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MIT's Influence on the World

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MIT is a school with a long and productive history of innovation, and the goal of many MIT students and faculty is to use technology and knowledge to improve the human condition.

MIT was recently honored by Washington Monthly magazine for its success in "[performing] as an engine of social mobility… fostering scientific and humanistic research, and… [promoting] an ethic of service to country." The Washington Monthly guide aims to identify colleges which "do well by doing good," an aim which fits well with MIT's own mission.

Students are frequently encouraged to unite engineering excellence and public service through class projects. 2.009 (Product Engineering Processes) is a required senior capstone design course for mechanical engineering majors. For the past several years, the professor-designated theme for the student projects has centered on making the world a better place through engineering. In 2004, students designed projects using alternative forms of energy; projects included a solar-powered water pump, a human-powered battery charger for a film projector used to educate women in Mali, a vaccine-cooling backpack which keeps vaccines from spoiling on long journeys to remote locations, and a extruder which makes a charcoal-like product from sugar cane waste in Haiti. In 2005, the class focused on machines which could be used for sustainable agriculture; projects included a lentil sorter, a manioc grater, a tree mover, and a mechanical banana harvester.

Entrepreneurship by MIT alumni and faculty MIT is well known for its entrepreneurship, and a 2009 study entitled Entrepreneurial Impact: The Role of MIT by the Kauffman Foundation quantified that entrepreneurial spirit:

  • If MIT graduates formed their own country, it would have at least the 17th-largest economy in the world.
  • MIT graduates have founded over 25,800 companies worldwide. 6,900 of these are located in Massachusetts alone.
  • Over 3.2 million people owe their jobs to a company founded by an MIT grad.
  • MIT companies make over $2 trillion dollars each year.

Some of the 25,800+ companies founded by MIT alumni:

  • McDonnell Douglas
  • Campbell Soup
  • 3COM
  • Bose
  • Analog Devices
  • MathWorks
  • Gillette
  • Texas Instruments
  • Akamai
  • International Data Group (IDG)
  • Teradyne
  • Raytheon
  • Genentech
  • Harmonix

MIT undergraduates are free to take courses in any department, and are also generally free to take graduate-level courses, so engineering and science majors can learn principles of entrepreneurship at MIT's top-notch Sloan School of Management.