For more than three decades, Jean-Jacques Degroof has held leadership roles as a banking executive, corporate board member, and entrepreneur. A former researcher and Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management, Jean-Jacques Degroof has since been involved with the university as a mentor and member of entrepreneurial and alumni groups.
Though MIT is most commonly associated with the technology, engineering, and business worlds, the school has also played a prominent role in the arts and culture of both the Boston area and the United States. To further support the intersection of the arts, technology, and entrepreneurship, the school organizes an annual Creative Arts Competition that recognizes MIT students who develop innovative projects in this sphere. All business ideas entered in the competition must either use the arts or creative disciplines in conjunction with technology and entrepreneurship.
Winning teams receive a $15,000 grant, plus additional support and mentorship through the START Studio and the Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship at the Sloan School of Management. First prize in the 2018 competition went to Hapticomix’s Project Daredevil, which creates virtual reality experiences for visually impaired individuals, while second prize went to a project that develops abandoned sidewalk shops into artists’ studios.
Grants and Prizes
Jean-Jacques Degroof, a former fellow of the MIT Sloan School of Management, is an educator and mentor who focuses on instruction in entrepreneurship. In addition to his fellowship at MIT, Jean-Jacques Degroof was a fellow of the Center for Business and Government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Now called the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government, it seeks to improve the knowledge and policy understanding of issues at the intersection of the public and private sectors. Drawing on the unique intellectual resources of the Kennedy School and Harvard University, it brings together thought leaders from both business and government to conduct research, engage in dialogue, and seeks answers that are both rigorous and policy relevant.
While a CBG Fellow, Jean-Jacques Degroof pursued the research initiated while he was a Ph.D. candidate at MIT on academic spin-off ventures as vehicles of technology transfer. This work fitted within broader interests of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government that seek to improve linkages between research and policy communities.
Sloan Fellows Program
Dr. Jean-Jacques Degroof lectures at various universities and business schools across Europe and provides mentorship in venture investing. Earlier in his career, Dr. Jean-Jacques Degroof completed a fellowship with the MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Sloan School of Management provides students with the opportunity to develop their global leadership skills through the Sloan Fellows Program.
A one-year executive master of business administration program, the Sloan Fellows Program aims to provide graduates the necessary skills and tools to become elite global managers. Fellows within the program are exposed to late-breaking research as well as core fundamentals within the areas of business and technology. In addition, students graduate with access to a broad international network consisting of MIT peers and entrepreneurial leaders.
The Sloan Fellows Program offers students a number of distinct advantages, making it one of the top entrepreneurial leaderships programs worldwide. Students receive instruction from a team of global industry leaders and become immersed in solving organizational challenges while exploring issues vital to leadership growth. Furthermore, the program gives students the flexibility to customize their curricula to include electives and experiences that suit their personal and professional goals.
“I came out of this conference with tons of ideas in my head, of course, but one of them is about the implication of this new digital economy on education and how we need to teach our children.”
“The way we educate children hasn’t changed much in the last 200 years, and is no longer well adapted to this new economy. Our model of education was built when we needed to produce clerks and workers in the food factories, so basically people who repeated mechanically day after day what they were told to do. Nowadays, we need another profile of workers that have more initiative [and] creativity, but the educational methods and models have not much changed. So I think young people are indeed bored at school. So that could be one explanation, but just one small part of the story.”
Jean-Jacques Degroof holds a PhD in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is currently an independent venture investor and teacher of entrepreneurship in Brussels, Belgium. As part of his prior academic research career, Jean-Jacques Degroof presented a paper entitled “Academic Spin-Off Processes and Types of Ventures in Regions outside High Tech Clusters: the Case of Belgium” at the Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference.
The conference is an annual event that has taken place at Babson each year since 1981. The purpose of this event is to provide researchers with a platform through which to share their ideas about entrepreneurship with colleagues and other academics. Over 350 professionals attend the conference each year, and over 220 papers are presented. After the conference ends, the college archives the top 40 papers makes them available on the institution’s website.
Alongside the conference, the college holds a workshop for doctoral students in the field of entrepreneurship in order to allow established and future professionals the opportunity to openly communicate, network, and unite for future endeavors. The next conference will take place June 8-11, 2016, in Norway.
Dr. Jean-Jacques Degroof, an education and business professional with over 20 years of experience, is a venture investor and entrepreneurship teacher based in Brussels, Belgium. Previous to his role as a business instructor, Dr. Jean-Jacques Degroof attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was a Sloan Fellow between 1992 and 1993.
A Sloan Fellow is a member of the exclusive MBA or MS program at MIT’s Sloan Business School. The program’s curricula promote three pillars that the Sloan School finds crucial to the development of powerful leaders. These pillars include innovation, global perspective, and the practice of leading. Sloan Fellows earn the opportunity to learn and network with peers from multiple continents, facilitating a broad understanding and view of global business.
Upon graduating from the program, alumni Sloan Fellows also have the opportunity to work with current Sloan Fellows in a mentor capacity. Through a database of online user profiles, students are provided with contact information for the alumni who best align with their career goals and interests. Mentors are given the opportunity to choose which students they want to work with, and the mutually advantageous relationship provides students with guidance, while providing mentors with the opportunity to maintain an active relationship with the Sloan School of Management.