WHO CAN APPLY?
- Undergraduate and graduate students in degree-bearing programs at MIT or any of our partner universities in Hong Kong (CityU, CUHK, EdUHK, HKBU, HKU, HKUST, LingU, PolyU)
- Undergraduate students in their third year of study (junior year) or above are recommended to apply.
- We evaluate all applicants as individuals.
WHEN IS THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS?
- See home page for application details.
WHAT DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS INVOLVE?
The application process has two parts:
- A one-minute Youtube video where you tell us your name, major, university you attend, what you enjoy in your academic studies (especially around making and entrepreneurship), and why you are interested in joining this program. YOU MUST UPLOAD THIS VIDEO TO YOUTUBE BEFORE YOU START FILLING OUT THE APPLICATION. Please make sure the Youtube video is not listed as Private; you can list it as Unlisted if you would like to exclude it from search engines.
- The online application which takes about 20 to fill out (we highly recommend that you save your responses in another file in case you run into technical difficulties).
WILL THERE BE AN INTERVIEW PROCESS?
Yes. Selected applicants will be contacted via email to arrange an interview. The interview will last roughly 15 minutes. It is designed to ensure you have the right skillset to join the program, and to provide you with the chance to ask questions and get any further information regarding the program.
WHAT ARE THE SELECTION CRITERIA FOR SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS?
Students who feel they get the most out of the experience are usually strong in one of the skills needed for entrepreneurship (such as entrepreneurship skills, business and finance skills, design skills, or software and system engineering skills). They are:
- Open-minded to new fields and expertise.
- Demonstrate an interest in the fintech space.
- Strong team players who work well collaboratively under pressure and within short time frames.
- Respectful towards those from different cultures, backgrounds, experiences, races, age groups, and fields of study.
- Driven to solve real-world problems that will have a positive impact on the world.
- Willing to put in the time, effort, and hard work to get the job done, no matter the obstacles.
IF I AM ACCEPTED, HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO DECIDE?
Within 48 hours of receiving your acceptance letter. Startup bootcamps at the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node have always been significantly oversubscribed, with many more qualified candidates than we have room for. We understand that students need to formalize plans as quickly as possible, so your decision allows us to move quickly to draw candidates from the waitlist in the event you are no longer available.
DO I NEED TO BE AN ENGINEER TO PARTICIPATE?
No. Diversity is key in a founding team for a startup. Skills needed for a new venture to succeed spans user experience and design, engineering, business skills. We had very successful participants from humanities backgrounds, and we strive to build a diverse cohort – not just with engineers.
DO I NEED TO BE ABLE TO SPEAK CANTONESE/ MANDARIN?
No. The program will be conducted in English. Students who speak Cantonese will find it helpful to get around in Hong Kong, but it is not a requirement.
DO I NEED AN IDEA TO APPLY?
No, you don’t need to be already working on an idea to apply. Admitted applications will be tasked to solve a real-world industry challenge proposed by one of our industry partners. The application form will ask you of a problem you want to solve to better understand where you’d like to make impact.
DO I NEED A TEAM TO APPLY?
No, this program is geared towards individual applicants. We will assign students into teams at the start of the program.
IS THERE AN APPLICATION FEE?
There is no fee to apply to the program. However, once accepted into the program, you must submit a deposit to secure your place in the following format:
- For MIT students: You must purchase your airline fare to Hong Kong, which will be reimbursed after your trip. We will communicate the reimbursement cap in due course.
- For HK students: A cash deposit of HKD 1000 which will be reimbursed to you upon completing the program.
CAN I WORK ON A PRE-EXISTING IDEA OR PROJECT?
No. Participants who come with preconceived ideas don’t get the full experience of the program, because their remade plans make the person less open to new input on what the market, customer, or teammates have to share with them. This program is designed to put the team before the idea — once the team is formed, then each team will collectively decide on what idea to work on within a given industry challenge prompt.
HOW ARE TEAMS MANAGED?
We run structured team building and brainstorming sessions to help each team identify roles to assume in the project, based on their interests in project management or fostering positive team dynamics. Each team will include 5-6 people and must include at least one MIT student and one student from a Hong Kong university. We strongly encourage teams to look at their skillsets, personal interests, and attributes to ensure they have a diverse, robust team with skills and interests that span a wide range.
ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS ON THE PRODUCTS I CAN PROTOTYPE?
No restrictions. You can build a prototype for as long as it solves a the real-world challenge prompt. It is not required for the prototype to be a complete first step towards a new product – it can showcase the user experience of the new product, or show how a part of that product might work.
WHO OWNS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS TO MY PROJECT AT THE END?
Anything you create and build is yours to keep. MIT has no exclusive rights to anything created during the program.
DO TEAMS GO ON TO BUILD A REAL STARTUP BASED ON THEIR WORK AT THIS PROGRAM?
Our mission is to create entrepreneurs, not build startups. If members of a team choose to carry the project forward and continue working on it, it is entirely up to them. As an example, we have had several teams that ended up incorporating and continuing to work on solving a problem that they first started solving at a MEMSI of MEFTI session.
IF A STARTUP IS CREATED BASED ON MY WORK AT THIS PROGRAM, WILL I GET A SHARE OF THE EQUITY AND BE CONSIDERED A CO-FOUNDER?
No. Startup bootcamps at the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node are educational programs with a strictly academic mission. As such, the project work completed during this program is considered a simulation. Working on a project in this program does not entitle any participant to make claims on a co-founder status, or their share of founder equity, regardless of their contribution during the program.
If your team (or part of it) decides to form a startup with your project, you should discuss who will/will not take part in the next phases, who will/will not be the co-founders, and what each person’s role, responsibility and contributions will include — founder equity conversations usually follow such ground work questions. Otherwise, just being a part of a team in this program does not entitle anyone retroactively to a share of the equity in a startup based on the team project. Your founder roles / responsibilities / equity discussions can start after the program concludes.
DO I NEED TO BRING MY OWN EQUIPMENT?
Bring your laptop, mobile device(s), and chargers.
ARE THERE PRIZES AT THE END?
Yes, the top teams will be awarded with prizes at the showcase which takes place on the last day of the program.
ARE THERE JUDGING CRITERIA?
Yes. We will share the judging criteria in the kickoff session for the program.
Information on Travel, Accommodation & Visas
WILL ACCOMMODATION BE PROVIDED?
Yes, accommodation during the program dates and airfare travel between Boston to Hong Kong will be provided for participants in this program.
For any further questions, please contact us here.