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 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.”
An affiliate researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Industrial Performance Center and a former fellow of the Sloan School of Management at MIT, Jean-Jacques Degroof continues to stay connected with his alma mater. In addition to working on academic research, Jean-Jacques Degroof volunteers his time as a mentor in the MIT Sloan Alumni-Student Mentoring Program.
The MIT Sloan Alumni-Student Mentoring Program pairs alumni with students to help shape future leaders and innovators. The program serves as an opportunity for students to gain career guidance and make valuable connections. For mentors, the program supports the growing MIT Sloan community and is a way for alumni to help the school achieve its mission and goals.
The program is serviced through an online platform that matches mentors and mentees, based on profile information each provides. The system will offer recommendations to both parties about which participants best fit one another. However, students and mentors have the ability to determine who they work with. Once matched, the mentor works with the mentee to set guidelines for communication and goals for the partnership. As both individuals progress through the program, the mentor’s goal is to provide inspiration, encouragement, and useful resources to guide the mentee toward the career he or she envisions.