To SCM, or not to SCM, that is the question:

Have you reached a point in your life when you felt the need to learn more? This moment where you decide that what you are currently working on is good, but not great…and you need a change.

My advice: consider the option of going back to school. The secret is to find the right graduate program.

Why should you choose the SCM program over an MBA program?

Soft versus technical Skills

While an MBA program will offer you a wide variety of business courses and electives, most of the students I talked to are doing it for almost the same reasons: networking and a good 2 year break from work! The Supply Chain Management (SCM) program, officially known as a Master of Engineering in Logistics, offers specific courses for students interested in supply chain management and logistics. This program is a perfect balance of soft and technical courses where you learn everything you need to know about the supply chain of today’s world. The best thing in this program is the fact that you can customize it based on your interests. Every semester, you will have required core courses (that are very interesting) and an infinite list of elective courses that you can choose from in two different ways. I tend to think of it as a breadth versus depth approach: picking electives from different areas or becoming an expert in a specific industry.  (You can check the SCM and MIT website to have a better idea of the courses offering).

2 years versus a 1-year program

The SCM program is a 10-month program that officially starts in September, but actually starts in August with an intense orientation program that will help you better attack the core courses. Think of this program as one of the best investment you can make in your life. You will stop earning money (a little hard at the beginning, especially if you have been working for a long time) and will be spending a significant amount of money, but after one year of hard work, you will end up with a degree from MIT and a better job. Comparing the SCM program to an MBA program: smaller payback period and higher return on investment!

400 students versus 40 students

If you ask any SCM alum about the best thing of this program, they will all have the same answer: “the people in the program.” The fact that the number of students in each class is around 40 (versus the huge MBA classes of around 400 students) makes it like a big happy family.  I didn’t understand it until I arrived on campus and met my family: 39 people who will always be ready to help you and support you in anything you need. If you are having difficulty with homework, if you need help to practice your interviews, if you need a ride to the airport, if you lose your phone, If you need a sport’s partner… there will always be someone willing to help you. And the nicest thing is that they will offer to help you even before you ask for it!

Why should you choose the SCM program at MIT?

Apart from the fact that you are taught by the BEST professors who are experts in their areas, the SCM program is structured in a unique way where you learn more than through courses:

Thesis:

You will have the opportunity to partner with a company to solve a problem they are currently facing. This year, around 20 companies came to campus and “pitched” their problem statement. Eventually, 2 students team up and choose a topic which interests them and will work hand-in-hand with the company. This was also a very good networking opportunity, since students would go out and socialize with the companies at the end of every company presentation.

Trip:

Every year, a trip is organized to visit a specific country in order to learn more about supply chain and logistics. This year, Panama will be our destination, where we will visit the Panama Canal, ports, factories, warehouses, etc…  Excellent opportunity to learn the supply chain from another perspective, to have a hands-on experience, and to have some fun time with your friends!

MIT Global Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence (SCALE) Network

The MIT Global SCALE Network consists of four centers across the world (MIT in the US, Zaragoza Logistics Center in Spain, Center for Latin-America Logistics Innovation in Colombia, and the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation in Southeast Asia), each with its own graduate program. During the month of January, students from the MIT Global SCALE Network travel to MIT. During 3 weeks, we will have the opportunity to meet each other and to work together. Moreover, throughout the year, SCALE students work in teams on a project across time zones and oceans, since each team is composed of a student from each center: “Supply Chains are global, study them globally”

Recruiting opportunities:

The SCM program has an amazing dedicated recruiter who has one goal: to find you the perfect job. Companies constantly come to specifically recruit students in the SCM program. And if a company that you are interested in is not there, there almost always will be an SCM alum who is working there and who would be willing to help you.

When I first started writing this blog post, I wanted to write something that would be useful for prospective students. I hope I reached my goal.

In summary my point is: Best program, Best professors, Best people. If you are interested in supply chain and logistics and want to learn more, just do it.

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To SCM, or not to SCM, that is the question:

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