Taking a Drink from a Fire Hose
I was blessed being accepted on the MSCM program by MISI (Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation), the 4th MIT Global SCALE Network Center in Asia and being able to live in the same time zone as my family and my 3-year-old son back in Shanghai China. It is not an ordinary Master program like anywhere else, as a member of the second batch of this newly formed institute by MIT and Malaysia Government, we had the privilege to study in the most rapidly changing part of the world – Asia, and to study the elaborately designed No. 1 supply chain program created by MIT CTL (Center of Transportation and Logistics) taught by MIT affiliated professors.
For me this great learning adventure started with the following quote, which was shared by our rector Dr. Mahender Singh on Day 1 at the institute.
“Getting an Education from MIT is like taking a drink from a Fire Hose.”
MIT President (1971 – 1980) Jerome Weisner
I have found that this saying clearly speaks the truth; you can never get bored in the SCALE Network centers. After working as a project manager for 6 years, I have found huge benefits from learning new theories, practices and looking back at what I achieved and what I failed, and every day I kept learning something new from my professors, my readings, and my classmates who are from 10 different countries. This is the first time that I now truly understand the meaning of supply chain, the buzzword that has been talked about for some years both theoretically and within books and practical articles, cases and discussions. The good time (or busy time) always flies by so fast, when I suddenly realized, that it was the end of the fall semester. I had started my thesis project with a famous Germany automotive supplier, was on a 2nd round interview with an American e-commerce company for a senior project manager job, and I have now completed my family road trip plan in the western coast of America.
Still with the famous fire hose saying dwelling in my mind, on Jan 6th 2014, I walked into Building E25 of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), whisked snow off my shoulder, and suddenly found myself in a warm place full of cheer and laughter.That was the first day of the 2014 Independent Activity Program (IAP). All 116 students from the MIT Global SCALE Network centers had a unique chance to spend3 valuable weeks with each other. During the IAP, I listened to the latest research and findings from well-known professors, had fun as well as deep learning from well-designed supply chain simulation games, joined the student panel to interview the EVP of Starbucks,visited highly automated warehouses that served world-renowned brands and retailers,won the first place of 2014 APICS/MIT Case Competition, and shared my thesis project to researchers, faculties, and industry practitioners during the MIT Research EXPO night. More importantly, I experienced all these amazing events, sessions by teaming up with 3 other members from the SCALE Network where I gained highly intensive exposure to wisdom, different cultures, personalities, and experiences, and what’s more I formed many strong bonds with other future supply chain leaders (some of which are already seasoned managers with world-wide knowledge).
Now looking back over the past 6 months, I broke several life records of myself: (1) Five months, My longest time living in a city (Shah Alam in Malaysia) other than Shanghai (last time was 2 months in Framingham, MA in U.S. for my management exchange program) and it’s still accumulating; (2) 2400 miles, my longest driving distance completed in two weeks, almost 275 KM a day, from San Francisco, CA to Phoenix, AZ in U.S. ; (3) Half mile or 800 meters, the longest breast stroke swimming I’ve ever done, a fun thing to do when you can swim for the whole year; (4) -5 °F, which is -20 °C, the coldest weather I have ever experienced, in Chicago, IL, before I flew back to Shanghai. There are many other first timers, (1)First Rappelling, in a nice small Island when we achieved the “Outward Bound”team building in August 2013; (2) My First Toastmaster speech, at the first meeting of MTC (MISI Toastmaster Club); (3) First in a live NBA game, in TD Garden, Boston Celtics vs. Houston Rockets; (4) Lots of first*Country* friends: Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Italy, Turkey, Nigeria…
Well you see, studying at MISI and“drinking from the fire hose” is not all about study, it serves you with those great memories, experiences and friendships, which are definitely a remarkable cornerstone of my life-long learning journey.
Jiajun Wang (Stanley)
Class of 2014