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Tsinghua-MIT Global MBA Entrepreneurship Strategy Course Marks Its Tenth Anniversary

Mar 25, 2024

The Tsinghua-MIT Global MBA Innovation Based Entrepreneurship Course is a collaborative brand course created by the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University (Tsinghua SEM) and MIT Sloan School of Management (MIT Sloan). Launched in 2014, and led by professors from both institutions, the course has won wide acclaim from students for its unique pedagogy.

Being a highly praised course among Tsinghua Global MBA students, the course consists of theory-based modules that lay a solid foundation of entrepreneurship concepts and a practice-based module that provides a deep understanding of the core strategic challenges facing start-up innovators. In the past ten years, over 100 entrepreneurial enterprises have participated in this course, together with the leading professors, providing more than 800 students with profound and thorough entrepreneurial learning experiences. Many of the students have become successful entrepreneurs.

On February 28th, 2024, Prof. GAO Xudong from Tsinghua SEM and Prof. Scott Stern from MIT Sloan, together with alumni and current students, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the course. They jointly reviewed the establishment and transformation over the past ten years, a vivid interpretation of the profound cooperation and friendship between the two world-leading universities, Tsinghua University and MIT.


Professor Scott Stern gives a lecture to the 2023 GMBA 

At the beginning of the event, Ms. Ma Jia, Director of MBA Programs at Tsinghua SEM, gave an opening speech. She pointed out that on the 40th anniversary of the founding of Tsinghua SEM, it is particularly meaningful for the Innovation Based Entrepreneurship course to celebrate its 10th birthday. Ten years, not only reflects the continuity and foresight of the course but also helps fulfill the commitment made by the School at the beginning of its establishment, "to advance knowledge and cultivate leaders for China and the world." She expressed her gratitude to the program's ongoing partner, MIT Sloan School of Management, for the lecturers' dedication and support throughout the course. She looked forward to the course continuing to play a better role as a link for entrepreneurship practice between China and the United States in the next decade.


MA Jia, Director of MBA Programs, speaks at the beginning of the celebration event

Four distinguished alumni were also invited to share their entrepreneurial experiences and insights gained from this course. The alumni's sharing vividly demonstrated the similarities between entrepreneurs of different generations, fields, and challenges, and also reflected the profound impact of the Innovation Based Entrepreneurship course on Tsinghua Global MBA students.

WU Fan (2013 IMBA), Entrepreneur in the Hi-tech Industry


I was in the first class of this course ten years ago. It was this course that planted the seed of entrepreneurship in my heart, which has now grown into a towering tree. Despite my experience in big enterprises such as Microsoft and Intel, my passion has always been in entrepreneurship. With nearly 20 years of experience in innovation and entrepreneurship in the technology industry, I continually encounter new challenges and difficulties. It is crucial for me to always maintain my faith in the entrepreneurial spirit.

ZHU Qing (2019 GMBA), Entrepreneur in the Hi-tech Industry


Tsinghua's experience has shaped my career and inspired me to actively participate in the global exchange of cutting-edge technologies. I am very grateful for the entrepreneurial spirit fostered by the Innovation Based Entrepreneurship Course, the invaluable hands-on experience it provided, and the opportunity to meet different entrepreneurial fields. I look forward to continuing to utilize the knowledge and network gained to make meaningful contributions in the fields of domestic electronic products and semiconductor measurement.

LI Aojin (2019 GMBA), Practitioner in the Financial Industry & Entrepreneur in the Consumer Goods Industry


In the financial industry, keeping up with technological advancements and growth is a constant challenge that brings pressure and difficulties. For first-time entrepreneurs, it is advisable to start by identifying better solutions to consumers' daily needs. Building a strong team, establishing efficient standardized processes, and maintaining an open and learning attitude are crucial for entrepreneurs.

YU Zhiheng (2020 GMBA), Founder of a Skincare Brand


Good ideas are important, but even more important is the process of putting those ideas into practice. I observed that the students who dare to "practice" starting a business are still in the minority. I always believe that young talents should be brave enough to try. Although the difficulties of realizing ideas are many, the challenging process and the gratifying results are equally important to believe that everything is worth it.

Professor Scott Stern shared his reflections on the course's tenth anniversary. He emphasized MIT's motto, "Mens et Manus" (Mind and Hand), indicating that only practice makes progress. He highlighted the similarities between Tsinghua and MIT in their pursuit of academic rigor and practicality, a trait also evident in Tsinghua MBA programs. Professor Scott Stern expressed his gratitude to the course's founder and all the participants in the 10th-anniversary celebration. He affirmed the achievements of Tsinghua SEM and MIT Sloan in developing entrepreneurship and innovation education and jointly cultivating business leaders and encouraged the students and alumni to continue to pursue excellence.


Professor Scott Stern speaks at the celebration event

Professor GAO Xudong who is also one of the founders and leading professors of the course concluded with insightful remarks. Recounting his experiences at MIT, he shared the significant cooperation between China and the U.S. in international education and innovative technology, expressing a firm belief in continued collaboration. His speech inspired students to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and highlighted the importance of cross-border cooperation in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation academics.


Professor GAO Xudong speaks at the celebration event


2023 GMBA students present hand-drawn portraits to the professors

The celebration was not only a reflection on the past decade's achievements but also an outlook on future developments. The success of the Tsinghua-MIT Global MBA Innovation Based Entrepreneurship Course signifies deep collaboration and exchange in global business education and innovative entrepreneurship between the two institutions. As the course enters its second decade, Tsinghua SEM and MIT Sloan are looking forward to continuing their partnership, nurturing more future leaders with global vision, innovative thinking, and strategic insight.


Participants pose for a group photo

About Innovation Based Entrepreneurship Course

Module I: Choosing your Entrepreneurial Strategy

Led by Professor Scott Stern from MIT Sloan, the first module of the course provides the foundations for choosing an entrepreneurial strategy at the earliest stages of a company including key issues such as strategic challenges faced by entrepreneurs. The course identifies the types of choices that entrepreneurs must make to take advantage of a novel opportunity and the logic of particular strategic commitments and positions that allow entrepreneurs to establish a business.

This year, with the support of the director of Tsinghua x-lab, Ms. HAO Xiuqing, the showcases of five innovative startup teams from Tsinghua x-lab became a highlight of this module. The teams brought a refreshing perspective to the course, demonstrating the creativity and entrepreneurship nurtured by Tsinghua x-lab.


Showcase by startup teams from Tsinghua x-lab

Module II: Company Visits and Project

In the second module, with the support of the Global Health Industry Innovation Center (GHIC) and the HICOOL Business College, students visit companies in groups, ranging from startups to more mature enterprises in China. Through field visits and discussions with entrepreneurs, Professor GAO Xudong from Tsinghua SEM will lead the participants to understand the challenges and problems faced by enterprises at various stages of development and to discuss with professionals the strategic choices of enterprises in the real environment. They will better understand that starting a new business requires not only passion but also the courage and confidence to overcome anticipated and unexpected difficulties as well as the ability to quickly use resources to find solutions.

Panel talk with startup companies

Module III: Scaling your Entrepreneurial Strategy

The third phase of the course is led by Pierre Azoulay and Erin L. Scott, prominent faculty members at MIT Sloan. This workshop focuses on the challenges of growing an emerging business, and innovation management as a tool for competitive advantage. The workshop identifies that entrepreneurs must have a clear understanding of their industry's competitors and customers to develop an effective and efficient growth strategy for their business. At this stage, students will also apply the knowledge and systematized tools learned in the previous modules to prepare a final presentation with their suggestions on the development strategies of the companies they visited.


Professor Pierre Azoulay gives a lecture to students

*GAO Xudong is a Professor of the Department of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Tsinghua SEM, Vice Director of the Tsinghua University Research Center for Technological Innovation, and a member of the Expert Committee for Information and Communication Economy of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China.

*Scott Stern is the David Sarnoff Professor of Management and former Chair of the Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

*Pierre Azoulay is the International Programs Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

*Erin L. Scott is a Senior Lecturer in Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.



                                                                                                                                                                                                 SUI Bing


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