M. Anjali Sastry

Senior Lecturer, Management Science

Sloan School of Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Anjali Sastry is Senior Lecturer in System Dynamics at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Dr. Sastry explores organizational and managerial effectiveness in practical domains where the challenges are complex and the needs are pressing. Her work connects systems thinking, management, and design thinking with global health and action learning. Dr. Sastry’s grounding in system dynamics informs her research on business models and their scale, quality, and sustainability in frontier markets along with her study of practical management approaches for improving healthcare delivery in resource-limited settings. Building on 70 on-the-ground improvement projects in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, she designs and carries out field studies and impact assessments, develops cases and other materials for teaching, and conducts qualitative and operational research in collaboration with domain experts and frontline practitioners.

These research interests translate into teaching innovations at MIT Sloan. She has led dozens of teams of graduate students in GlobalHealth Lab, a popular elective class that partners every year with selected enterprises on the front lines of health care delivery. Built around the needs that partners identify, projects address management, operations, and strategy. Students work at MIT to design specific improvements that they then help implement on-site, working alongside enterprise staff. Now, Dr. Sastry is studying impact and refining a set of practical field-tested tools drawn from these projects. Press coverage includes features in the Financial Times, Forbes, and a widely-syndicated AP story, along with mentions by National Public Radio, the Times of India, and numerous other publications.

Dr. Sastry’s teaching experience includes undergraduates, MBAs, and PhD students; executive Sloan Fellows; both custom and open-enrollment executive education courses at Harvard, University of Michigan, and MIT; faculty development; and mentoring student entrepreneurs and researchers at MIT, Harvard, Tufts, Stanford, and Boston University. Her investment in teaching has led to a stream of ongoing research to explore how professional students learn from experience, practice, and action. She is currently at work on a book with Yasheng Huang on the disruptive educational and social impact of action learning.

Her professional experience includes management consulting at Bain and Company and research positions at Rocky Mountain Institute, where she worked in India, and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. As an assistant professor at the University of Michigan and MIT Sloan, she used system dynamics computer simulation to research imprinting in organizations, institutional theory, organizational learning, and patterns of change in organizations. Dr. Sastry’s research has appeared in Administrative Science Quarterly, Energy Policy, Corporate Reputation Review, and Technology Review.

Since 2011, Dr. Sastry has also been Lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She serves on the Board of Directors and is a member of the Executive Committee of global nonprofit Management Sciences for Health. She advises WonderWork, the Ashoka Foundation, and the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, among others, and is a frequent collaborator with colleagues from the Global Health Delivery Project at Harvard University, MIT’s D-Lab, the MIT IDEAS competition, the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, and the Global Business School Network.

Dr. Sastry’s first book, Parenting Your Child with Autism: Practical Solutions, Strategies, and Advice for Helping Your Family, combines her personal experience, study of the research evidence, and management expertise in a practical guide for parents (2012, New Harbinger Publications; with Blaise Aguirre). In November 2014, Harvard Business Review Press publishes her new book on designing projects for learning and innovation, Fail Better: Design Smart Mistakes and Succeed Sooner (coauthored with Kara Penn).

Anjali Sastry holds an SB in physics, an SB in Russian Language, and a PhD in system dynamics, all from MIT. for more on her global health work

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