Of Snow, Friendships & Learning

Written By: Priya Andleigh

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Early in January, as the storm deposited a fresh layer of snow on the MIT dome, preparations continued in full swing at the Centre for Transportation and Logistics for Independent Activities Period (IAP). After all, 107 students from SCALE centers in Latin America (GCLOG), Europe (ZLOG) and Asia (MISI) were joining us for an action-packed 3 weeks!

As we welcomed our friends from around the world to Cambridge, little did we know that one-part snow, two-parts group projects with a sprinkle of field trips would be a perfect recipe for cross-continental friendships.

Days began on a high note with an impressive line-up of speakers, with senior leadership from renowned companies – GE, Walmart, BASF, AB InBev and Flex – sharing their supply chain wisdom with us. Speakers from various schools at MIT fascinated us with everything from 3D printed airplane engine parts to demographics of the future. It was a privilege to listen to not just the inspiring speakers but also the enriching discussion with such a diverse audience.  There were ample opportunities to put all the learning to practice. One of the first group projects was the Boston APICS Case Competition. In teams comprising students from different programs, we wore our entrepreneur hats to seek innovative applications of new technologies such as Blockchain, 3D-Printing, Internet of Things etc.

As teams battled through, a simulation game “Fresh Connection” was introduced to us. We were handed a company struggling to make profits and had to turn it around in 6 rounds! Sounds daunting? Oh it was, but with the whole package of learning and excitement. Using our supply chain knowledge was important, but communicating effectively with our team was key. As some of us felt the pain of negative ROIs while others reveled in their company’s rising profits, the game taught us how to function well as a team. Lessons learnt during our leadership communication workshops certainly came in handy.

When not fretting over the financial statements of our fictitious company (with VERY real prizes at the end!), we visited warehouses and distribution centers around Boston to see supply chains in action. There was something for everyone – a visit to Walgreens DC, AB InBev Brewery, Amazon Robotics, Quiet Logistics and Boston Food Bank. To top it all off, we got an opportunity to present our research projects to the supply chain community during the flagship event – Research Expo 2017.

Along with bonding over academic activities, we stole some time for letting our hair down (my Spanish song knowledge achieved new heights, thanks to our Spanish and Latin American friends!). And lo and behold, 3 weeks flew by. The snow around us had melted, as had our program boundaries. IAP had not just helped us enhance our supply chain knowledge and hone our leadership skills, but also given us many new friends, and even more memories.

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First Impressions and Orientation

Andy Brown Class of 2017

Orientation may actually be a bit of a misnomer; it’s probably more accurately of a reorientation to university than anything else. We had our famous day at Thompson Island, and then it was down to learning, relearning, and working. But when orientation was over, what I remembered most was making 42 new friends.

The day of orientation was what you might imagine: Bruce talked to all of us, gave us the requirements, and made a few jokes. We laughed, we ate together, we made as many friends as we could. The second day of orientation was our annual trip to Thompson Island. A clear, hot day in August, we all boarded a ferry and were treated to a different view of Boston and Cambridge than we had previously seen. Filled with leadership and team-building exercises, the day on the island was spent getting to know new people and trying your best to remember everyone’s name. Of course Maine Lobster was served afterwards, and we all laughed at everyone who had never had a lobster before struggle to understand how to eat it. By the end of it, tired out from activities and well-fed from the dinner afterwards, most people knew each other’s names and at least a little bit about them.

The following Monday, we were thrown into the deep end. Team work and individual homework assignments on both new and old subjects were assigned regularly; by the end of orientation, I had worked (or at least visited) with almost everyone else in the class. We had exercises on how to speak and write, and ultimately get the best job. We shaped our stories, got comfortable with each other and groups, and really spent time just learning the right way to speak to potential employers.

Even now, I don’t remember the exact assignments. I remember that some were harder than others, and that sometimes I felt short on time. I remember studying for the final test and realizing that I had to remember how to actually study. But what I remember was working with my new friends for the next year, procrastinating about the work while pretending to do it, instead getting to know each other better. I remember getting hot pot for the first time with a few experts. We made time to do some exploring in Boston, like walking the freedom trail.

Ultimately, orientation is about working together as a class. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and everyone had assignments in both columns. Teamwork made everything achievable and friendship made it fun and worth it.

First Impressions and Orientation

Hello from the SCM Class of 2017!

We (Caroline Bleggi & Patrick Scott) cannot wait to share the perspectives and experiences of this year’s Supply Chain Management cohort.

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We could not have a more diverse or talented group of professionals. We have students from Kazakhstan, Finland, Singapore, China, and Brazil – and that’s only the start. Prior to joining the Supply Chain Management program, one classmate was leading sailors under the sea while serving as a submariner in the United States Navy. Another was assembling a team for a new tech startup. While our classmates are undoubtedly accomplished, they are also welcoming. Bruce, Kirsten, and Sue do an excellent job of building community within the SCM family and the Center for Transportation and Logistics as a whole.

The great strength of the program is the SCM family. You will hear ideas and analysis from classmates with a foundation that ranges from oil and gas to Disney. Each individual brings a unique perspective that shapes our cohort. Although we came to MIT from different countries, educational backgrounds, and cultures, the connection and friendships began before first day of orientation. We frequently have Salsa Fridays and Dim Sum Saturdays This past Saturday we even went apple picking as a class.

From Day 1, the program is packed with action. Outside of classes, thesis sponsor presentations, recruiting activities, and events around Boston leave no down time. This program creates a truly tight knit group with close friendships developing almost overnight.

We hope to share the community within the SCM program through our blog posts this year. Expect to see posts about the application process, SCM vs MBA (as well as MBA + SCM), orientation, life in Boston, thesis experience, and more.

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The MIT Sustainability Certificate: Unlocking the True Power of Supply Chains

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Tao Zhang, SCM Class of 2016

Rishi Gohil, SCM Class of 2016
Rishi Gohil, SCM Class of 2016

The world is at a crossroads – populations and economies are growing on pace to exceed the resources available. Yet despite human ingenuity and an ever-changing technological landscape, on a planet with finite resources, this growth is inevitably unsustainable. In fact, the grave social and environmental effects emanating from these growth dynamics are already inescapably evident. Such a complex and critical problem demands a swift and coordinated response by governments, private enterprises and individuals alike, to ensure that future generations enjoy just as much promise and opportunity as we do today.

Continue reading “The MIT Sustainability Certificate: Unlocking the True Power of Supply Chains”

The MIT Sustainability Certificate: Unlocking the True Power of Supply Chains