Effective business models in frontier markets
15.232 • Spring H1 • Six Units • Anjali Sastry
Students: Interested in innovating amid constraints?
Across Africa, Latin America, and Asia, a fascinating mix of established companies, start-ups, non-profit enterprises, and private-public collaborations are innovating in serving low-income customers. In 15.232, Effective Business Models in Frontier Markets, examples from a variety of sectors reveal what works, what doesn’t, and why, in the quest to reach scale, sustainability, quality, and social impact. We investigate ambitious startups and inspiring leading-edge organizations that have found new ways to deliver services and goods in frontier markets where customers have little to spend and business infrastructure is still developing. Such markets have often failed to deliver the healthcare, energy services, education, water, sanitation, consumer products, connectivity, entertainment, and income generation opportunities that people seek. What enables some enterprises, governments, and non-profits to meet these needs effectively?
Exploring this question will sharpen your ability to look at any new business idea from multiple perspectives. Operations, revenue, marketing, finance, and strategy all factor in to the business model perspective developed in this class.
Case examples anchor our analysis. We’ll draw lessons from pioneers who are bringing cost-effective, scalable, high-quality solar power services, eye surgery, software coding education, and HIV prevention to those who most need it. Far from the labs and corporate sites where others develop new technologies, these innovators are forging novel business models on the front lines. You will learn about new approaches to education, energy services, water, sanitation, healthcare and more through cases, projects, and discussions with thought leaders. Class topics draw on strategy, marketing, operations, systems thinking and other MBA tools and lenses. While some case examples address global health, others tackle different sectors, yet the insights they offer apply to many domains, as you will discover in a mini project of your own choosing.
Join us if you’re interested in applying business thinking about scale, sustainability, quality, and impact to one of the world’s most pressing problems: serving the people in greatest need.
More about the class: Student Advice
Former students came up with great reasons to take this class:
- Spring H1-only (half semester, February to mid-March) class taught by MIT Sloan School of Management’s Anjali Sastry, an expert in global health, frontier markets, and System Dynamics who has worked in many of the settings we explore.
- Not just for people interested in healthcare, but anyone interested in innovation and business models in low-resource settings–and in understanding and analyzing new business models anywhere.
- The class offers a rare opportunity to integrate and contextualize what you learn in other classes, including action learning projects.
- A wonderful line-up of guest speakers includes case protagonists, experts, investors, business innovators, and thought leaders. Past guests include tech entrepreneur/philanthropist Desh Deshpande, global industrialist Ratan Tata, corporate and venture capital investors, and top government leaders.
- Follow your passion by selecting a cutting-edge organization to analyze for the class, then benefit from expert guests’ thoughtful feedback on your assessment.
Check out this newsletter story to learn what some students took away from an earlier version of this class.
More about the class: Official
15.232: Effective Business Models in Frontier Markets | 6 Units | H1: 7 Feb to 16 Mar 2017 | Tu Th 1-2:30 pm | E51-376
This MIT elective class examines how new approaches that link innovations in operations, revenue generation, marketing, finance, and strategy enable improved social outcomes in resource-limited settings across Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Uses perspectives from system dynamics, design thinking, and strategic analysis. Explores success and failure in attempts to innovate and scale in product and service delivery. Analysis of novel business models draws on case studies, videos, industry reports, research, and guest speakers. Students present their assessments of innovative base-of-the-pyramid enterprises that aim to do more with less.
MIT or cross-registered students who have not taken at least three management or business classes must apply to the instructor for permission to enroll before the first day of class.