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Charity Auctions and the Sports “Dorkapalooza” at MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan students organize charity auctions typically twice a year. Each “ocean” (the approximately 70-person cohort with which students take their first-semester core classes) selects a charity to support and identifies items to be auctioned, such as lunch with a professor, a home-cooked meal by a student, and more unusual offerings, like having a professor chauffeur you to class in their classic car. First-year oceans compete to see which one can raise the most money, and second-year students organize a similar auction. Altogether, the auctions raise tens of thousands of dollars each year for such charities as the California Wildfires Fund, Children of Uganda, Pencils of Promise, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, and the Sloan Social Impact Fellowship.

MIT Sloan students are active in organizing conferences as well. Did you know that some of the biggest names in sports have met annually since 2007 for an event at the school that former ESPN columnist Bill Simmons once described as “dorkapalooza”? At the student-run Sports Analytics Conference, participants discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry, and students have ample opportunity to network with the elite of the sports world. The event typically features more than 150 speakers and 40 hours of panels and workshops.

The 2021 conference was hosted virtually in April with the theme “Show Me the Data.” Speakers hailed from such companies and organizations as ESPN, the Philadelphia 76ers, Madison Square Garden Sports, and Alt. Panel discussion topics included “Negotiating the Future: How Priorities Changed as a Result of COVID,” “The Case for Activism: Sports’ Impact on Society,” and “Women’s Sports: The Time is NOW.” The event also included a start-up competition, trade show, hackathon, and gaming innovation challenge.

A second-year EMS (Entertainment, Media, and Sports) Club member once told mbaMission, “The event is one of the largest student-organized conferences in the country and was named the third most innovative company in all of sports (behind only the NFL and MLB Advanced Media) by Fast Company [magazine].”

For a thorough exploration of what MIT Sloan and 16 other top business schools have to offer, please check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.



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