MIT’s Jessie Tsai Spends Summer with MIT REAP Team Queensland’s Most Innovative Leaders

October 15, 2018

“I got the opportunity to interact with different people at the top of their field, such as a CEO, a Dean, and the Governor; It is not something that you usually get a chance to experience!”


Jessie Tsai, a recent graduate from the MIT Sloan School of Management’s 2-year MBA program, joined the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program’s Team Queensland as an MIT REAP Innovation Diplomat (MIT REAP iDiplomat) to spend the 2018 summer semester exploring her passion for startup innovation initiatives. This passion motivated her to apply to be the program which leverages the entrepreneurial community on MIT’s campus and equips students with innovation ecosystem frameworks, knowledge, and tools. The MIT REAP iDiplomat program offered Tsai the opportunity to apply her knowledge and skills, and to have an impact in Queensland on a very practical level. Tsai’s work supported MIT REAP’s Team Queensland efforts to support the growth of innovation-driven entrepreneurship in the state of Queensland. She notes that the experience gained through this experience has prepared Tsai for a future career as an innovator.


The MIT REAP iDiplomat program allows MIT students to build lasting professional relationships with regional leaders and to develop the ability to analyze a regional innovation ecosystem. In Queensland, Jessie worked closely with the Head of the School of Management at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Rowena Barrett, to analyze the impact in the ecosystem, implement Team Queensland’s strategies, and write a published issues paper. While working as an MIT REAP iDiplomat with the team, Tsai interviewed many high-level stakeholders, which provided her with various perspectives on Queensland’s startup ecosystem. This experience allowed her to expand both her and the team’s views on the state of innovation and entrepreneurship in Queensland and the key challenges that need to be addressed. These insights made Tsai a reliable resource for the team in their efforts to understand their innovation ecosystem better.Image result for brisbane queensland

Here Tsai shares her experience and how it contributed to her personal and professional growth through a short Q&A:


  1. How will your experience with MIT REAP Team Queensland help you in the future?

“It was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. It was a period of time where I did a lot of self-reflection. The MIT REAP iDiplomat program allowed me to reconfirm my passion for innovation and entrepreneurship.”


  1. What did you learn from MIT REAP iDiplomat program?

“MIT REAP program offers a framework that analyzes the macro perspective of the whole innovation ecosystem. I have never looked at a startup environment using the framework taught at MIT REAP. This framework has completely changed my perspective. By learning to analyze the five stakeholders and the relationships between these key stakeholders, I was able to think about innovation ecosystems at a much broader and higher level.”


  1. What makes the MIT iDiplomats program unique compared to other programs?

“Unlike any other program, this is the only opportunity for MIT students to interact with different stakeholders who are at the top of their professional fields. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see a CEO, a Dean, and a Governor gathering all in one place to discuss important topics. And the fact that it’s set in a foreign country makes the experience all the better.”


  1. How did MIT REAP Team Queensland benefit from having you work with them?

“My educational background in startup and global entrepreneurship enabled me to understand the challenges and opportunities of startups as well as the latest technology. It also enabled me to dive deeper into the entrepreneurship ecosystem. I helped QUT – a member of the MIT REAP Team Queensland – to research, analyze, and interview entrepreneurs and ecosystem stakeholders. For QUT, I was a resourceful individual with a range of capabilities and ability to execute the tasks.”


Post by Sarah Jane Maxted, Nerminka Muslija, and Aye Chan (Ellie) Myint, MIT REAP