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Making the Right Decision: International Student Edition

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

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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

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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 // http://www.ojha.me

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

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“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”

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!”

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.

 

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“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?”

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