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Thesis Thursdays
How to Make the Very Most of Your MIT Sloan Masters Thesis Opportunity

v 1.5

Making the Most of Your Thesis Opportunity

The Main Integrative Project throughout Year
Pick a compelling research theme Advance your Career Interests
Reinforce Professional Strengths Networking & Personal Visibility Personal Exploration & Even Reinvention

Short & Long Term Professional Aspiration

How weave the pieces together?

Case study on firm or industry of greatest interest Aligning projects in classes with Thesis Interviews on your class field trips MIT $50K participation

Example Theses I
Sustainable Entrepreneurship
Amir Hasson w/ Pentland & Thurow

RFID in Supply Chain

Jen Pararas w/ Brynjolfsson

Neural Network Applications

Vishal Mehta w/ Gupta

Biotech Business Strategies

Sudhir Borgonha w/ Murray

Technology Waves in NTT

Masa Kawashima w/ Weil & Fine

Open Architecture Spacecraft

Robert Caffrey w/ Henderson & Crawley

Trust in Mobile Commerce

Damien Balsan w/ Weil

Advanced Tech for the Coast Guard

Ken Marien w/ Utterback

Example Theses II
Singapores Urban Dynamics
Bernard Nee w/ Sterman

Pharmaceutical Technology Acquistion Strategies

Hiroya Muranishi w/ Roberts

HPs IT Outsourcing
Carl Beckett & Waqas Khan w/ Bitran

Organic Chemicals as Disruptive Technologies

Naoki Obi w/ Jacobson & Utterback

Knowledge Management in Banking

Kazu Yamagata w/ Burton

Wireless Value Chain Evolution

Dave Munsinger w/ Utterback & Weil

Mass Customization
Joe Pine w/ Utterback

Brainstorming Topics
Start with end in mind, e.g.
Seeking a job in X industry Deep understanding of some sector Working with a particular Professor

Aspire towards N-for-one

n-for-1: Seek Extreme Leverage

Recruitment whats your next job? Network building who should you know? Idea seeking whats best opportunity? Boosting creativity whats most worth doing? Personal reinvention where imagine self? Drill-down on some topic always wanted to Publication propaganda & reputation

Pitching Your Topic

Self-presentation & refinement Float it by everyone in conversational way Various levels of detail and abstraction
Im interested in looking at how X does Y For example
Disruptive Wireless Technology Business Implications of the Semantic Web Neuromedical Imaging Technology Roadmapping

Time is Short
Summer & Early Fall Investigate Potential Topics & Advisors October / November Proposal & Advisor Winter & Early Spring Data, Literature Review, Interviews Spring Progress Reports, Drafts May Finale!

Types of Theses
Independent Project (w/ Advisor)
Industry / Strategic / Competitive Analysis Company Business Plan Case or Historical Study Model Development & Testing Product Roll-out Analysis Problem Analysis Hypothesis Testing Technology Assessment Policy Study

Structured Thesis

Structured Theses
Faculty provides framework for project & contacts / sponsors Aligns personal goals with larger faculty research agenda Professors
Bitran eBusiness & Supply Chains Burton Tech Venture Observatory, Talent Dynamics Fine Technology Roadmapping, Value Chain Dynamics

Potential publications
e.g. Fabozzi, Fine & Cusumano

MIT Sloan Matrix

Example Sloan Faculty Strengths

Unifying Strategic Themes

Global International Development Mgt

Effective Financial Leadership Engineering, Management Transformative Innovations Venture Finance Finance, Accounting, & Economics

Global Value Chains, TechMaps

Business Dynamics

Entrepreneurial Policy
Tech-Biz Ventures

Virtual Customer Managnt Sci, Functional Disciplines

Tech Strategy Behavioral & Policy Science Strat & Orgns




Classic MIT Sloan Disciplinary Strengths

Faculty Interests at Various Levels of Systems Analysis

Global Development

Market/Tech Organization

Business Dynamics


Technology Roadmapping Technology & Entrepreneurial Strategy Venture Capital Emerging Technology Creative Ventures Communities, Virtual Customer Initiative



Social Networks


Decision Psychology

Clusters of Interests At Various Levels of Analysis


Technology Roadmap

Firm Group

Market/Tech Organization

Technology Venture Observatory

OpenSource Initiative


Virtual Customer Initiative Emerging Tech-Biz Live Cases


15.795 Technology Roadmapping

(An example Masters Research Seminar) Professor Charlie Fine, TA Joost Bonsen Fall 2002 This seminar will explore the purposes and development of Technology Roadmaps for systematically mapping out possible development paths for various technological domains and the industries that build on them. Data of importance for such roadmaps include rates of innovation, key bottlenecks, physical limitations, improvement trendlines, corporate intent, and value chain and industry evolutionary paths. The course will build on ongoing work on the MIT Communications Technology Roadmap project, but will explore other domains selected from Nanotechnology, Bio-informatics, Geno/Proteino/Celleomics, Neurotechnology, Imaging & Diagnostics, etc. Thesis and Special Project opportunities will be offered.

International Development
Amir Hasson, MOT 2002 MediaLab Asia connection via Developmental Entrepreneurship Class Global E-Lab Case MIT $50K entry Thesis Employment!

Faculty Interests: Further Possibilities

Global Development Observatory

Market/Tech Organization

Firm Group


Technology Roadmap Venture Capital Observatory Technology Venture OpenSource Observatory Initiative Creative Communities Observatory Virtual Customer Initiative Social Network Observatory Emerging Tech-Biz Live Cases Decision Neuropsychology Lab


5 Strategic MIT Technology Thrusts

1. Information Technologies = Ever more sophisticated computation & communication, leveraging mind & media. 2. Biomedical Technologies = Medical engineering, perfecting the health & life sciences. 3. Tiny Technologies = Investigating and fabricating ever smaller systems, at scales from micro thru nano 4. Complex Systems = Large scale, socio-political & econo-technological systems. 5. Developmental Innovations = Appropriate and leapfrog technologies for tackling challenges in developing & emerging regions

Mapping Sloan Faculty to MITs Emerging Strategic Tech Sectors

Info Tech Bio Tech Tiny Tech Complex Systems Developt Innovations

Strategy MTIE Org/HR Finance

Operatns Prod Dev

Mapping Faculty in Disciplines to Phases of Venture Development

Strategy MTIE

Finance Marketing

Prod Dev
Ideation Invention Incorporation Investments Sales Profitability Escalation

Big Themes
Tech Roadmapping Developmental Innovation Disruptive Technologies Cross-National Comparisons Corporate Venturing

Practical Tips
Write thesis over time, incremental escalation Recruit or hire some editor Think carefully about readers Write a one-pager and a one-paragraph version ASAP, iterate Beware of confidentiality & data access time constraints

Best Practices
Network Building -- Be in touch with people important to your future Career Connection -Intimately relevant to career Access -- Research gives you access to people you wouldnt otherwise get to Prototyping repeat question testing, on classmates, faculty, friends Tangible Deliverable build your portfolio Get Access by seeking answers to really interesting questions, to you and them! Broad Links go beyond those you already know, beyond your company, for example Know your Interests but be flexible in your approach Faculty as Method Experts not necessarily industry experts

Aspire towards Publications

Mick Bass with Professor Clay Christenson in IEEE Spectrum Various students with Professors Ed Roberts, Cusumano, Fine, et al Books, e.g. Joe Pines Mass Customization

How to attract industry & faculty interest?

What questions appeal to them? Is there an intersection? Does it reinforce a traditional interest or stretch them in an interesting new direction? Faculty interests vs knowledge you educate each other

Potential Advisors
Burton Fine Weill Bitran Murray Locke Johnson Shoar De Figueiredo Cusumano Utterback Hauser Urban Thurow Sterman Hunter Olive Short Pentland Von Hippel Allen

Go to the MIT Sloan Expertise Guide!

Seeking Students & Alums with Both Depth & Breadth

Breadth Narrow Wide

T Individuals

Deep Depth Shallow

I .

Unifying Sloan Themes

Effective Organizations, Entre- & Intrapreneurial Leadership Technology Entrepreneurship & Strategy Dynamics

Transformative Innovations, Emerging Hard & Soft Technologies, Disruptive Challenges

Dynamic, Networked Organizations

Developmental Innovations, MicroFinance

Global Business Strategy, International Development