In a recent episode of the Chalk Radio podcast, Dr. Anjali Sastry describes how she redesigned a traditional independent study to encourage MBA fellows to find social impact solutions that scale.



This episode explores a new kind of independent study. MIT has traditionally encouraged its Sloan MBA fellows to engage in international projects with partners around the globe. Our guest, Dr. Anjali Sastry, has led over 100 groups of MBA fellows in these projects. But she recently changed the structure of the class so that instead of signing on to projects developed by instructors, students are now able to develop their own projects based on their own interests. All the new projects in this course called 15.960 New Executive Thinking Social-Impact Projects involve applying technology in new ways to find solutions to common problems worldwide.

In one project, for example, a student employed data analytics to improve financing prospects for small-scale farmers in Brazil and elsewhere. Sastry finds that mentoring a variety of students with disparate interests presents a real challenge, because it often involves working in areas beyond her own area of expertise. And keeping track of the various projects required her to develop a very structured process for students to use in reporting their progress. It’s worth the extra effort, though it isn’t easy, says Sastry. “Teaching this way is incredibly rewarding, and also really scary.”

Relevant Resources:

MIT OpenCourseWare

The OCW Educator Portal 

Dr. Sastry’s Social-Impact course on OCW

Other courses by Dr. Sastry on OCW

Dr. Sastry’s faculty page

Sloan Fellows MBA Program

Music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions

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