FAQ

Application Process

WHO MAY 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, LU, PolyU)
  • Undergraduate students must be in their second year of study (sophomore year) or above.
  • We will evaluate all applicants as individuals.

CAN I APPLY TO MORE THAN ONE MIT HK NODE PROGRAM AT ONCE?

  • Yes, for the summer sessions you may apply to both MEMSI and MEFTI. However, if selected, you may attend only one of the two. Space is limited and so we are not able to accommodate the same person in both programs.

WHEN IS THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS?

See the home page of this website for key dates.

WHAT DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS INVOLVE?

The application process includes two parts:

  • A one-minute Youtube video where you tell us your name, major, university you are studying in, what you enjoy in your academic studies (especially around making and entrepreneurship), and why you are interested in joining this program. YOU WILL NEED TO 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 on-line application, which will take about 15 – 30 minutes to fill out (your mileage may vary).

We highly recommend that you save your responses in another file in case you run into technical difficulties completing the form.

If you like, you may download the full list of questions in the application form here.

WILL THERE BE AN INTERVIEW PROCESS?

Yes. Selected applicants will be contacted via email to arrange an interview. The interview will last roughly 10 minutes. It is designed to ensure you have the right mind and skill set to join the program, as well as give you the chance to ask questions and get any further information you need regarding the program.

WHAT ARE THE SELECTION CRITERIA FOR SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS?

Students who get the most out of the experience are strong in one of the skills needed for hardware entrepreneurship (be it entrepreneurship skills, business and finance skills, design skills, or hardware, software and system engineering skills), and are open minded and hungry to learn about areas that are entirely new to them.They are strong team players who work well collaboratively in a setting with huge time pressure. They respect people from other majors and with a different set of experiences, and are excited to learn from their peers as well as their instructors. They are driven to solve real problems and have a big impact on the world. They are here to learn – and are willing to work hard and do what it takes to get the job done.

HOW MANY PARTICIPANTS WILL BE SELECTED FOR THIS PROGRAM?

Following the interviews, we will select 10-15 MIT and 10-15 Hong Kong students to participate in the program.

IF I AM ACCEPTED, HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO DECIDE?

Startup bootcamps at the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node have always been significantly oversubscribed, with many more qualified candidates than we have room for. If you are accepted into this program, we ask that you respond within 48 hours of receiving your acceptance letter to let us know if you are committing to joining us or not. This allows us to move quickly to draw candidates from the wait list in the event you are no longer available. We understand that students need to formalize your plans as quickly as possible, and we want to make that easy for all potential participants. Thank you for your understanding.

DO I NEED TO BE AN ENGINEER TO PARTICIPATE?

No, not at all. Diversity is key in a founding team for a startup. Skills needed for a new hardware venture to succeed spans user experience and design, engineering, business skills. We have had very successful participants come out of humanities backgrounds. We are specifically looking 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. When we visit China, we will be accompanied by locals who are fluent in English. Students who can speak Cantonese and/or Mandarin will find that helpful, 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. We will ask you to think of the top problem you want to solve in the application form.

DO I NEED A TEAM TO APPLY?

No, this program is geared towards individual applicants. You will form teams at the start of the program.

IS THERE AN APPLICATION FEE?

There will be no fee to apply to the program. However, upon being accepted into the program you will need to submit a deposit to secure your place.

  • For MIT – this will be in the form of you purchasing your airline fare to Hong Kong, which will be reimbursed prior to your trip.
  • For HK – we will require a cash deposit of 1000HKD which will be reimbursed to you upon the completion of the program.

More details will be provided to accepted applicants after the interview stage.

The Program

CAN I WORK ON A PRE-EXISTING IDEA OR PROJECT?

Well… no. We have found that participants who come in with an idea they have already been working on don’t get the full experience of the program. The reason is that they have spent a lot of time on their idea already, and they have preconceptions that make them a lot less open to what the market or customer or their teammates have to say about the venture. For this reason, we designed the program to put the team before the idea – the team, once formed, will decide what idea they want to work on. We will run structured networking and brainstorming sessions to help the cohort form teams based on their interests in problems they want to solve.

HOW WILL WE FORM TEAMS?

We will run team building and structured networking activities and facilitate the team formation process. Each team will include 4-5 people, and must include at least one person from MIT and one person from Hong Kong. We strongly encourage teams to look at their skill set and also personal interests and attributes to ensure they have a diverse, robust team with skills and interests that span a wide range.

ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS ON THE KIND OF PRODUCTS I CAN PROTOTYPE?

No restrictions. You can build a prototype for any purpose and in any industry as long as you can show it is solving a real world problem and it can make a real world impact. Also, there is no requirement that the prototype is 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 TYPICALLY GO ON TO BUILD A REAL STARTUP BASED ON THEIR WORK AT THIS PROGRAM?

Our mission is to build entrepreneurs, not build startups. Whether members of a team decides to carry the project forward and continue working on it is entirely up to them. That said, we do have one example of a team that ended up incorporating and continuing to work on solving a problem that they first started solving at a MEMSI 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 COFOUNDER?

No. Startup Bootcamps at the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node are educational programs with a strictly academic mission. The project work completed during this program is considered an simulation. Working on a project in this program in no way entitles any participant to make claims about their cofounder status, or their share of founder equity, regardless of their contribution during the program, unless the team does decide to continue to work together, and the participant ends up being part of the core team to build the venture after the program concludes.

Should your team (or part of it) elect to move your project forward and form a startup, you can and should have deep conversations about who will and will not be part of this next phase, who are and are not cofounders, and what each person’s role, responsibility, contributions, and level of commitment will be. Any founder equity conversations will follow after you do this very important  ground work to build a founding team.

Once again, just being a part of a team in this program does not entitle anyone retroactively to a share of the equity in a startup created based on the team project. Your founder roles / responsibilities / equity discussions can start after the program concludes.

WILL I NEED TO BRING MY OWN EQUIPMENT?

Bring your laptop and mobile device(s). We will be providing a range of hardware such as Arduino boards, sensors, various IoT modules and a range of tools and equipment to assemble everything.

ARE THERE GOING TO BE PRIZES AT THE END?

Yes, at the showcase on the final day of the program, we will be awarding the top teams with prizes.

ARE THERE JUDGING CRITERIA?

Yes. We will share the judging criteria in the kickoff session for the program.

Travel, Accommodation & Visas

WILL ACCOMMODATION BE PROVIDED?

Yes, accommodation will be provided to all the participants, including those who are already living in Hong Kong. We are doing this to make sure the teams are able to make the best use of their time throughout the week.

WHEN CAN I CHECK IN AND CHECK OUT?

We will cover your hotel stay as follows.

  • Earliest covered check in date: Two days before the program start date
  • Latest covered check out date: 1 day after the program end date

If you like, you may extend your stay on either end of this duration at the same hotel at your own expense, and if the hotel has availability to accommodate your request.

WHAT ARE THE PASSPORT AND VISA REQUIREMENTS?

  • For MIT – You will need a valid passport that is valid for travel for at least 6 months after your outbound flight to Hong Kong. If you are a US citizen and need to apply, please contact the passport division of the State Department. Routine service requires 4–6 weeks. For further information and application instructions, visit the State Department’s passport website. The MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node team will be partnering with MISTI China to support students through the visa process, and will provide information upon acceptance to the program.
  • For HK – You must have a valid passport and have a valid visa to enter China at least 1 week before the program officially begins.

WHAT IS THE COST OF THIS PROGRAM?

  • Program and lodging costs are fully covered for students accepted to the program. Transportation cost for the Shenzhen trip is covered. For MIT students, this includes the plane fare to and from Hong Kong.
  • Students are expected to cover their own meals, local transportation, and incidental expenses.

HOW DO I MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS?

  • For MIT students: You will make your own flight arrangements and provide us with a proof of purchase / receipt or invoice, and we will reimburse you up to the reimbursement cap. Email us at memsi@mit.edu to discuss the reimbursement cap. We will work with you to make sure that your travel arrangements to and from the accommodations site are in place.

DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?

  • For MIT  We will be partnering with MISTI China to work with health insurance providers to make sure you are covered for the duration of your trip. In addition, MIT students are covered by International SOS for emergency assistance while traveling abroad.

If you have any other questions, please contact us here.

© 2018 MIT Innovation Initiative. All rights reserved.