MIT Students

PIA-Sponsored MIT Student Challenges

The Practical Impact Alliance collaborates with the MIT PKG Public Service Center’s IDEAS Global Challenge to bring PIA members the opportunity to sponsor a student innovation challenge focused on a theme of interest. This year, PIA is sponsoring a challenge on Inclusive Waste Management, which builds on the work of the 2016 Working Group on Inclusive Recycling (group members: Danone, Johnson & Johnson, Melton Foundation, Philips Healthcare, Phosboucraa Foundation, TakaTaka Solutions, Wecyclers, World Vision).

IDEAS provides a platform connecting students with the passion and talents to improve the world with the experience and resources of the global MIT community. Throughout the academic year student teams leverage faculty support, mentoring, special events, and seed funding to generate and build innovative solutions to global challenges, competing for prizes of up to $15,000. Projects are presented each year at the IDEAS Innovation Showcase, where PIA members will have the opportunity to interact with student teams and learn about their innovations. In 2015, PIA sponsored a challenge on Mobile Phones & Behavior Change, which built on the work of the corresponding 2015 Working Group (PIA Members: Grameen Foundation (lead member), Ajinomoto, Danone, Greenlight Planet, Johnson & Johnson, SC Johnson, Unilever, World Vision). The Showcase and Awards Ceremony were held at MIT on April 2, 2016.  Learn more about the teams from the PIA Challenge here, and read about all of last year's IDEAS winners here!

MIT Class Projects

PIA members can propose a project for a student team from select D-Lab and MIT courses. If the project is selected, students then focus their creativity and problem solving skills during the 16-week semester on designing solutions to the challenge within the context of the class, under the supervision of the instructor, and in collaboration with PIA representatives. 

At the end of the semester, the student teams present practical recommendations to the PIA partner and community representative for consideration.  To learn more about class projects and the process for submitting an idea, see our class project guidelines.

MIT Student Internships

Through the Practical Impact Alliance’s internship program, member organizations can augment internal resources for faster innovation and a fresh focus on projects, while giving MIT students the opportunity to gain valuable experience within organizations at the forefront of social value creation.  The Practical Impact Alliance has partnered with the MIT PKG Public Service Center to bring members the opportunity to host talented MIT students for summer or January internships.

MIT students have a wide range of skills and expertise. Most major in engineering, business, architecture and planning, or life sciences. They excel at organization, analysis, and problem solving. Hands-on projects are often particularly appealing, as are field-based projects. MIT offers a wide range of classes and activities to encourage student engagement in development work and prepare them to be successful at working in developing country context.

See our internships overview and guidelines to learn more about internship opportunities that are a good fit and the process for proposing an idea.