Chileans at MIT, and a note on Becas Chile

Written By: Javier Urrutia

Javier1

Bienvenido a MIT! Congratulations on your admission to the SCMr program – or if you are still thinking about applying, get it done!

I guess you might have some concerns about flying 8000+ km from Santiago to Boston.

Sure, if you like the sun and beaches you might be in for a rough time once fall sets in, unless you are coming in from Punta Arenas – then you might even like it.

Seriously, it is a long distance from home. But you will find a welcoming environment here. Most of the cohort will be in the exact same position as you.

Chileans at MIT

Though it might be unlikely to find a fellow countryman in the cohort, there is a large Chilean community at MIT and in the Greater Boston area.

Today you can find about 90 of us in a Chilean-MIT WhatsApp group. Most are MBA students and their Significant Others (SOs), but there are some undergraduates and PhD students as well, from different fields and doing very interesting research. With them, you can feel right at home.

The first big holiday you will miss is “18 de septiembre”, but the Chilean community will have you covered, including some good empanadas. Above you can see the picture of the MIT crew at the Fonda (Chilean-themed BBQ), organized right here in campus. This community will also organize welcoming parties, Christmas dinner, and other events through the year. Make sure you join!

Another organization you should get to know is ChileMass. Not only will they organize interesting presentations and such events; they act as a matching agent, promoting collaboration between Chile and Massachusetts. The key areas of focus are Energy, Technology, Education and Venture Capital. I encourage you to contact them now if any of those areas are of your interest.

Becas Chile

If you are concerned about the Becas Chile scholarship. Unlike an MBA, the SCMr program is eligible for the International Masters Scholarship.

I submitted my application categorizing the program as Subarea OECD Economics & Business, and WOS: Management Sciences and Op. Research, this will ensure you get 5/5 for the most important evaluation criteria.

Now if you do get the scholarship, I would recommend you don’t wait until the final signature (from Contraloria). Go ahead and present the documentation for sponsored billing – because if you are not aware, know that bureaucracy can sometimes be “rather slow” and the outstanding billing emails can be stressful.

If you have any other doubts about the program, the city, Becas Chile, or anything else, just find me online and ask me about it. Welcome to MIT. Exito!

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Javier Urrutia, SCMr class of 2019

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Chileans at MIT, and a note on Becas Chile

Why a mid-career professional decided to go back to school

By Lance So, SCM blended Candidate 2019

Top Left: Great Dome of MIT; Middle: class discussion; Right: Ashdown house.
Middle Left: MIT Student ID; Right: First snow in Cambridge
Bottom Left: Area Four Pizza. Middle: Instant noddle, part of busy student life. Right: Charles River view from Sloan building (E62)

I am a mid-career, supply chain professional working at Maersk, a Fortune Global 500 company, with a good job and pay. Like most mid-career professional, I also have lots of responsibilities to my family. As a Chinese, this covers my parents, my wife and my lovely 5-year-old daughter. Deciding to pay a considerable amount of tuition fee and cease earning is never easy at this stage of life.

No job in supply chain today will be secure

However, as a professional who has taken advantage of the last two decades’ technological advancement, I fully understand that no job in supply chain today will be secure in 10 years from now without adapting to the latest environment. We shall see many technologies in the research lab or in pilot today: AI, machine learning, robotics, autonomous cars and block-chain could shape the future supply chain industry’s landscape.

Lifelong learning to remain competitive and relevant

The need for lifelong learning becomes obvious: I need to remain competitive and relevant. Experience alone would not be able to beat graduates who are younger and equipped with the latest skill set that is sought by future employers.

MicroMasters to blended master’s degree path made it an easy decision

In 2016, I heard about MITx, which offers the MicroMasters program via one of the biggest Mass Open Online Courses, MOOC platform edX. The credential itself covered half the curriculum of the #1 ranked MIT master’s degree program. Candidates who successfully completed the credential could apply to the blended MIT Master’s program, which only takes 5 months on campus in Cambridge.

The new MicroMasters to blended master’s degree path made it an easy decision to go back to school. With a considerably lower cost, a shorter time span, it offers a similar learning experience compared to the traditional residential program students.

The blended program also admits a very different profile of students, MIT admission neither requires them to take the GMAT/GRE test, nor even looks at the undergraduate GPA (I barely graduated from my first degree). Performance in the five online courses and comprehensive final exam substitutes for these items. This allows learners with non-traditional backgrounds and education to enter the SCM master’s program.

Great learning experience and rewards

During my study in the MicroMasters, learning was not the only reward. I have met up and made friends with other online learners in Hong Kong and South China. Five of them ended up in the blended master program and I believe many more will be there in later years.

I also serve as a CTA, community teaching assistant, who helps the course lead to answer students’ questions in the course’s discussion forums. This helps keeping the community engaged and have a better learning experience that many MOOCs are lacking. This role helped me know better about how a MOOC is executed, know the MITx team and, most rewarding part, to get acknowledgment from students on our effort.

In September 2018 I also took part in The Fresh Connection global final, organized by Inchainge B.V., a leading supply chain simulation game and executive training firm. Together with my teammates, I earned a free trip to Milan, Italy. This was an unexpected reward when I took the MicroMasters course.

Looking forward to continuing the journey on campus

I had arrived on campus in January. Every week new exciting things happen. For example, the APICS business proposal competition and my capstone project would likely become proposals that I could propose to my employer when I graduate. It proves going to MIT is one of the best decisions in my life.

If you have question about the application or the program, please feel free to connect with me or email me at lance@lanceso.com

Why a mid-career professional decided to go back to school

Time-Saving Tips for the Challenging One Year

Written By:Hao Wang and Ai Zhao

It’s challenging to attend a one-year program and we know it! Want to save your time to have some more time to study, look for a job or just relax? Here are some tips for you.

A deadline is looming, and your team has an intensive day to submit the assignment before midnight. When you wake up the next day, there is another deadline waiting for you. This is the true life at MIT, especially during this 10-month master’s program: a race against deadlines. Here we come up with some tips for time management based on our experience. Hope it will be helpful for you to enjoy the time on campus!

Make a reasonable schedule. It is fascinating when you come back to school and find out so many things worth exploring: classes in different fields, sailing on the Charles River, and partying with new friends. Class reviews and feedback from seniors are useful when selecting courses. A reasonable schedule is one way to make you productive and to have a balanced life. Just remember to plan sufficient buffer time for interview preparation since interviews may be more time consuming and intensive than the classes. You can use Firehose for a nice course plan! But don’t fully trust the website, it sometimes has errors on time or classroom. https://www.firehose.guide/

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Start early. Things can take longer than expected, especially for system dynamics or data mining assignments. Additionally, if there is a call for on-site interviews, you may have to squeeze in time for preparation and postpone the start time for the assignments. This is a reinforcing loop for catching deadlines. Always start early, plan early, and do not push to the last minute to wrap up everything, so you have time to polish your work and make the best deliverables.

Save time on groceries. MIT shuttle service offers easier access to more nutritious food options. There’re two types of shuttles: Costco/Target Shuttle and Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods Market Shuttle. Costco is great for bulk purchases, while Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are better for organic foods. During the academic year, the Costco/Target Shuttle only operates on specified Sundays, but the Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods Market Shuttle is available every Sunday. If you choose Costco, make sure you get enough food until the next trip. Check for more information here: http://web.mit.edu/facilities/transportation/shuttles/grocery.htm

School is quite different from your job, and it takes time to transition back to school. Although there is a more flexible time schedule, you have a much broader scope and diversified portfolio. Instead of one or two projects at a time, you may have to deal with five projects on five different teams. Multi-task skills and teamwork are critical. We hope these recommendations will be helpful to you as you enter MIT.

Hao Wang, SCMr2019                       Ai Zhao, SCMr2019

Hao is passionate about supply chain management, especially about the network design and data analysis

Ai is a fan of data-driven supply chain and coffee from Sloan cafeteria

Time-Saving Tips for the Challenging One Year

Why I was never ever ever ever going back to MIT…until I did!

By Ali Heuser, SCM Blended Candidate 2019

On the best days, MIT is the most fun and terrifying roller coaster on earth.  On the worst, it’s fight club…and you’re losing.  You hate to love it, love to hate it, count down the seconds until graduation, and miss it fiercely when you are gone.  MIT is hard…really hard, but nobody said the best things in life were easy.

“I am done with school forever!”

–Me, Friday, June 7, 2013 (MIT Graduation Day #1)

“I am never going to get a master’s degree.”

–Me, some time in 2015

“I am only going to take the MicroMasters classes.  There is NO WAY I go back to campus for the blended program!”

–Me, February 2017 (Half way through SC1x)

“I’M GOING BACK TO MIT!!!!!”

–Me, Tuesday, May 15, 2018 7:45pm

“We told you so.”

–My Parents, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 7:46pm

The beaver on my brass rat is facing out, because I graduated with my bachelor’s degree.  The beaver on the grad rat is facing in, because I haven’t graduated with my master’s degree, yet. 
Photo Credit: Liz Shafir (MASc Supply Chain Management, Class of 2019)

To be clear, when I call MIT a fight club, it’s you against the Institute, not other students.  Your classmates are in your corner.   You do feel beat up, though.  And when you get back on your feet, you also realize that MIT is the most magical place on earth, except perhaps Hogwarts (if Hogwarts were packed full of Hermiones). 

 As we walked into Killian Court on graduation day in 2013, that magic was alive and well.  Looking up at the iconic dome I was in awe…and I was relieved.  I was also soaked and cold; it poured rain for most of the ceremony.  The paramount conclusion of 4 years of sweat, love, tears, and triumphs was finally here.  Not even cold rain could ruin it.  I was proud, and I was exhausted.  I loved MIT, and I was letting it go.

Photo Credit: Meghan Kenny (B.S. Chemical Engineering, Class of 2013)

Why am I back?  Great question!  The seed of change was planted in early 2016 when I was hired as a production scheduler at a chemical plant.  I felt at home at the plant, but not so much in the supply chain department.  I couldn’t have defined supply chain management if I wanted to.  And without really thinking about it, I turned to MIT for help.  I searched EdX.org for supply chain classes and stumbled upon SC0x.  I signed up at once!  When I learned about the MicroMasters program I probably said something like “That’s nonsense; it’s not a real degree” under my breath.  Upon completion of SC0x I went right into SC1x.  This MicroMasters thing was making me better and more comfortable at my job.  I was calculating safety stocks like a boss and made plans to finish the MicroMasters.  When I had completed 3 classes, and was deep in the throes of SC3x, I was invited to SCM Bootcamp and attended in August 2017. 

I felt the spark the minute my foot touched campus.  My nerdy soul was awake and I didn’t even realize it had been asleep.  Supply Chain Bootcamp was an intense week filled with case studies, fast friends, thrilling lectures, tireless group projects, and the all-too-familiar sleep deprivation.  Everything I loved and hated about MIT was packed into a single week.  And at the end, I wanted more.  I was home for a minute, but I wanted to be home forever.  Applying to the blended program was my plane ticket back.  Even though I will only be on campus for 5 months, I will always be a part of MIT’s global supply chain community.  And this time, when I graduate, I won’t let it go. 

So now I am doing one of the hardest things any MIT student has ever done: admitting that I was WRONG!  The MicroMasters IS a real degree.  It is a rigorous curriculum full of applicable concepts and a theoretical understanding of Supply Chain Management as a field.  Thanks to the MicroMasters staff, I feel well prepared as I enter my first and final semester as an SCM master’s student at MIT. 

I did come back to school and to MIT!  On June 7, 2019 (exactly 6 years to the day since the first time), I will once again be sitting in Killian Court looking up at the dome.  Hopefully the weather will be better, but I know the feeling will be the same!  I will be surrounded by friends, family, and magic celebrating the culmination of years of hard work and the start of more hard work to come.  I didn’t come back to MIT because it was easy.  I came back because it was difficult, AND worth it!  I have learned that hard work is always worth it!

I came back to MIT and I would do it again…maybe I even will!

(But I will never ever ever ever get a PhD.)

Ali Heuser

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Bachelor of Science, Chemical Enginnering, Class of 2013

Candidate – Master of Applied Science, Supply Chain Management, Class of 2019

Why I was never ever ever ever going back to MIT…until I did!

Guide to On-Campus Graduate Housing Selection Designed for SCMers

Written By: Li Ge

Spoiler alert! This is a personal guide on your on-campus housing selection that focuses on more non-cost related aspects for the 10 months life at MIT with real data. The reason I am writing on this topic is that I was very glad to know one alum who gave me great advice on where to stay. I hope this blog will be helpful for people who do not know anyone from the earlier classes and is currently hesitating as I was.Ashdown

Ashdown

Source: studentlife.mit.edu/housing/graduate-family-housing/graduate-residences

Before you start reading into this blog, go to the bottom part of it to find links to the official websites(https://studentlife.mit.edu/housing/graduate-family-housing) of MIT graduate housing, where you will find comprehensive information regarding the rent, address, room type, size, furnish type, etc. for residence available on campus. Since this blog is going to share more personal feedback on living experience from the class of 2019, that information will not be included here. First lesson before coming to MIT: do your research. 🙂

Sidpac

Courtyard View of Sidney-Pacific

Source: https://studentlife.mit.edu/housing/graduate-family-housing/graduate-residences/sidney-pacific

Now that you are ready to keep reading, let me throw out some statistical data points collected using a survey of the class of 2019. In this survey, 33 out of 42 residential program colleagues shared their housing information, which should be significant enough to tell the real distributions of this class. 88% of us stayed on-campus and no one regretted their decision (Figure 1). 100% of us won the dorm bidding, although not necessarily during the first round, so if there is a rule of thumb, I’d say not to include in your bid any residence hall or room type you do not like.

Data

Figure 1. On/Off-Campus Survey Results

For details about each residence hall, I segmented them below so you can easily find the ones you are interested in. We have a nice distribution among all available buildings this year (Figure 2).

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Figure 2. Distribution of on-campus locations – class of 2019

Most favorite residence halls – Sidney-Pacific (SP), Ashdown, Warehouse (Figure 3)

These three buildings are basically next to each other and all have the furnished efficiency room choice available. As you can imagine, they are great places to get together for group projects and parties! The only thing we have been complaining about this year is the distance to the lab, which is the place we spend the most time in – it is a solid 20 minutes’ walk from any of these three halls. The good thing is that we can either ride a blue bike(https://web-cert.mit.edu/facilities/forms_secure/Hubway-NewMembership.pdf) ($35 a year after student discount) as there is a dock downstairs at SP or take the EZ-ride, a free shuttle service on campus. More perks are listed below for these three halls, so if cost is not too big an issue for you or you don’t want to spend too much time on housing research, just put these three halls in your bid!

  • Spacious rooms (compared to the other dorms)
  • Free events: monthly brunch, intercultural social events, interest groups, free outings (movies, baseball games, ice skating, etc.), dance parties, etc.
  • Front desk services (receive/return packages, airbed/tools/iron/game/movie lending, etc.)
  • Closeness to colleagues
  • 10-minute walk to Central Square (where the closest grocery stores are)
  • Everyday trash pickup
  • Gym
  • Tuesday trivia night and Thursday Karaoke night (Thirsty Ear bar in Ashdown)
  • Queen size bed (only in Warehouse)Data3Figure 3. Pool on the favorite residence halls

 

Closest to the SCM lab – 70 Amherst

One thing you definitely want to know is that this building, although doesn’t sound like it has a legitimate name, is the CLOSEST non-family residence to classes. However, this might be the only value it adds to the dormitory building. It is a relatively old building and, for single rooms, the bathrooms and kitchens are in the hallway. Also, since most of the class live on the other side of the campus, you may not get to attend many late-night events. There are not many grocery shops nearby, but the Kendall Square subway station is within 5 minutes’ walk. If you are not a morning person and do not pick on living conditions a lot, this could be an ideal place for you to live in.

Known for the not very much appreciated conditions – Tang Hall

Tang Hall is a far place on campus as it’s not as close to classes or to most colleagues or anything else. Since the building is very old, it is not a very fancy place. However, the building is very tall and by the Charles River, so if you are lucky enough, you will have a great view!

Edgerton

This building is about 3 minutes’ walk to the SP neighborhood and is not very popular for our class this year. It is close enough to most activities in this case and also close to Mass Ave. One thing specific to mention is that the 4-bedroom apartment has really spacious living room. It would be a great choice to know more people and host guests.

Family housing – Eastgate & Westgate

If you are planning to come here with families, you would be eligible to live in these family buildings. The conditions are not ideal, but both of them have many family events. Eastgate is literally a one-minute walk to classes and although Westgate is pretty far, it has kids’ playgrounds! Also, both buildings offer daily trash pickup.

In addition to these family buildings, the school has opened some pilots for couples to stay in single rooms. Check those out through the link at the bottom!

Lastly, to quickly touch upon some advice from the current class for off-campus housing search venues, I have listed the most used interfaces below.

  • Craigslist
  • Facebook Boston housing group
  • Zillow

Hopefully I have covered the things you would like to know before the bidding process. If there are more questions regarding specific residence halls, feel free to email me at lige@mit.edu and I’d be happy to connect you with someone staying in that building. Good luck getting your first preference on housing!

Official Websites for Graduate On-Campus Housing:

List of Graduate Residences (https://studentlife.mit.edu/housing/graduate-family-housing/graduate-residences)

How to Get Housing (https://studentlife.mit.edu/housing/graduate-family-housing/get-housing)

New! Couples Housing, Roommate Selection Westgate Efficiency Pilots (https://studentlife.mit.edu/housing/graduate-family-housing/grad-housing-pilots)

 

Ge

Li Ge, SCMr Co 2019

Guide to On-Campus Graduate Housing Selection Designed for SCMers

What really excites me here at MIT – Living at Cambridge broadens your perspective on the world

Written By:  Stanley Park, SCMr Co2019

Take the opportunity to meet and listen to diverse people from various backgrounds.                                       

Before MIT, I was a management consultant in South Korea for six years. As I encountered complicated issues from various industries such as tech, advertising, and consumer goods, I was able to better understand the challenges big companies face and how to solve them.It helped me gain comprehensive knowledge of the business world.

Now I am in Cambridge, in the master’s program in Supply Chain Management at MIT. Through taking 58 course credits, staying up all night doing assignments, and working on a capstone project with a global consumer goods company, I have developed an in-depth knowledge of SCM. For example, I learned to optimize transportation routes in terms of lead time and cost. Also, as I focused on business analytics, I learned to use analytical tools such as Python and SQL to understand how data can be combined in the SCM field.

However, what really excites me about MIT is that I am able to see the world more widely. MIT is located in Cambridge, where the world’s brightest minds gather to teach and study. Along with MIT’s talented students and faculty members, there are so many people who motivate me intellectually. As they come from the fields other than SCM, they have been able to enlarge my world and influence my perspective on the world. Below are some people that I have met or bumped into during my time in MIT.

  • I drank couple of beers with a MIT post-doctoral in Artificial Intelligence. He talked about how the world will change in 2040 and how humans and machines will evolve. As humans might be able to store and back up the brain directly into a computer, they might able to achieve immortality beyond the physical body.
  • I ate tacos with a Harvard Ph.D. student in Neurology. I was amazed by the fact that there is a specific gene that may contribute to hatred for cilantro. This gene makes cilantro taste like soap.
  • I attended the lecture by Joseph F. Coughlin (Director of MIT AgeLab) during IAP. The lecture was inspiring in that it made me deeply think about the fundamental problems that our world faces: longevity. For example, how will the increased life expectancy impact the future economy and lifestyle?

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Longevity Economy and autograph of Joseph F. Coughlin

  • I listened to a discussion between two entrepreneurial founders of start-ups that were both founded by MIT SCM graduates. I learned that founding a start-up requires exceptional motivation as income fluctuates. Also, as both founders mentioned the power of spreading the idea, I learned that there are many people who could support and develop the idea together.
  • I drank whiskey with a Harvard Med School graduate who works at a hospital. It was shocking to hear that he occasionally worked up to 30 hours per day without sleeping.
  • I had a meeting with a student who worked for Humanitarian Logistics. We brainstormed about how to innovatively solve the supply chain issues for countries that have a hunger crisis. Especially, we focused on South Sudan, where a civil war is ongoing and where people have limited access to nutrients. As the foods were delivered by airdrop, we wanted to innovate the supply chain through applying technology (for example, unmanned aerial vehicle) and more appropriate methods.

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Identifying problems & brainstorming solutions for humanitarian logistics

  • I attended a business course with Sloan students and LGO students. We developed a report that compares the operation strategy of two leading furniture companies (IKEA vs. Wayfair). Our report will be used as a sample for future MBA students.
  • I met Googler, a friend who came to Cambridge for a business meeting. We compared the weather between Cambridge and Silicon Valley and discussed the voice recognition technology of smart speakers. She also invited me to her wedding!
  • Professor Yossi Sheffi, Director of MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, talked about sustainability in business. I learned that even though many customers “say” they want to spend more on “green” products, they rarely “pay” for those products. I think that the companies have to put more effort to promote sustainability, such as providing more practical benefits to the consumers.
  • I am writing this blog post in Cairo, Egypt. I am here to meet people from a global company and discuss problems and solutions regarding forecasting sporadic demand. In my free time, I explore the Pyramids, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
  • I helped film a video for a dental school graduate who came from Seoul. The purpose of the video is to show life after dental school. After filming, she and I had wine on a cozy sofa. She is my wife. I am so lucky to be in Cambridge with her.

Me, my wife, and Tim, the beaver

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What really excites me here at MIT – Living at Cambridge broadens your perspective on the world

The Winding Path of a Lifelong Learner

Written by: Jeff Maloney, MIT SCM Blended Master Candidate

There are people who love school and would look forward to each Monday morning with excitement. Then there are people for whom the mention of the word “school” fills them with anxiety and memories of long suffering afternoons watching the clock. I was one of the ones who counted down the minutes until I was set free. So, what would have compelled me to return to school after so many years and so many memories of restless afternoons? It is the same personality trait that has shaped so many decisions in my life and has had a profound impact on my career path. Despite my lack of affection for school, I have always been insatiably curious, and compelled to understand the world around me. I love to study the fundamental interactions around me and gain perspective on how small reactions can lead to large changes. And for those who love knowledge there is no better place to be than MIT.


As you might expect from someone who loves to learn but didn’t love school, my path to MIT was far from linear. From a studying biochemistry in undergrad, to working in combustion engineering, to finally landing upon supply chain, my work experience appears as a seemingly disconnected series of careers. The result of incongruous life choices and random happenstance, I now find myself surrounded by those who, like me, were driven to learn. However, if you look at my past from the perspective of a lifelong student, it starts to make a little more sense. A constant throughout my journey has been the pursuit of understanding. For each new role I found myself in, I would immediately be looking for a solution to the business challenges. And through learning about and solving these business puzzles, seek a greater understanding of the environment around me.


When I came across an opportunity to work in supply chain, it was a natural match for someone who is looking to challenge their understanding and learn more about the world of business. As someone with no prior experience in supply chain, I had a lot to learn, but was told that the key to success in supply chain was being a good problem solver. It quickly became apparent that successful practitioners of supply chain are continuously learning. With complex systems to coordinate, stakeholder relationships to manage, and new technologies and software to master, there are endless opportunities for personal growth and intellectual development. Supply chain careers tend to attract the type of person who seeks both insight into how a system operates and understanding of what it takes to implement that knowledge.


If I considered myself fortunate that I found a career in supply chain, when I learned of the online supply chain management program through MITx, it was divine intervention. Before me was an irresistible opportunity: learn more about supply chain as taught by the number one program in the world and the possibility that if you perform well enough, you might be invited to campus to study with other like-minded learners. The blended online/on-campus program seemed purpose built to cater to life-long students like me. The opportunity to study on my own time and at my own speed ensured that I would never be watching the clock. As so often is the case, the further down the path I went, the more I realized that I didn’t understand, which only stoked my curiosity more.


I know that when this program ends, it will not be the end of my education. The questions raised in classes and through discussions with other students here cannot be answered in semesters or even years. The pandora’s box that I’ve opened by coming to MIT will have me pursuing understanding for the rest of my life. Now as I sit here, surrounded by other people who have the same innate curiosity and made the same decision to ask the questions and seek the answers, thought it may not have seemed like it at the time, I’ve been on the right path all along.


Jeffrey C. Maloney
SCMb 2019
The Winding Path of a Lifelong Learner