Venture capital investor Jean-Jacques Degroof mentors teams of young entrepreneurs in the technology sector. Additionally, Jean-Jacques Degroof has authored research papers on subjects related to entrepreneurship, one of which he presented at the 2003 conference of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE).
SASE is an international organization that brings together academics, business professionals, and government officials from more than 50 countries to explore and advance the understanding of economic behavior within a wide array of academic disciplines. Each year, SASE hosts a conference in a different city. The most recent conference, which was held at the University of California, Berkeley, in June 2016, featured panels, paper presentations, and mini-conferences with the theme of “Moral Economies, Economic Moralities.”
Along with an invitation to attend the annual conference, members of SASE receive a subscription to the journal Socio-Economic Review and access to a range of exclusive online resources available through the organization’s website. Members also have the opportunity to participate in the exploration of socio-economics within a network of other scholars on the subject.
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.
Jean-Jacques Degroof is a private investor and researcher with academic ties to Harvard University and MIT, as well as multiple leading institutions in Europe. As part of his ongoing commitment to MIT, from which he earned his PhD, Jean-Jacques Degroof volunteers his time as an educational counselor for the school.
The is a collaboration between dedicated alumni, known as educational counselors (EC), and staff in the Office of Admissions. They work together to seek out and recruit the most promising young people for each year’s new freshman class.
ECs serve three main functions within the program. First, they serve as an accessible community resource, acting as a liaison between MIT and local youth. Ergo, ECs become the human face of MIT.
Second, though interviews are an optional part of the MIT application process, most candidates choose to participate in an interview with an EC, whose job it is to evaluate each candidate and submit a report to the Office of Admissions.
After students are admitted to MIT, the EC’s final role is to help them decide which school within MIT is right for them. The EC then continues to offer useful advice to students during this often stressful time.
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.
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.
Before assuming his current position with the IPC, Jean-Jacques Degroof held the title of Researcher for the institute from 2002 to 2004. Notably, he collaborated on the Local Innovation System project, which is summarized in a working paper titled “Universities, Innovation, and the Competitiveness of Local Economies,” authored by Professor Richard Lester.
The report suggests that institutions of higher learning can contribute to regional innovation and economic growth through their traditional roles of education and research, but also in less traditional ways involving interactions with industry. However, the types of relevant exchanges with industry (including consulting, contract and joint research, licensing and patenting, providing public spaces, and others) depend on the form of local industrial development.
The paper thus suggests that the current focus on licensing and patenting should be replaced with a more nuanced approach to development.
About Jean-Jacques Degroof
Prior to working as an Affiliate Researcher for the IPC, Jean-Jacques Degroof earned both his Master of Science and his Doctor of Philosophy in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has contributed to another research project conducted by the MIT Industrial Performance Center and the Center for Business Research of the University of Cambridge titled “Benchmarking Innovation.” The research was sponsored by the Cambridge-MIT Institute. It is summarized in the report, which is titled “UK plc: Just how innovative are we?”