Written by Eugene Sohn
On the first day of the orientation, one thing you notice right away is the diversity of your classmates. They come from different cultures, industries, and even generations. I was awed by the diversity yet afraid it might hinder my ability to connect with them and make new friends. That fear vanished on the second day of the orientation when we traveled to Thompson Island, just off the coast of Boston. On the island, we played a game to learn about our leadership style, and we were encouraged to practice different leadership styles to get out of our comfort zone. With that lesson in mind, we participated in various team building exercises such as Human Calculator, Spider Web, and Rock Climbing, etc. Imagine you are rock climbing for the first time and you are getting belayed by another person who’s also never climbed before. You’re forced to trust the other person! After a full day of those activities, you leave the island with newly forged friendships.
GSC Orientation 2017
In addition to MIT SCM activities, Graduate Student Council held GSC Orientation events from August 28th through September 5th. The events included grad panels from various departments on topics ranging from academics to social, a Boston city tour, a Cambridge pub crawl, White Mountains hiking, apple picking, and the OneMIT Banquet. Through these events there are endless opportunities to meet graduate students outside of SCM and learn about what they do. For example, there is no other place where you casually learn about a nuclear fusion reactor at a pub other than in MIT.
Academics: Analytical Methods for SCM and SCM Leadership Workshop
To prepare for the rigorous semester, we took two courses during orientation: Analytical Methods for Supply Chain Management and Supply Chain Leadership Workshop. The analytics course is a foundation for all things you will learn in the fall (and probably spring) semester. You want to do well in this class. The course is very fast paced, and we struggled often as a class. Through those struggles we formed deeper relationships, and I learned what MIT SCM was all about: one big family helping each other. The analytics course can get intense, so if you have some time prior to the program, I highly recommend taking the SC0X Supply Chain Analytics online course. I personally only had time for completing through Week 3, but that helped me tremendously during the orientation. You can thank me later.
The SCM Leadership Workshop was more manageable. We learned about different leadership styles, gave a 2-minute speech, and most importantly, played the infamous Turducken game that almost ruined all of those hard-earned friendships. I won’t give away any more details, but all I have to say on the Turducken game is that the chicken farmers were anonymously reported to the FTC for price collusion (ahem, Justin).
Near the end of the Orientation was a final exam where a lot of students including me stayed up late trying to digest the exorbitant amount of information our instructors had thrown at us. Although the exam was difficult, we all got through it and celebrated happily afterwards.
Oh boy, where do I begin? If there is one thing to be said about MIT SCM Class of 2018, it’s that we know how to have fun. Although we were busy with recruiting and academics, we always found some time to take a break and partake in activities such as sailing, Ashdown Dance Party, Karaoke. If you want to know more about things to do in Boston, one of our alumni wrote an extensive article about it.
So, what is it like to go back to school? Well it’s a lot of work, a lot of fun, and a lot of great people. You get to make lifelong friends and possibly future roommates. In five years, looking back, I know I will be reminiscing about all the struggles and fun we had together as a class.