Jean-Jacques Degroof’s activities as an investor, mentor, and teacher have included work with various organizations in the United States and Belgium. An MIT alumnus, Jean-Jacques Degroof possesses a master’s and doctorate from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Over the years, he has remained involved with his alma mater, supporting MIT programs in various areas including entrepreneurship, arts, and technology.
At the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, students are exploring the world of virtual reality (VR) through a hands-on class that teaches 360-video camera work and visual storytelling. First taught in 2017, the semester-long class gives students the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art VR technology, including emergent equipment from Samsung Gear 360 and Oculus Rift. The class also introduces students to the art of VR filmmaking with the help of guest speakers from the VR field.
Under the guidance of instructor Sandra Rodriguez, students in the spring 2018 VR class completed various projects including an interactive game and a VR tour of the MIT campus. Students were able to complete the projects thanks to equipment provided by the Oculus NextGen program, which is currently advancing VR studies at 12 US universities.
Alongside his work as a successful investor and entrepreneur, Jean-Jacques Degroof takes a very active role in supporting the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Jean-Jacques Degroof earned a master’s and a doctorate in management from the school and has since helped advance several MIT programs and activities, including the Aging Brain Initiative at The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.
Founded in 1994, MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory seeks to advance the understanding of how certain mechanisms drive learning and memory and contribute to neurodegenerative disease. Recently Li-Huei Tsai, the institute’s director, led a team of researchers in a study examining APOE4, a gene variant that has been associated with a higher risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s.
In the comprehensive study, Tsai and other Picower Institute research scientists found that APOE4 promotes the accumulation of beta-amyloid proteins, which cause the plaque that is found in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients. Their experiments showed that the APOE4 variant promotes amyloid accumulation by stimulating excess amyloid secretion and disrupting the process by which astrocyte and microglia cells remove amyloid proteins and other foreign matter from their surroundings.
In addition to revealing how APOE4 facilitates the development of Alzheimer’s pathology, the scientists highlighted the potential for using gene-editing technology to treat the disease in patients with the APOE4 gene variant. The results of the study were published in the May 31, 2018, online edition of Neuron.
IWER PhD Program
Jean-Jacques Degroof is the holder of a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management. When pursuing his Ph.D., Jean-Jacques Degroof took courses in the school’s Institute of Work and Employment Research (IWER).
IWER was established to address the concerns of the 21st century workforce in light of generational, technological, and economic changes. It is a collaborative hub for the study of work and employment. Here, MIT faculty educate researchers on how to improve the way Americans work. The Institute does this through weekly seminars and a comprehensive PhD program.
IWER’s PhD program combines institutional knowledge with training on social-science practice. It is designed for students seeking advanced training in human resource management, labor-relations management, public policy, conflict management, sociology of work, and best employment practices. Coursework covers such topics as labor economics, collective bargaining, industrial relations, and the political economy. On top of these, students can attend related classes at MIT, including those on economics, anthropology, and political science.
MIT’s Creative Arts Competition
A venture investor, Jean-Jacques Degroof helps grow startups into successful companies. A former affiliate researcher at the MIT Industrial Performance Center, Jean-Jacques Degroof was in subsequent years involved in supporting MIT’s Creative Arts Competition as a sponsor and a member of its jury.
MIT’s Creative Arts Competition is an year-long program put together to accelerate startups focused on the intersection of the arts and technology. The competition is open to founders who have one or more MIT students on their teams and have ventures that have arts at their core – those that address the needs of artists, producers, and other arts stakeholders.
Participating teams enjoy benefits such as access to MIT’s START studio specialized programming and MIT’s arts entrepreneurship incubator. The teams also participate in workshops at the Sloan School in which students receive mentorship from past winners of the competition and from distinguished MIT alumni. The mentors cover topics such as pitch preparation, customer development, and business plan creation.
Participating teams are expected to develop viable business plans to be judged based on their focus on the arts, potential for impact, and sustainability. The winning team receives a cash prize of $15,000 presented as a grant.
A self-employed investor and mentor in the field of entrepreneurship, Jean-Jacques Degroof studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management in the 1990s. Jean-Jacques Degroof continues to proudly support the culture of research and innovation at MIT through his membership in the Dean’s Circle, which honors those who have given generous financial support to the school.
Membership in the MIT Sloan Dean’s Circle provides many benefits, encouraging alumni and other friends, who are interested in fueling greater innovation and in supporting opportunities for students and faculty, to give to the school. Regardless of the amount Dean’s Circle donors provide, they gain access to many special events at a reduced fee, and are invited to the Dean’s Circle reception and other events not open to members of the general MIT community. They also receive regular updates on the state of the school and are permitted to attend a special speaker series.
Larger donors receive several additional benefits, most of which involve greater access to Sloan faculty. They receive regular case reports on research done at Sloan, as well as a suggested reading list and at least one book recently published by a faculty member. They can also attend special events featuring senior faculty and receive complimentary admission to conferences.
An educator and mentor, Jean-Jacques Degroof was a fellow of the Center for Business and Government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In addition to his work at Harvard, Jean-Jacques Degroof was a Sloan Fellow of the MIT Sloan School of Management.
MIT Sloan’s mission is “to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice.” In line with this goal, the school launched LearningEdge in 2009. LearningEdge is a collection of case studies and management simulations appropriate for teaching business and management. The materials were developed by the school’s faculty and students and have a creative commons license, meaning they can be downloaded and used by anyone in the world.
The case studies cover various topics including entrepreneurship, operations management, leadership and ethics, strategy, and sustainability, all areas where MIT Sloan faculty have shown exemplary expertise. The studies highlight how business managers make decisions, and are designed to elicit class debates rather than promote a certain view.
The management simulations are virtual re-creations of real-world problems. Students come up with solutions for these problems and get to see how the actions they propose play out in the virtual world.
Educational Counselor at MIT
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.