An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Jean-Jacques Degroof is an investor and educator who teaches entrepreneurship to business students across Europe. Outside of his professional life, Jean-Jacques Degroof serves as an educational counselor with the MIT Educational Council.
MIT educational counselors have a responsibility to serve as representatives of the university in their own communities. They also conduct interviews with MIT applicants to identify potential candidates for admission and to serve as a source of support for those who eventually become students at the institution. In order to become an educational counselor at MIT, an individual must meet certain requirements.
The primary requirement to become an educational counselor is that one must have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree at MIT. In addition, the university prefers to recruit individuals who have demonstrated enthusiasm about their own experiences as students at the university. Those who wish to become educational counselors must also commit to becoming familiar with events occurring at the university and be able to maintain positive relationships with young people.
With a background in banking and education, Jean-Jacques Degroof serves as an instructor in the area of entrepreneurship at business schools throughout Europe. In the past, Jean-Jacques Degroof was a teaching assistant at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he was also an MIT Sloan Fellow.
Fellowship positions at prestigious schools are highly competitive. In the context of a university, a fellow is an individual who undertakes a short-term opportunity of months or years to study and develop further professional knowledge as a graduate student, but is not obliged to meet the teaching and research requirements mandated for the typical graduate student. Instead, fellows focus on furthering their education through rigorous elite courses.
The MIT Sloan Fellows Program is one of the most respected fellowships in the world. Applicants must have already forged a promising career for themselves before they can begin the program, as all applicants must have at least 10 years of experience in the workforce. Anyone seeking to join the MIT one-year MBA/MS program must demonstrate excellence in leadership and functional expertise and must show a commitment to innovation and global thinking.
With degrees in business administration and organizational behavior from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, Jean-Jacques Degroof went on to earn an MS as well as a PhD in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. With a range of experience in the financial services industry and within academia, Jean-Jacques Degroof gives back in part as an Educational Counselor with MIT’s Educational Council.
Educational Counselors (ECs) are MIT alumni that help recruit prospective students and provide resources for them. ECs act like ambassadors for the school, offering recruits a personal connection through which they can ask questions, provide feedback on their experiences, and see the kinds of opportunities that may open up to them after they have graduated.
The idea for the Educational Council began in 1931 when MIT’s then-president Karl T. Compton chose exemplary graduates to be what he called “honorary secretaries” to recruit candidates for the school. The Council was formed officially in 1950 when it began to work with the Office of Admissions and the Office of Alumni to manage the high volume of applications that came in this way. Maintaining a close relationship between the school’s alumni and its new recruits helps to maintain a strong sense of continuity that contributes to MIT’s high-quality reputation.
“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.”
Dr. Jean-Jacques Degroof, entrepreneurship instructor and venture investor, earned both his MS and PhD in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Along with his role as a mentor to students in the Sloan Business School’s MBA and MS programs, Dr. Jean-Jacques Degroof serves his alma mater as an educational counselor.
An MIT educational counselor assumes the responsibility of assisting the university in the selection of freshman students each year. The school focuses on recruiting individuals from different backgrounds with diverse interests and accepts around 8 percent of annual applicants. The role of an educational counselor at MIT is to act as a link between the university and high school students, answering questions, educating them about programs, and inciting enthusiasm for the institute.
One of the most important aspects of working as an educational counselor is actively meeting with candidates, which adds a human element to the process of educating parents and students about the benefits that MIT offers. An educational counselor also conducts interviews with prospective students and reports his or her findings to the Office of Admissions.
Additionally, educational counselors are responsible for staying in touch with accepted students they interviewed. MIT’s educational counselors are located across the world and play an important part in supporting the university’s student body.
Dr. Jean-Jacques Degroof leverages expertise in entrepreneurship and local economic development to serve as a researcher, mentor, and investor. Since earning a PhD from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr. Jean-Jacques Degroof has remained active in the school’s programs and events, including the annual MIT Alumni Leadership Conference (ALC).
In September 2014, the MIT Alumni Association hosted ALC 2014 on the MIT campus, where more than 600 MIT volunteers were able to engage in walking tours, seminars, and events. At the two-day conference, alumni from at least 40 graduating classes gathered to hear school leaders and faculty talk about the present status of the institute and MIT’s ideas for the future.
Professors Fiona Murray and Vladimir Bulovic opened the conference with a presentation on MIT’s expanding academic opportunities related to entrepreneurship and innovation, and the school’s international collaborations. During the presentation, Professor Murray specifically explored MIT’s work with the United Kingdom and Singapore and explained how government administrations can help to foster innovation.
The conference also featured a talk from MIT Director of Digital Learning Sanjay Sarma and Professor Karen Willcox, who commented on the final recommendations of President Reif’s Task Force on the Future of MIT Education. The final day of ALC 2014 included Institute updates from Provost Martin Schmidt, a presentation on MIT’s history and future by Professor John Ochsendorf, and a Leadership Awards Celebration.
ALC 2015 on September 25-26 features such keynote speakers as Drs. Martin Culpepper and Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart and covers topics ranging from why maker spaces are vital to the real-world success of MIT students and the valuable role of an Educational Counselor.