomplishments wasn’t what ended up mattering in Launch. Sure, prior experience is great, but hard work, excitement, passion, resilience and grit helped to propel me through the four weeks and have the best time ever while I was at it.

I built a great start up at Launch with my team, but I also built friendships and bonds to last forever. I’m more confident and relaxed, with the risk of being cheesy, I’d like to say, you can take the girl out of Launch, but you can’t take the Launch spirit out of the girl.


While attending Launch, Gabi co-founded Politifund with guest blogger- Jason Zhao, Rahi Patel and Nick Majer. Best of luck to Gabi in all of her future endeavors!

Bring MIT Launch to your school!


Guest Blogger & MIT Launch Program Coordinator, Marvin Vilma

High school students around the world have identified a lack of entrepreneurship education at their schools. Project-based learning has become a buzz term that educators use, but students want more. They want the space to create, innovate and, most importantly, solve problems. MIT Launch Clubs are providing an opportunity for students to do just that. Over the course of a year, students develop companies in teams of three to five that center around a theme. This year’s theme, for example, is Education. Students are provided a series of lesson plans that include activities, videos and discussions that guide them through the Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework. Additionally, teams have access to a strong mentor network, the staple of the Launch Clubs program. Students can reach out to many industry experts including engineers, programmers, entrepreneurs and others who have a wealth of diverse experience. They are able to leverage these relationships for feedback, advice and connections.


This past year, we invited nine teams to campus to participate in our final pitch event at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The teams were able to pitch in front of a group of accomplished educators, entrepreneurs and business people for feedback on their ventures. Many of the ventures from Launch Clubs plan to continue beyond the academic year, demonstrating that students are creating things that they really care about. Students who chose not to continue their ventures, however, continually express their appreciation of learning about the process to think the entrepreneurial mindset that they are building.


We are excited that the Launch Clubs program is growing significantly since its inception! As the initiative scales, we are happy to announce a couple new additions for students. This year, we are launching a brand new remote leadership training program for all school champions alongside the Launch Clubs program that will help develop their professional skills. We are also hosting a webinar series for all Launch Clubs participants with guest speakers from different industries. We want our community members to learn from the best! Finally, we are building out future programming for students who want to continue with our initiative for multiple years. Be on the lookout for more information soon. If you are interested in starting a Launch Club at your school, please visit

Launch Stories: Rodrigo Ruz, Mexico


Being accepted into Launch was a valuable recognition that told me: “You are on the right track.” Fortunately, I have learned to use my time not doing the things a college, job or someone else expects me to do; but rather for the things I am passionate about and I love. When I was accepted into the program it was a reassurance that MIT was the kind of place I wanted to be and it valued me as a person. There was still a long way to go, and I was skeptical at first. 

I decided to attend Launch because I believe you are only presented with opportunities like these once in a lifetime and it takes courageous people to take them. My parents supported me as much they could, and I used the money from my past four summer jobs and from threes months of constant academic tutoring for my classmates, to pay for the program.

Rodrigo and his team successfully launched their company, Eko, which generates electricity through sound absorption. We can’t wait to hear about all of the wonderful things Rodrigo accomplishes!

Eko2.jpg-Rodrigo and his teammates, Tak-Ho, Pascal and Paulina

Growth Hacking: Scaling Post-Launch


Guest Blogger and Launch AlumnJason Zhao

The first few weeks after Launch are the true tests of your entrepreneurial aptitude: the welcoming environment and massive network available at MIT are replaced with “the real world.” Not to fear, because as a Launch alumnus, you have been amply prepared for the challenges ahead, armed with a talented network, an intricate understanding of the renowned Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework, and most importantly of all, a mindset of endless possibility.

The goal of this post then, is not to cover the basics, but rather to take the plunge into more advanced topics in entrepreneurship that will not only empower you to maintain momentum, but also elevate your company to the next level.

  1. Team

Regardless of the idea, market research, or media attention that you garnered at Launch, if you don’t have people to fuel this traction into something concrete, then you’re left with nothing more than a well-designed business plan. If you haven’t already, get on a call (yes, a call) with your team as soon as you can and plan meetings at least once a week (preferably bi-weekly) to keep each other updated and accountable. First and foremost, invest in your team.

Continue reading “Growth Hacking: Scaling Post-Launch”

What to Expect on Pitch Day


We have all taken tests and we know how important preparation is. The same goes for pitching your company. Your pitch marks the culmination of countless hours of researching the market, number crunching, prototyping and (not) sleeping. When pitch day arrives, it is important to remember that you are the expert on  your company. You should know the ins and outs of every aspect of your product or service and should be prepared for the toughest questions.

Yes, it is absolutely necessary to know your go-to-market strategy and financials inside and out. It is expected that you will be able to answer any questions about your beachhead and TAM. You will need to justify the decisions that you have made and routes that you have abandoned. However, the most important thing to remember is that pitching is not about getting funding; it is about proving that there is a market for your product or service. Build value and money will come later.

We asked some of our Session 1 Launchies to share their insights about pitch day.

Gabi“The days leading up to Demo Day were daunting, but being able to see all the work we had put in over the past 4 weeks come to fruition  was nothing short of amazing.You’re going to be nervous standing up in front of the crowd, not just because you want to do well and to impress the board, but also because of a need to make your teammates proud. But you can’t let that worry you too much. This is one of the best moments of launch, let yourself enjoy it, and be sure to support your fellow Launchies. For me, demo day was the cherry on the cake. It let me show off what I had learned and appreciated from all the other wonderful businesses at launch. There was a real sense of community and bonding among us all. It was bittersweet to see the 4 weeks finish with such a spectacular bang, but it felt like more of a beginning than an end.” –Gabi Fullham, Politifund.



“Pitch day helped everything come together – it was amazing to see all the teams present all the hard work we’d put in during the four weeks at launch, and pitch day acted as a grand culmination of our time and effort.” –Michael Wang, Self Check.




“From a country where people don’t respect entrepreneurship as much, I was overwhelmed to see hundreds of people cheer when I presented my own company. And the joy I had when a guy from a VC firm came up to me and gave me his card cannot be quantified. I would never have such an opportunity if it wasn’t for launch. It was an experience that I’ll never forget and will always be special to me.” –Anirudh Nair, Atria


Check out the Launch pitches on the MIT Launch YouTube channel.

Introducing Launch Stories: Kiara Wahnschafft

I never really had a comfort zone growing up. I was often the newbie on soccer teams that had been composed of the same group since elementary school. I walked into theatre camps full of rock-solid friend groups knowing absolutely no one. So instead of gaining a familiarity through routine, I gained a certain familiarity with the unfamiliar.

My craving for exploration probably started from my Montessori school days, where the curriculum was mostly student driven rather than teacher driven. There was no strict schedule shuffling you from activity to activity and there was no daily procedure to grow accustomed to. One day I could investigate the species of butterflies because that subject had piqued my interest the night before. But another day I could count some beans merely because they were beans and they’re quite entertaining when you’re three. So the norm became that which I wanted it to be – the norm became creating my own intellectual challenges and delving into them.

As I got older, my summers became the times when I could do exactly that. I ended Montessori school, and was in a more structured school system, yet wanted to explore again. My family graciously helped me do that. I went to summer programs where I could study topics that I enjoyed ranging from sustainable energy to mock trials. When I was a sophomore, I discovered programming and joined a competition called Technovation, in which high school girls create an app and a corresponding business plan. While I loved programming the app, this new idea of entrepreneurship was all too appealing: a way to act as my own teacher and foster my own innovation.

When I found Launch after searching for entrepreneurship programs online, it seemed like the ideal summer challenge: turning an idea into a real company with a tangible product in just four weeks. Within days of leaving Launch I wanted to go back, but I at least knew that I would continue working with a small subset of Launchies every week – that subset is made up of my two co-founders, whom I continue to meet with to this day.  The community of Launch extends beyond my co-founders, though, to a group of individuals drawn to innovation and exploration of how challenges can be harnessed to create a vision of a better reality. My love of the unfamiliar found a sense of familiarity in the ambition and curiosity of my peers who I am excited to have as my network, friends, and collaborators.

Experience MIT Launch online with Launch X!

launchxAre you interested in becoming an entrepreneur, but don’t know where to start? Have you been coming up with new ideas, but aren’t sure what next step to take? It all comes down to a strong knowledge of the entrepreneurial process — from identifying opportunities in the market, researching those customer needs to discover top priorities, and finding the easiest way to prove your new innovation will work. We’ve made these principles available through our online course, Launch X: Becoming an Entrepreneur.

Launch X: Becoming an Entrepreneur teaches the MIT-certified concepts of Disciplined Entrepreneurship, challenging students from all over the world to learn innovative techniques to unleash their inner entrepreneur. With informative course materials, weekly assignments, YouTube live streams of our TA office hours, and constant feedback for an immersive and streamlined learning process, it’s attracted over 43,000 students from all 195 countries of the world for our current session.

We’ve asked students their reason for joining our MIT Launch X course.

“Looking back, I knew nothing. I was reluctant because I wasn’t sure if people would believe in me. Then I went through the course material. Just after a week, I had the confidence to start. I acknowledged the 80/20 rule, that soft skills like confidence and body language and posture play a very significant role to persuade people to believe in yourselves. That if you believe in yourself, others will resonate and do the same. It’s the most fascinating and unique course. There’s no such course from any Institution on any MOOC platform, and never will be!” -Jash, Mechatronics Engineering Student, India.

Continue reading “Experience MIT Launch online with Launch X!”

International Students at Launch

For students who live outside of the United States, MIT Launch seems like another world away. From the moment they click “submit” for their application to the moment they arrive Launch, there is a tremendous buildup of anticipation, excitement and perhaps even anxiousness. During Launch, these students grow from the experience and make the most of the resources at Launch, then remain in close contact with the friends that they made here, and use the Launch network to expand their projects at home on an international level. Through this post, we want to share with you the experiences of some of our international students to help you understand why the Launch experience can be especially rewarding for students from abroad.


ryan.png“Coming from an international background, I was worried that it would be difficult for me to make friends and have fun with others at Launch due to my different culture. I was also concerned that I would have trouble adapting to life alone in America. Luckily, I was proved wrong – not only was the community extremely friendly and supportive, I was able to make many friends that I still keep in touch with now. Meeting people from different countries and cultures has truly broadened my perspective as I went out to dinner with people from India, Mexico, China, and the USA.”– Ryan Chang, Taiwan


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Launch Through the Lens of Guest Lecturers

Every summer, we bring in the leaders in Market Research, Strategy, Finance, Legal, Opportunity Identification and other areas of entrepreneurship to share their expertise with our students. Our guest lecturers typically teach MBA students at Harvard and MIT, and consult for Fortune 500 companies, yet they are always impressed by the charisma and caliber of Launch students. When we asked asked them why they are always eager to come back and teach our students, here is what they had to say:


LA2“I am always very eager to meet a new group of MIT Launch participants and really look forward to working with them. Each new group has been tremendously insightful, enthusiastic and hardworking.  The discussions in class are often better than those that I have with my HBS MBAs and with established executives.  They bring a fresh perspective that is always enlightening and makes the time I spend with them fly by.  Thank you to everyone who works so hard to put on such a high quality program.”

Lynda ApplegateSarofim-Rock Professor of Business Administration at HBS


PS“In the emerging, global “gig”-based economy, there’s pretty much nothing more important than learning what it takes to create your own gig…becoming an entrepreneur.  What better way to shape your own destiny, and craft your version of a positive impact on the world?  

That’s why, of all the various groups I have the privilege of working with around the world, I find MIT Launch students particularly inspiring.  They are hungry to build and master the entrepreneurial mindset and skillset it takes to light the world on fire!  Equipping them with the GRIT and AQ (beyond just IQ) it takes to make the impossible possible, and to build the dream is one of the great privileges of my life.

Digging deep, doing whatever it takes—especially to sacrifice, struggle, stumble, even suffer—in the quest to achieve truly worthy goals is what it’s ultimately all about.  I tell people all the time, any time the world seems a little dark, just imagine the amazing impact Launch students will unleash, and hope is inevitably renewed.”

Dr. Paul StoltzCEO, Peak Learning

Continue reading “Launch Through the Lens of Guest Lecturers”

The Key to a Strong Team

When we think about the people behind successful companies like Facebook and Tesla, the first names that come to mind are Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. Media tends to portray these CEOs as individuals who run the show with a billion dollar idea. It is important to recognize, though, that it takes a cohesive team to build a successful company. At MIT Launch, team dynamics is one of the most important parts of our entrepreneurial culture.

Usually students are anxious about the teaming process long before they actually arrive at Launch. From the day that admissions decisions are released to the day that teams are finalized, students ceaselessly bombard the MIT Launch team with questions about the “hows” and “whys” of teaming. This post is our attempt to explain the complex process and the important considerations of teaming, though unfortunately, there is not a secret recipe or fail-proof algorithm to build perfect teams — it’s a case by case situation.  There are MANY components that are taken into consideration to increase the chances of Launch team alignment and success.

After the first few days of the program, ideas are pitched to the class and students submit their preferences of ideas and teammates.  MIT Launch uses this as one factor to determine well-balanced and passionate teams, but there are many more items that are considered.

Continue reading “The Key to a Strong Team”

Session 1- That’s a Wrap!



Launch session 1 has come to an end and session 2 is just a few days away! It was an amazing four weeks and we’re so proud of all of the work the teams have accomplished. While we miss the students already, we’ve asked our session 1 Launchies to share some of their reflections and thoughts about their time at MIT. We think Nakul sums his experience up nicely:



“Imagine being in your dream school with dream classmates, mentors, speakers and teachers in a dream classroom where dreams come true, that is MIT Launch.”

– Nakul Goel, co-founder of Edibo


At Launch, we encourage students to reach for their goals and achieve more than they have before. Our classes combine like-minded students with the entrepreneurial drive to change the world. While our teachers and mentors provide content and inspiration, it’s the students’ hard work and resiliency that drives the program.  



“I would say that Launch as a whole goes far  beyond teaching just entrepreneurship.  It teaches you how to deal with adversities,  overcome challenges and adopt different perspectives on issues.”

– Mantej Singh, co-founder of Lyfeband  


Launch students spend four weeks living together on the MIT campus. For many of them it is the first time living away from home and among peers. The bonds formed at during the nightly dinners and work sessions are invaluable and will endure long past Launch.



“You don’t really know what to expect when you set off on journeys like these. I’m not a ready-made billionaire post-launch, but I am a bit stronger, more confident and I have the best friends in the world.”

-Gabrielle Fullam, co-founder of Politifund


Continue reading “Session 1- That’s a Wrap!”

Should you bring your own idea to Launch?


Before coming to Launch, many students ask if they should be coming with or may bring in their own established idea or company. There is no correct answer to this but there are some things to keep in mind when weighing your options.

Entrepreneurship is not a Solo Sport: If you are the idea originator, it’s important to remember that your teammates at Launch are considered your co-founders which means there should be equal respect amongst everyone. It takes a collaboration across different skills and personalities to be able to start a company, and all must work in harmony and with full drive.  Success is more about the team and execution of the business than the idea.  The entrepreneurial mindset will be the most important thing you learn leaving Launch, but can only be learned when working well in a team.

Team > Idea: It’s also important to remember that while it might be your original idea, you are now working with a well-equipped team of brilliant peers with whom you need to find a common vision of success – for the summer and the company.  Ideas are a dime a dozen, with most having been thought of or even worked on before, so success comes down to execution. To execute well, you need all the skill sets of your team.  This includes market research first and foremost, with open-mindedness to feedback.  Almost ALL ideas change from their origination to actual implementation, especially in successful companies, and your teammates will be well positioned to bring a fresh perspective.  Humility and openness to feedback is key.

Continue reading “Should you bring your own idea to Launch?”

How to Get the Most Out of Mock Boards

Help is good, but see if you are really listening. Check out these tips to get the most out of mentorship engagements.

1) Don’t interrupt each other.

If you can’t handle having a conversation about your company, how can you handle running the company? It is disrespectful to your teammate and disrespectful for those trying to listen. You may think you have a better thing to say or better answer to a question, but by interrupting you have a worse answer by default. If you strongly believe that your answer is more accurate, just wait until questioning is over and pull aside the mentor to clear things up.


2)  Realize you will have to decide for yourself.

We’ve all been there, we give an essay to multiple people and everyone is saying something different. So whose or which advice do you go with? Learn why each person gave that advice, if one executive tells Uber to go “expand to Europe”, and the other says “focus on growth in the U.S”, Uber can’t take both pieces of advice. Instead they will continue to ask why each executive feels that way and have them back it up with numbers, do the same with your mentors.


3) Why you, why this, and why now?

HBS professor Lynda Applegate came to speak to Launch and discussed the elements of a great elevator pitch. Meeting with mentors is a great time to start out with your elevator pitch, the people listening need to know why you care about changing this part of the world, and why this is the way to do it.


Continue reading “How to Get the Most Out of Mock Boards”

Week One Reflections


Now that we’ve started week two of Launch, we’ve asked our Launchies to reflect on their first week here at MIT. Read on to learn more and follow the journey with us!


Check in Impressions:

Q: What was going through your mind when you first got to Launch?

A: Michael W.

I arrived late, and it was amazing that people were eager to make connections, and there was such a community dynamic. It just made me so excited for the summer just from that one day.

Launch Thoughts:  During the first days at Launch there is an amazing buzz in the air. Students are so excited to be meeting their peers and potential teammates. They know that the students in the room could very well be potential business partners and not just for duration of the session.



Q: Your first class touched on the basics of entrepreneurship. What were your thoughts?

A: Varun W.

I was really impressed by guest speaker Jaylen Bledsoe. He is the same age as us but has already achieved so much.

Read more about Jaylen here:

Launch Thoughts: Jaylen Bledsoe is just one of the many incredible guest speakers we have here at Launch. Students are encouraged to apply the guest lecturers’ lessons into their own companies.



Q: The second half of day one was about how as entrepreneurs it is important to be self-aware. What did you learn?

A:  Adhiv D.

Something I didn’t realize before was about how important the person is in regard to starting a company. It is about the kind of person we are, whether we are a hacker, a hustler, or a designer, or even a mix of all of them. I think it is cool how personal entrepreneurship is.

Launch Thoughts: Adhiv is correct in that every entrepreneur is different and by knowing our strengths and weaknesses, we can be sure to hire teams that compliment our strengths.


Customer Persona:

Q: On Friday we learned about market research. We were lucky enough to have Entrepreneur in Residence, Elaine Chen, tell you a bit more about what a customer persona is. What is your company’s customer persona?

A: Nakul G.

Our customer persona is an international student who is most likely a student from India. He misses the food of his home. He is a college student, and he has no meal plan, most likely a grad student. The second customer persona is a grad student who loves to cook and could cook a home cooked meal for the other student.

Launch Thoughts: Identifying your customer persona is a crucial step in developing your venture. Launch students are continuing to sharpen their market research skills in week two. 


Closing Thoughts:

We are excited for the second week, and we’ll be updating everyone soon! Check out our Instagram to see pictures from each day of our summer adventure!

Last Minute Tips for Launch

Launch Summer is about to take flight in just a couple days. We want to touch on some last minute things about preparing for your entrepreneurial journey, exploring Boston, and making the most of this life changing experience.  We asked our alumni for their most helpful tips for you to prepare.

“Entrepreneurship won’t be the only thing you’ll learn at Launch. Be excited and take the opportunity to learn about yourself.”  (Anant Agrawal)

You might do this subconsciously, but if you really think about it, you are all coming to Launch for a reason, certainly not the same reason. Of course, it has something to do with your curiosity and expressed interest in entrepreneurship, but you were accepted for your strengths, and those include so much more than the listing of your resume items.  It includes your values, personality, and quirks – and Launch is a great place to embrace those facets.

“Understand that coming up with ideas and choosing an idea have two different approaches.”  (Lillian Chen)

It can be really tempting, especially for creative and aspiring students to chase after huge ideas and ventures. Be realistic with your goals when choosing your company idea- remember you only have 4 weeks. But during ideation phase, don’t let yourself think that an idea is too impossible or out of the box. Let your passions, problems, and interests guide you. Problems make products but passion sells the business.

Food and cooking (there was a lot of advice for this!):

  1. EAT SHAKESHACK. (Sunny Cui)
  2. Toscaninis ice cream is a must. (Trisha Kagalavadi)
  3. The lobster in Quincy Market will change your life. (Saahil Katyal)
  4. Flour Bakery is amazing for food. (Sunny Cui)
  5. Hit up Chinatown for HOTPOT. Also, Sebastians has the best crepes ever! (Lillian Chen)
  6. Insomia Cookies! (Rohan Shah)
  7. Turn on the fans when you cook. (Alex Xu)

Continue reading “Last Minute Tips for Launch”

Finding The Right Mentor

nate-blogYou hear it all the time, “it’s for networking,” “if you want to succeed, you have to network,” or my personal favorite, “college is mostly for the network.”  While you may know how important developing your network is, how to do it is a bit more challenging.  It comes down primarily to the idea of knocking on the door.

Finding a Mentor –

We all have had that professional crush, that “wow, would I like to work with him/her.” They have an amazing job, dress well, healthy family, you see everything you want for yourself in someone else. So, you want them to be your mentor, but how in the world do you approach that?  Approach the person with a common interest to start a conversation. Keep in mind that finding a good mentor is as much about personal fit as professional idolization.  That means the conversation doesn’t start with, “Will you be my mentor?” but instead starts with what you find exciting about the person’s professional background, and why you are interested in learning more about their experience.  It often evolves into an understanding of the values that drive a person’s decisions that has led them to where they are, and a need to ensure that you are on the same page with not just the end goal of where they are, but why and how they got there.

Here is what I did. There was a board meeting for my school, where I, as the newly elected student body president, am invited to present on behalf of the student body. I read online before the meeting that there was a new board of trustee member, a highly regarded entrepreneur who works in education. I immediately said to myself, “I need to meet him, and talk to him about all my ideas and love for entrepreneurship.”

Knock knock (that’s opportunity), I see him getting food before the meeting and think to myself, this is my chance to meet him! I came up and said “Hi, I read your bio, really love the work that you have done, I would love to sit down and talk to you about entrepreneurship.”  While I am sure I looked a little nervous, it was clear I was eager to listen to him. These successful people love sharing their story.  

He sat down with me, talked for about 30 minutes about the do’s and don’ts of entrepreneurship, whether business school is worth it, and my past businesses. This was enough to get his card, and his card was enough to give him a call asking advice about a major business decision I had to make. Finally, I worked with him in his company and learned more from him than I could have ever imagined.

The moral of the story is this:  If you want someone to be your mentor, approach them and spread your love for a common interest between you two, maybe entrepreneurship!


Pro Tips: Hackathon Event Planning


Here at MIT Launch, we are always looking for ways to support the young entrepreneur community. Whether it’s speaking at an event or sending some Launch swag and prizes, we love being involved with the exciting things happening with high school students. If you or your school are hosting an upcoming hackathon, let us know how we can get involved! Use this form to share more information.

Thinking about running an event and don’t know where to start? A few former Launchies, who have setup hackathons at their schools, share their insights on the vision, support, and marketing of these events.

Ayden Howle, hackMHS II, May 21-22, the vision and organization:

“We created hackMHS in order to bring people together, to create a community of coders and engineers from different school systems. We hope to create an environment of innovation, where teams will get together to create and build anything they set their minds to. In order to have our hackathon run smoothly, we split up the team of organizers into several committees, such as Workshops, Sponsors, Budget, Logistics, Mentors, Marketing, etc. Organizing the hackathon has been challenging, but incredibly rewarding.”

Continue reading “Pro Tips: Hackathon Event Planning”

Launch Life: Roommate Edition


Session one of Launch is just over a month away! We hope that you are as excited as we are for the program to start. There are many reasons why Launch is a worthwhile experience, and the college experience of roommate living is just one of them.

You might be nervous about living with a roommate for the first time. Maybe you are an only child or a like to listen to music at all hours of the night. Rest assured, our Launch team works hard to make sure that students enjoy a positive living experience throughout the program by intelligently matching roommates, while also offering some single rooms. Launch admits fill out a pre-work survey that includes questions about lifestyle and work habits, giving us some key information that is statistically proven to contribute to positive roommate experiences.

While there is an option to request a single room, Launch alumni highly suggest rooming with a classmate to have a richer experience during the program. For some students, this may be your first time away from home for an extended period of time. Not only will your roommate keep you company, they will surely provide motivation during the intense four weeks of the program. Launch roommates have often become best friends and continue to inspire each other in their business ventures.

Still feeling nervous? We’ve asked some of our previous Launchies to share their roommate experiences. Here’s what they said:

“Launch couldn’t possibly have got my roommate allocation more right. Before the program even began my roomie Lauren and I were best friends, and our bond only grew as a result of our month together. We were on different teams, so we were there for each other to help brainstorm ideas and support each other when things got tough or the workload piled up. I’m still super close with Lauren and we definitely have a sisterly relationship. I know we’ll be friends for life!” -Ciara

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No meal plan?! No worries!

chowder - Copy

Obligatory Boston clam chowder photo

One of the most commonly asked questions we get at Launch is regarding the lack of a meal plan.  Unfortunately, the dormitory dining halls are closed during the summer. While many students ask about how much to budget for meals, it’s difficult for us to provide a recommendation since it’s very dependent on the student (and their appetite).  Not having a meal plan, though, also means that there is a lot of flexibility the offers great culinary experiences.  One of our former Launchies, Sunny, is here to share some of her adventurous explorations.  Rest assured, though, there are lots of options at the MIT student center and Sloan cafeteria for those who prefer to stay on campus.

Hi, my name is Sunny and I attended Launch in 2015. Launch was one of the best experiences of my life, and my tastebuds would agree. As a self-proclaimed foodie, the culinary adventures that Boston has to offer trumps any meal plan. I want to share with you nostalgic Launchies and prospective Launchies some of my favorites and some reasons why it’s beneficial to not have a meal plan. (Beware of photos of excessively delicious food. Caution to readers on an empty stomach.)

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when you will be challenging yourself in class all morning.  A few of my favorite spots include Clover, Rebecca’s Cafe, Flour, Cosi and Au Bon Pain. These cafes/restaurants are all found around Kendall square near your classes. I highly recommend Clover’s breakfast sandwich or popover, and Cosi’s breakfast wraps. Plus, there is a Starbucks nearby if you want your dose of caffeine.

borsc - Copy

Chilled borscht soup from Flour

Continue reading “No meal plan?! No worries!”

What does it take to get into MIT Launch??


We’re so impressed with the applicant pool this year, and had some really hard decisions to make.  We often get asked throughout the process and after decisions come out: What do we look for in applicants?  There’s no one profile or formula, and there’s not a way to build your resume or application to reverse-engineer what we’re looking for, though here are a few examples of admits this year, to give you a better idea of what appealed to our admissions committee.

Admit Example #1:


  • Clear passion and drive within STEM and education
  • Co-founder and CTO of two STEM-related initiatives, clearly communicating both the vision and progress of these projects, and committing significant time
  • Internship at a startup that creates games for kids both through apps and 3D objects
  • Leadership in extracurricular activities
  • ~3.0 GPA (we recognize that entrepreneurs do not always have the best grades!)

Continue reading “What does it take to get into MIT Launch??”

MIT Launch Admissions Stats 2016

Congratulations again to all those accepted to MIT Launch Summer 2016!  To give you a bit better idea of the class profile, here are a few stats on our admitted class.

Our admission rate this year is <15%!


genderPrimary background of students

Continue reading “MIT Launch Admissions Stats 2016”

Why Launch?

It’s a huge decision to pick up and move to MIT for the summer to start a company.  You could be at home watching reruns and hanging out with friends, starting a company on your own, or attending another program.  But if you’ve applied to MIT Launch, we know you think a bit different, so we’d like to share some of the reasons our unique cadre of innovation-driving, game-changing leaders of both today and tomorrow chose to attend Launch.



“For me, it was mainly a function of the hands-on, practical philosophy Launch has. The environment that a lot of high schoolers, myself included, are in is one that is focused on what can be done ‘in the future.’ Launch, on the other hand, was giving us the resources to actually build a company now, not just write business plans or learn vague concepts.”

 – Launch 2014 alum, Divya Goel, MIT student


This desire resonates throughout the students of Launch, with many of them growing up having the overwhelming urge to fix problems and help others.  Launch provides the tools to build something to scale, teaching the Disciplined Entrepreneurship methodology and providing prototyping facilities.

Continue reading “Why Launch?”

What if I’m… *gasp*… denied?


Admissions decisions come out soon!  Which means we know that many of you are laying in eager wait.  There are so many wonderfully qualified students that apply to Launch, so before decisions are released, we want to cover a few things:

  • Select applicants are placed on a waitlist.  There is not a specific order of these applicants since many factors may be considered if an admitted student does not accept, so please do not ask us for your position on the list.
  • We do not release the number of students who are on the waitlist, nor the number of students admitted from each application round.
  • We cannot provide individualized feedback to each specific applicant regarding their admissions decision, though please know that every application was reviewed by several admissions committee members.
  • If you are denied or waitlisted but not ultimately admitted, keep your head up!  Several admits this year were denied last year, but had an improved application this year that truly impressed us.  In fact, while only ~5% of our applicants applied previously, the number of previous applicants that have been admitted is 2-3 times that rate!

We hope to see you soon – in Launch Summer 2016, during our online course this summer, or applying for Summer 2017!

Launch Admissions FAQs

Congratulations on applying to MIT Launch! Whether you are waiting on your admissions decision or trying to decide whether to accept, we understand you have many questions, and we’re here to help! Please see below for the most commonly asked questions. Don’t see your question below? Check out the MIT Launch
website for more FAQs.


First, a couple of logistics:


  • All regular round admissions decisions, including deferrals, will be announced by April 15, 2016.
  • Applications are still being reviewed until decisions are sent.  



Q: Can I change my application once I’ve submitted it?

A: Applications cannot be changed once they have been submitted. ONLY if you become aware that the link to your video does not work, or there is another part of your application that is incomplete, may you email  


Q: My friends have received interview requests but I have not. Does that mean I have been denied?

A: Interviews are offered on a rolling basis as applications are reviewed.  There is not any specific order to when applications are reviewed during the review period, and interviews may still be offered until late in the process.  


Q: I have received an interview and I am trying to set up a time on SimplyBook.Me. Are the times offered in my time zone?

A: All interview times are shown by default in Eastern Standard Time (EST). Please review your schedule and plan accordingly.

Continue reading “Launch Admissions FAQs”

International Students: Applying for a Visa?!

So you’ve been accepted to MIT Launch. First of all, congratulations! You’re in for one crazy summer. But now, if you’re from outside the US you’re probably going to have to start thinking of logistics, and most of all getting a visa.


I’m Ciara and I was a student in the Launch Class of 2015. As I am from Ireland, I am allowed to freely enter the United States without a visa for tourist purposes, but as MIT Launch wasn’t exactly a holiday, I wasn’t sure if that would cover it. I did a bit of research and came up with two options:

Business Visa (B-1)

After considering all my options I ended up applying and getting a business visa. This covers you to enter the United States for temporary business purposes, with the maximum duration of your stay being 6 months. As Launch can technically be considered a business incubator this visa will permit you to attend the program. Personally I think this is the best option for most people as, depending on where you are from it can be valid for up to 10 years. This means if your Launch company takes off (which hopefully it will) you will be able to return to the USA for business trips, conferences etc. using this visa for the next ten years before you will have to renew it.

To get this visa you will likely need a letter of acceptance for Launch (which I got emailed to me and printed myself) and the address in which you will be staying for the duration of your time in Boston (I just gave the address of MIT Campus). However I would recommend you consult the US embassy or consul in your country to get more detailed instructions.

Tourist Visa (B-2)

By considering Launch as a summer program rather than a business incubator it could be possible to use a tourist visa to enter the country. I personally would see this as a less reliable option due to the fact that the length of your stay is determined by the Department of Homeland Security upon your entry to the United States, so it adds an extra variable to the equation. Also, if you ever want to return to the US for business purposes, this visa will not permit your entry.

If you already have a B-2 visa and would like to use this for Launch, I’d advise you again consult the US embassy or consul in your country to get more guidance from them.


So that’s my tips for you! And once you get your visa you can concentrate on what’s important – getting super excited for the summer of a lifetime you are about to experience!

Who teaches at MIT Launch?

We’re gearing up for another exhilarating summer at MIT Launch, and a question we often hear is, “Who teaches the lectures?”

First, we try to avoid the term “lectures,” since our classroom sessions provide so much more than the traditional one-directional lecture.  Our sessions range from interactive case discussions, to activities and simulations, to entrepreneur panels and speakers.  The first week is a bit heavier with time in the classroom to lay some foundational groundwork, plus form teams and ideas.  Past the first week, classroom sessions are only held in the mornings.  Afternoons are a more open format for teams to work on their businesses – interviewing customers, prototyping, meeting with their mentors or having a mock board of directors meeting, doing competitive analysis, and more!

Our innovative teaching format requires great instructors to match.  Several of the courses are taught by MIT Launch staff, with guest lecturers of MIT and HBS professors, new and established entrepreneurs, and industry experts.  Here’s a tiny preview of what is to come this summer:

Continue reading “Who teaches at MIT Launch?”

Is MIT Launch Worth It?

By: Nate Friedman


If this post title appealed to you, you’re among the applicants or admits (or parents or teachers) who has asked whether or not Launch is worth the cost, time, and giving up other opportunities of what else you might do during the summer.  I almost turned down my offer to attend Launch, and want to share with you my story.

My Background: Before attending Launch, I was working on a company that I was passionate about, and considered turning down the offer to attend Launch.  My dad, who is also an entrepreneur, challenged the idea of attending Launch.  “Maybe you really don’t need this program; you can get a desk at an innovation center and really start working.”  The combination of making progress with a business that I was passionate about plus following the advice of my father made the alternative to Launch tempting.  

Starting A Company “The Right Way”:  My oldest brother, who was about to graduate from Harvard Business School, offered a different perspective, even in light of my exciting alternative. He told me, “you need to go to this program.  You need to learn how to start a company the right way. You have been trying for years to get a real company off the ground and Launch will help you with a real framework, an abridged version of what I learned in business school, plus give you a network and community of like-minded peers – best friends – for life.”

In the past, I have started companies by drafting up a business plan and designing a logo. Starting a company is an impressive thing to do in high school, but starting it the right way and really fixing a problem – that’s special – and people in the startup world, colleges, and especially you will know the difference. This is the significance of Launch. You may hear about young people starting companies in high school, but Launch alumni know how to use a specific framework to launch (hehe) their ideas and really solve the problem that their company is addressing, plus will be able to do it repeatably over time.

Why My Brother Was Right: It was really hard to turn down my father’s advice, but I’m grateful that I was guided and supported in making the choice that I did.  I talk to my friends from Launch, at least one, every single day. We spent a month together and that was enough time to guarantee best friends for life. You may not believe that now, but Launchies have each others’ backs and that’s what my brother alluded to. He also mentioned what might seem like the obvious, but a resume boost. Attending MIT Launch and starting a company – not bad for a month’s time.  Let me finish this section with this, my brother knew I could do all that and have fun.  We all will get different things out of Launch, make different mistakes, experience different success, but we will all grow as entrepreneurs and people, and have an unforgettable summer that bonds us for life.

Ciara Judge: Last Minute Inspiration

ciaraThere are three weeks left to apply for MIT Launch – and I’m here to tell you why a last minute application could change your life.

Around this time last year I was surfing the internet, looking for things to do to fill up my summer when a Facebook notification popped up on my screen. My sister had sent me a link with a single sentence caption: “THIS IS THE PLACE FOR YOU!!!” One click led me to the MIT Launch website and I began to explore.

Everything I read about the program just screamed out from the page to me as something I wanted to participate in. I had always been the entrepreneurial type from a young age, starting up little businesses or making a fortune by lending to my friends and charging interest as soon as I found out what the term meant (I drove a hard bargain). But I never took this attitude of mine seriously until I read about MIT Launch. Suddenly I saw myself growing up to be an entrepreneur, forging my own path and working with a team of like-minded individuals. So without hesitation I decided I just had to apply.

I had two weeks, so I was on quite a tight deadline, but thankfully I got my application in on time. And fast forward to a few months later in April, I received news that I had been accepted. Suddenly it all became so real! That summer, I was going to actually start up a proper company!

However, upon arriving at MIT Launch I realised that this experience was going to mean so much more than cofounding a startup. Over that summer I made friends for life, learned skills I’ll carry with me forever, and built a network of contacts to call on in the years to come as I travel along this journey of entrepreneurship. Of course I met my fantastic PurchaseMate team, and we are still working together now with big plans for the future. PurchaseMate is currently in beta and we plan to get it up on the app store very soon. The course perfectly combines fun and enjoyment with professionalism, and I now a more well-rounded, competent individual as a result of my involvement.

purchasemate team

That last minute application last year certainly changed my life, and who I am. Ironically, although entrepreneurship is usually seen as a high-risk career path, I am now so much more certain of my future. Because MIT Launch taught me that even if I fail over and over again I can keep going if I have enough determination grit.

If you were one of those kids who always challenged the status quo, who saw another way of doing things, maybe entrepreneurship is for you. If you like making things, creating things, maybe entrepreneurship is for you. If you want a life of excitement and are willing to put in the work to make it so, maybe entrepreneurship is. You’ll never know unless you take that leap, and applying for MIT Launch is a perfect way to do that. You have three weeks, so you better get going!


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