Search

Blog

Stories. Reflections. Entrepreneurial Thoughts.

Month

July 2016

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

 

Continue reading “International Students at Launch”

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:

 

Nakul.png

“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.  

Mantej

 

“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.

 

Gabi

“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!”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: