January IAP: Highlights of an Unforgettable Experience

Ludovic Bernard, ZLOG Class of 2016

Editor’s note: Today’s guest post is written by Ludovic Bernad, a graduate student from the MIT-Zaragoza’s Logistics and Supply Chain Management Master’s Program (Zaragoza Logistics Center, Zaragoza, Spain) and a fellow member of the MIT Global SCALE Network Class of 2016. Ludovic was gracious enough to share his experience of SCALE Connect, the three-week period in January in which students from all of our sister centers in the SCALE Network come to MIT for an intensive IAP program of workshops, competitions, classes, and tours.

This past January, most of us came to Cambridge, MA knowing that we would meet other members of the MIT Global SCALE Network, that we would have a chance to present our posters to the general public, and that we would be visiting different distribution centers. Yet, if there was one thought that all of us were sure to have, it was, “How cold will it get this year? Will it be as bad as January 2015?” Alas, while the weather was definitely not warm throughout the duration of the program, we all survived quite well and, on occasion, also basked in a few rays of sunshine.

The true value of the IAP program, SCALE Connect, lies in the network that we were able to create amongst the different SCALE members present. The different breakout sessions, and even more so, the APICS Case Competition (organized by the Boston APICS chapter, a U.S.  professional organization) and Fresh Connection (a supply chain simulation game we played over the course of IAP) teams enabled us to get to know one another on a more personal level, and in turn develop the bonds necessary for future contact. Some of our APICS and Fresh Connection teams won prizes, some of us wondered how we were going to be able to crack the “Fresh Connection,” and the rest of us just wondered what we needed to say to Di Orakol, “Earl of Mangoes, Lord of all the Fruitful Fruits,” in order to get his approval and go on with our fruitful lives (for all future students – you will understand this once you are here!).

Moreover, the IAP program also exposed us to many different industry speakers (CVS, P&G, Walmart, AB InBev, and more) who helped us see the link between our studies and the current business climate. This and the research teasers we had in the afternoons helped deepen our knowledge, while the leadership sessions we had helped to remind us how to work with different personalities on a day to day basis. Likewise, being able to visit Boston Scientific, Walmart, InBev, and Walgreens not only helped to see how each of these companies managed their supply chains, but also to get away from the confines of the MIT Campus.

Meanwhile, our Latin American friends from the GCLOG Program ensured that there was always a party somewhere on any given day of the week. And, while Peter Tsai, Karim Karameddine, and Renzo Trujillo of the SCM Program also organized events, I am confident they were just trying to keep up with the GCLOG Pace :). All of these events also created strong bonds between many of us, and by the time Research Expo 2016 came around, we were not only excited to present our findings, but to learn about our new friends’ research as well.

SCALE Class of 2016. Photo by Justin Knight Photography.

The end of our 3-week IAP session brought a melancholic end to an otherwise fabulous time spent at MIT. As a student of the ZLOG Program at the Zaragoza Logistics Center (ZLC), it was an absolute pleasure being able to meet everyone from the SCM Program at MIT, the GCLOG students, and the students at MISI. Yet, it has come to my knowledge that in years past, everyone would come to Zaragoza after IAP. Let’s see if we can make that happen again—Spain awaits you all!

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