In one of our core supply chain classes this past semester, Logistics Systems, our professor, Chris Caplice, briefly discussed bridge theory. While this point was made in relation to loading shipping containers, it made me reflect on the last few months here at SCM. With recruiting in high gear and final exams and papers due over first two weeks of December, we all seem to be at our load bearing maximums. Yet as we turn to register for the next semester, it’s a game to see how many more courses we can take in our limited time remaining.
One of the final remarks that Competitive Strategy professor, Don Sull, left us with in our last class was that MIT will basically let you do anything. He was joking, referencing how early and late we can join or drop a class and a few other examples, but he was also making a very real point.
There are so many incredible courses and professors to experience, both within our program and within the larger institute. Every professor has been so incredibly wonderful, and every topic seems like something I’ll be able to use in the working world later on, so how do I choose with only a few elective credits left to fill?
I learned more than I ever thought could possibly fit into my brain in three months with Chris Caplice – do I take another course from him? I really enjoyed the logistics unit within that class – do I take another logistics course? Supply chain finance really helped me see things from another perspective – do I take another finance course? The options are endless, which is both a blessing and a curse.
Thankfully, we have some phenomenal core requirements for SCM, which helps guide the decision-making process along the way. Coursework includes logistics and supply chain, finance and/or economics, systems dynamics, and case study based learning. This leaves time for about two to four electives throughout the year, depending upon the student and if the courses run the full semester. There are many electives within the Engineering Systems Division (where our program sits) and many more throughout the rest of the school from which to choose. Ranging from leadership to logistics to urban planning to service operations, the problem is never whether or not there is an interesting course but if there is time to take more than one or two.
So, a piece of advice for any incoming students – try everything! To Don’s point, MIT will let you get away with it all. Sign up for too many classes, try them out for a week, and then select the few that really call to you (warning, there is extra online paperwork needed to drop a class.) Do the same with extra-curricular activities. Identify your goals and passions, and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Some will be able to do more, some less, but you need to focus on what is necessary for your personal happiness and success and, most importantly, what interests you.
And, by the time you are reading this, I can finally say congratulations to the 2015 SCM class on finishing their first semester! You should all be so proud of what you have each accomplished this semester, and I hope you are resting and gearing up for round two.