One Last Time From Co2019

Written By: Geetika Tahilyani, SCMr Co2019

It was only yesterday when we wrote our first blogpost introducing the Class of 2019. It will pass in a blink they said, and it sure did. Walking to Killian Court on June 7th to commence 10 months of hard work, friendships and good times was an experience to cherish forever.

 

 

Image: Class of 2019 at the Commencement Ceremony on June 7th, 2019

Commencement was the culmination of our journey at MIT. As I look back, I am all nostalgic reminiscing our times spent together. From introductory hellos during the orientation to heart-felt good byes in the past few weeks, we have a come a long way.

From numerous weekends spent working on System Dynamics assignments to networking events to chase those dream jobs, from the fun at Tuesday Trivia and Thursday Karaoke at Thirsty Ear to day drinking at Muddy Charles, from game nights at the Warehouse to Game of Thrones finale screenings at the SCM Lab, from numerous capstone meetings to final research fest, from study treks in Panama to the west coast , from thanksgiving dinners to easter potlucks, from learning Supply Chain fundamentals  to struggling together with data science ( we survived in the end;)) , last 10 months were no less than a roller coaster of events and emotions.

 

 

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Image Slideshow: Last year in a nutshell

There were times when we struggled with courses, interview preparations and  recruitments. These were testing times but what made us come out strong was the willingness to help and lift each other. From tutoring sessions to mock interviews, our class was in it together.

We came to the program as a diverse group of students from all across the world and out we go as a collective class of responsible professionals and future leaders tied by the common bond that is MIT. Two weeks as alums, we have already had multiple reunions and we cannot wait to cross paths with each other in different parts of the country and the world.

 

 

                                                 Image: Alums from Class of 2019

We are thankful to everyone who made this journey a fun and a rewarding one.We chased our dreams, learnt our lessons and most importantly forged those friendships. It is time for the next chapter in our lives and for the new class to explore and share their SCM adventure.

One last time, signing off as:

Geetika Tahilyani, Co-editor SCMr Co2019

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One Last Time From Co2019

Networking in a Diverse World

Written by Neysan Kamranpour & Fadi Abou Chacra SCM graduate 2019

Networking in a diverse world (NDW) is one of the major center-points many experiences at MIT. Every project and group work gives opportunities for spontaneous NDW as you work with new group colleagues. The best conversations happen while you negotiate, discuss, and wrestle with relentless group projects that take up many hours of your time in the evening before they are overdue. During those discussions, you take brakes to bond with your fellow smugglers <1> over dramatic and often memorable experiences individuals have had in their lives. NDW these days enriches and broadens your horizons by opening your mind to new wisdom and humor.  

<1> Editor note: Smugglers is the nickname of MIT SCM candidates

Neysan and Fadi in font of MIT MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

When people come from around the world to learn at MIT, they bring stories from their home countries to share with everyone. The best part is the diversity of experiences, which often are impressive in magnitude and either very different, or similar, to your own. Sometimes, a long time can go by in conversations that are irrelevant to the assignment, but are very enriching and special in that they broaden your cultural horizons with customs you have never heard of before.

After a fulfilling quest at MIT with amazing peers who shared in the NDW experience, paths are now diverging and we will all go our separate ways. Nowhere else will so many cultures and backgrounds meet to NDW, but the global networks built by it will hopefully last a lifetime.

Networking in a Diverse World

Ever wondered if the weather will be ideal for wearing your Speedo at the MIT commencement ceremony?

Written by Brent McCunney, SCMb candidate 2019

When or When Not to Wear a Speedo at MIT

So, you are considering going to MIT for six months or more and cannot imagine going without getting your Speedo on and going for a run around campus? Or maybe you just can’t decide whether to bring a one-piece swimsuit, two-piece, Speedo, or board shorts for all the possible future MIT pool parties? If either of these questions has popped into your mind, read on and rest easy, for here we are going to answer both questions and more.

Winter

MIT has phenomenal opportunities for wearing a Speedo including the Zesiger or Wang center pools (Zesiger Center pool in image below) and any of the grass fields throughout campus. Although the weather is rather cool in the winter with average daily high temperatures of approximately 38°F (2°C) the Zesiger Center pools are indoors and open all year around. Sometimes MIT recreational sports such as water polo or innertube water polo close portions of the pool or MIT varsity sports such as swimming, diving, and water polo result in all of the pools being closed. But even with the closures there are typically periods of every day where the pool is available for open swimming. Given the availability of a wonderful indoor heated pool, wearing a Speedo is an option for any MIT student/graduate student throughout the entire year. Additionally, intramural and club sports are always available and very welcoming to any individuals looking for a reason to get their swimsuit on. MIT has something for everyone whether you are experienced or not, with physical education swim classes for many skill levels.

Image from: http://www.mitrecsports.com/aquatics/4-swim-safety-tips-for-summer/

Summer

If spending time in the pool isn’t enough time in your Speedo, there are plenty of grass fields located throughout campus to get your tan on. It might be a little cold in the winter, but May is absolutely perfect for some time in the sun. With average daily high temperatures of 69°F (21°C), the month of May presents many opportunities for getting together with a group and lying out in the beautiful grass or taking the time to go for a Speedo run around campus. Killian Court (image below), right in front of the great MIT Dome, has fantastic grassy and sunny areas for soaking up the sun.

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MIT_Killian_Court.jpg Attribution: Madcoverboy at English Wikipedia

Enjoy MIT

MIT may be rigorous and challenging but it also presents many opportunities for you to enjoy yourself. If you are looking for a place to expand and grow and still want to participate in sports and enjoy the pool, MIT is the right place for you. MIT has recreational sports, aquatic lessons, and free swimming available for everyone. Come to MIT for the academics and take some time to enjoy the leisure activities. I have taken the time to use MITs pools and gym as well as enjoyed the outdoors and every minute was worth it.

More information on the MIT pools can be found at: http://www.mitrecsports.com/

Ever wondered if the weather will be ideal for wearing your Speedo at the MIT commencement ceremony?

Choosing your subjects at MIT

Written by Oriol Rosales, SCMb candidate 2019

“Studying at MIT is like drinking from a firehose”: by now you’ve probably heard this famous MIT analogy plenty of times. Indeed, studying in Cambridge will feel like gulping from an endless stream of knowledge.

One of the many things you will have to complete during your first weeks at MIT (regardless of SCM Residential or Blended program) is enrolling in the courses that will allow you to graduate, this will allow you to control a bit the throttle of that firehose. There are basically two approaches you can follow when choosing what to enroll in at MIT, there is no better or worse, so let’s call them the “efficient” and the “holistic” way.

It all comes down to where you set your priorities in this exciting new phase of your life. If you want to focus on job-search, networking, researching for your projects and attending as many conferences as possible during your time on campus, then you may want to choose the former approach. On the other hand, if you really want to maximize the purely academic aspect of your learning, then (provided you spend enough time and research) all academic doors will be open for you at MIT. This latter way is nevertheless not free of sweat, disappointment, head-scratching, patience, rejection, and the necessary bit of luck too.

The efficient way of choosing subjects relies on a very useful tool programmed by MIT students called – pertinently – “firehose.”  This tool is a web-based scheduler, with which you can successively select courses, and will add up in a week overview (see image) where you can see how your weekly schedule potentially will look. This process is quite easy, in the case of SCM you have to successively add your mandatory courses first (which are non-negotiables in any scenario) to build the wireframe of your schedule. Then you add some SCM elective subjects up until the required number (see SCM curriculum here). Until this point you should have no schedule conflict, as Maria J. Saenz, Josue Velazquez and the team make sure that all SCM lectures fit. Now the most important setting in Firehose is to click on “Fits schedule”, this will make sure that any further subject added in your search does not conflict with your existing plan. Finally, you can search any keyword (“Artificial Intelligence”, “Entrepreneurship,”etc.) and choose a couple of other subjects up to a limit of 65 credits per semester.

Figure 1: Firehose class scheduling for Spring 2019

As you will see, this method will lead you relatively quickly to a feasible solution for your class scheduling problem. But as you should know from Chris Caplice’s optimization lecture in edX by now, heuristics can get stuck on local maximums, while there may still be your global “academic” maximum out there.

In order to discover this global maximum, you will need to look further at the full solution space. This includes shifting around some subjects, discarding some previously selected ones, and even getting into a bidding war for Sloan credits. The full course catalog of MIT is available here. Just make sure in the MIT course catalog to filter for courses offered in your year and semester.

Now, when you thought you had all bases covered… let me multiply that choice by 4. MIT offers not only their own course catalog mentioned above, but also cross-registration with 3 other major universities in Boston and Cambridge — including a crimson-colored one, up the street from MIT — so you will meet in some of your classes and assignment groups students from other local universities cross-registered at MIT.

As for my unconventional choices beyond the pure SCM curriculum, to give you an example: I am taking a class in Human Augmentation at the Media Lab called Human 2.0. I can only say that the class is as fascinating as the MIT professor’s TED Talk online, which is how I found this course. I am also enrolled in a Sloan Class on Mergers, Acquisitions and Private Equity. It’s quite MBA / finance-oriented and I got in via the waitlist, but it is a deep personal and professional interest of mine, and the professor is amazing at fostering discussions in class. Finally, I’m taking a class at Harvard on “Urban Innovation: Using Technology to Drive Change”, brilliantly taught by former Indianapolis Mayor and NYC Deputy Mayor Professor Stephen Goldsmith.

In summary, no matter what your interests or preferences are, you will surely find courses at MIT that will challenge you and enhance your learning experience beyond Supply Chain, provided you put some effort into finding them and use the right tools.  

Choosing your subjects at MIT

What you could get out of the MIT SCM Master

Written by Fiona Cheng and Alison Zhang

Opening our emails, the offer from the SCMb program jumped out and shone in our eyes! After rubbing our eyes, we realized: yes — it is not a dream! Along with packing and saying “See you soon”  to friends, preparing for coursework selection is significant homework. We wanted to experience as much as we could in the 5-month-long program. In this blog, we want to help you by reflecting on how we selected our courses, and then share some of the courses that we are taking this semester.

How We Selected Our Courses

We knew each other before coming here through a Telegram group* . Talking to each other, we reflected a lot:

What are our purposes for coming to the MIT SCMb program? We all come here for the academic excellence, diverse and amazing classmates, and alumni network. But everyone could have a different background and roadmap for their endeavor at MIT. Reflecting on our purposes and being ready for the coming “firehose” maximized the selection of coursework beforehand.

Fiona: I was working at a startup company in international trade before coming here, and I will continue this journey upon my graduation. Ay coursework focused on the strategies and processes to set up an innovative company as a result:

  • SCM. 268 Data Science and SCM. 255 Machine Learning for Supply Chain Management because the future of business, especially business related to supply chain management, will be data-driven.
  • 15. 618 Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Startups and the Law introduces different law-sensitive issues for creating an innovative-intensive venture
  • 15.390 New Enterprises introduces a systematic and disciplined processes to hypothesis, verify and improve a new venture so that it can attract paying customers and grow naturally.

Allison: My interest lies in logistics and how to improve logistics performance with technologies such as  digitization, AI, and robotics. Although I had plenty hands-on training in my job, I still wished to have more systematic and structural training in transportation.  SCM. 293 Urban Last Mile Logistics and SCM. 266 Freight Transportation are at the top of my list, offering full coverage of theories and methodologies in transportation.  Regarding automation and AI, I take SCM. 268 Data Science and SCM. 255 Machine Learning for Supply Chain Management.  It’s such a vast area that I decided to grow more leaves by attending the lectures, forums and conferences.

Suggestions on the process of selecting your courses at MIT

Sleep, Study, Social — choose two out of three! Your energy is precious, so make sure you make the best use of it here at MIT! Here are our suggestions on course selections.

Be intentional: MIT offers different attractive and exciting courses related to supply chain management, but you will burn out if you try to take them all. Focus on your purpose and be mindful. Think twice about what you want before choosing classes. 

Here is a detailed framework of how to choose courses. Imagine you are building your knowledge and skills tree: your core competence is the trunk of the tree,  and other relevant knowledge and information are the leaves.  Let’s think this way: your long-term goal is your purpose. If we identify certain core knowledge and skills to achieve our purpose, that is the trunk that we want to build in our MIT journey. You could select them as your classes to fill in the gaps. What about the add-on knowledge? They will be the complementary knowledge or skills that could expand the trunk in the long term.

Figure: Building Your Skillset Tree with MIT SCM Classes

Plan your workload. After you grab the pieces that you want to learn, you need to check the section times to make sure that there will not be schedule conflicts. Be careful about the workload:  MIT study is not a walk in the park. For some courses that are the leaves on your knowledge and skills tree, consider adding them as a listener if you are worried about the workload for your trunk.

Last but not least, MIT has minimum credit requirements and the SCM program has both minimum credit requirements and elective requirements for graduation. Double check that you meet these requirements.

Figure: Process for Selecting the MIT SCM Courses

Here are some introductions to other classes:

  • SCM 291 Case Studies in Supply Chain Management  focuses on how to use supply chain management as a strategic tool for an organization. Students learn how to align managerial decisions with company strategy to create innovative supply chain solutions. 
  • 15.762 Supply Chain Planning introduces concepts and models to plan inventory replenishment, risk pooling and inventory placement, integrated planning and collaboration, and information sharing.
  • 15.871 Introduction to System Dynamics  changes the way you think about problems. This subject teaches you to link your actions towards consequences and provides a more wholistic view on problem solving.
  • 15.320 Strategic Organizational Design studies how to analyze and improve a company’s current organization, and  introduces a framework to design increasingly cheaper and faster communication flow regarding materials, information and finance

Still struggling with what to choose? Here is the final tip: go shopping!  At MIT, you’re allowed to make your add/drop decision no later than the second Friday after the class begins. Attend the first one or two classes in which the lecturers will give students a general introduction to the class and explain their expectations.  In our observation, busy shoppers dashing from classroom to classroom generally will settle down and happily attend their classes of choice in the first week.

Explore the sea of knowledge at MIT with your aspirations!

What you could get out of the MIT SCM Master

California Love

Written by Nelson Calero, SCMb Candidate

California Love

View of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, California from atop the Gap building

I will preface this by saying that I’m an East Coaster, born and raised.

Often the “friendly” debate over which coast is better can become contentious, both sides offering bold claims about the merits of their beaches, mountains, people and food. Through MIT SCM’s Study Treks (which have been discussed by my peers in earlier posts), the opportunity to travel west was presented. Once I found out I would be venturing out to California, specifically Los Angeles and the Bay Area, I knew I had to set aside pride and be ready to embrace what the West Coast had to offer.


Departure from Boston (Nelson Calero, Pratik Yadav, Juan Martinez, SCMb ’19) and Arrival in Los Angeles

Our trip began in sunny Los Angeles (a whole 50 degrees F warmer than Boston!).  Our Los Angeles leg of the trip consisted of trips to Matson Shipping, SpaceX, and Niagara Bottling. At SpaceX, they have a very simple yet very challenging mission: “…to revolutionize Space Technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.” The very bright folks at SpaceX supply chain live by that mission with exemplary vigor, and channeled that enthusiasm during our visit. Below you can find a picture of SpaceX’s Falcon 9, which has traveled to space and successfully made its way back.


Yao Zhang, SCMb ’19 in front of the Falcon 9

Niagara Bottling is impressive in a different way – while they aren’t aiming to fly to space, they aim to keep us here on Earth hydrated with high quality, value priced water. The 56-year-old water company has state of the art facilities that make them a powerhouse in the bottled water market.


Arun Nagarathinam, SCMb ’19 holding his Niagara water bottle in front of Niagara

During our Bay Area leg of the trip, we visited ABB, Tesla, Google, Flex, and Gap. Visiting ABB, Tesla, and Flex provided us a snapshot of the innovations occurring in Silicon Valley – with ABB’s leading research in robotics, Tesla’s awe-inspiring commitment to moving the world towards sustainable energy, and Flex’s wide industry experience that produces innovations with incredible agility.


SCM ’19 Class in front of Tesla in Palo Alto

Google and Gap enlightened us on how their respective industries leveraged the power of supply chain to support not only the growth of their companies, but to also support as strategic enablers in both organizations. At Google, a company firmly rooted in the tech sector, the principles of supply chain are applied in very unique ways to support both the (traditional) physical and digital supply chains. At Gap, supply chain differentiates the company in a highly competitive market and continues to make them successful.


Richard Serra sculpture at the Gap in San Francisco, photo credit to Oriol Garcia, SCMb ‘19

From a personal perspective, the West Coast culture of pushing the envelope in terms of moving the world forward was invigorating: the people care about making big changes in our world and are immovable in their missions. As supply chain graduate students at MIT, we all hold the belief in our hearts that we will change the world. The professionals and companies we met hold that belief as well and exemplify our motto – Mens et Manus – or “mind and hand.”


Picture leaving SFO; See you Next Time!
California Love

Optimizing Your Resources through Maximizing MIT Amenities (Regular free food at MIT)

Written by Kevin Chu, SCMb candidate

Bertucci’s Pizza. Commonly found at MIT events.

Like most college campuses, MIT events with free food are everywhere, with generally three types: regularly scheduled events, special events, and people getting rid of leftovers. Special events are quite well advertised (Sloan events are great), but won’t always line up with your schedule and the free food mailing list is usually hit or miss. In contrast, regular free food events are reliable and rarely have pizza (despite the above picture). That’s great, though, since you’ll likely have more pizza at other events than the last few years combined.

Muddy’s Wings Night (Wednesdays, 8pm, Muddy Charles Pub)

Wings (spicy and barbecue), vegetable dumplings and an assortment of vegetables (carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers). Enjoy with $6 pitcher of beer. Do note that Wings Night does not normally occur during January, but this year they started in the third week of January.

Tip: If you’re vegetarian, you’ll want to be there right at 8pm as the dumplings are always the first to go.

Ashdown Coffee Hour (Thursdays, 9-10pm, Ashdown House)

It’s called Coffee Hour, but I’ve never actually seen anyone drink coffee at this event. People come for the wide selection of fruits, salad, chips, guacamole, cookies, pastries, crackers, cheese, and cured meats. About half an hour in, the empty bowls will get replaced by cake and ice cream (they won’t announce it). If you want free food, this is arguably the best event to be at.

Tip: You’ll want to get there early if you want the fruits (particularly the berries). People will start lining up 15 to 30 minutes early and the fruits are the first to go.

Ashdown and Sidney Pacific Brunch (Sunday, once a month for each residence 12pm)

By far the most popular free food events on campus, the line spans the whole hallway (sometimes across doors) before the event starts. Typical brunch foods such as bacon, waffles, eggs, mashed potatoes, salads, and fruits galore. There’re usually more people than seats available though, so be prepared to go elsewhere or stand to eat if you get there late.

Tip: Join the Brunch Committee and you’ll get to eat before everyone else.

Sloan Evening Classes (varies depending on course schedule)

Sloan evening classes always serve dinner as well. However, registration for Sloan classes is done through a bidding process and you won’t want to use your precious allotted points just to secure free food. If there is a class that you want in the evening though, this serves as a bonus!

Tip: There’s usually leftovers at the end of class. Combined with the special events and free food mailing list, you can likely cover a quarter of your meals with free food. The only question is: will it conflict with your schedule, or could you have so many pizza?

Optimizing Your Resources through Maximizing MIT Amenities (Regular free food at MIT)