Join MIT’s Entrepreneurial Culture via MOOCs

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on January 29, 2015 · 0 comments

in Alumni Life, Management

How can you sharpen your business thinking while connecting with MIT alumni entrepreneurs and leaders in the Institute’s innovation culture? Sign up for Entrepreneurship 101 and 102, the free massive open online courses (MOOCs) created at MIT for edX, the global online learning platform established by Harvard and MIT.

The courses are based on the legendary MIT course 15.390 New Enterprises, which is taught by Bill Aulet SM ’94, the managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. New Enterprises has been a cradle to hundreds of MIT startups, such as A123 Systems, Lark, and Okta among others.

Because the courses let you learn at your own pace, you can start as soon as you register—now through the end of March. A bonus: if you register for a verified certificate you can earn $1,000 in Amazon Web Services credit when you complete the course.

What will you learn?

MOOCs, free online courses, link students to MIT entrepreneurial culture.

MOOCs, free online courses, link students to MIT’s entrepreneurial culture.

According to Erdin Beshimov MBA ’11, who leads an MITx group creating these courses, the first class, Entrepreneurship 101: Who is your customer? teaches aspiring entrepreneurs how to find a customer for their idea. “Essentially, the course is about learning to look at the world through the eyes of the customer, an essential learning stage for every entrepreneur,” he says. “The course includes numerous case studies of MIT entrepreneurs from fields as diverse as power electronics, watchmaking, 3D printing, and mobile apps. For example, you’ll meet Hyungsoo Kim MBA ′12 of Eone—and be touched by his inspiring story of making watches, or timepieces as he calls them, for people who are visually impaired.”

In another module, students learn from Hanna Adeyema MBA ’13, who was born in Nigeria, raised in the former Soviet Union, and cofounded Tenacity Health after studying at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In a video interview, she describes challenges facing her startup and what she finds fulfilling.

Learn from Tenacity Health co-founder Hanna Adeyema MBA '13.

Learn from Tenacity Health co-founder Hanna Adeyema.

“Being an entrepreneur is very exciting because every day you are making decisions that impact the development of a new product that never existed and that maybe, in the distant future, is going to change someone’s life,” she says. “To know that you are directly responsible for this is pretty powerful.”

In the second course, Entrepreneurship 102: What can you do for your customer?, students use their knowledge of the customer to understand how they will solve the customer’s problem and, ultimately, what product or service they would build. Entrepreneurship 102 is also based on case studies of MIT entrepreneurs, such as Sandra Richter of Soofa and Max Faingezicht and Adam Blake of ThriveHive.

Alumni Connections

Beshimov says the two courses have already enrolled more than 120,000 students worldwide. And, he says, his group at MIT would welcome input from alumni on how to make the courses better. You can write to him at beshimov@mit.edu or tweet them at @erdinb or @mit15390x.

“What we are doing is making the entrepreneurial magic of MIT open to anyone in the world for the betterment of the world,” says Beshimov, “and we want MIT alumni to be involved in that process.”

Find out more about the impact of MIT’s entrepreneurial culture in a short video and explore other edX courses.

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