Spring Break before Spring Break

Co-written by Ronald Veldman and Nate Moison MIT SCMb candidate 2019

So you’re telling me I get TWO weeks of “Spring Break” AND it is mandatory? This place really is Heaven on Earth.

If we’ve learned one thing at MIT, it is that a break is never truly a break, and there is always a firehose to drink from. There are always opportunities to learn from diverse professionals, experience a variety of industries, and network with alumni —even under the façade of a pre-spring break trek. For the SCM program, that means an industry Study Trek. Ronald and I had the opportunity to participate in the inaugural trip to the Pacific Northwest of the United States. We enjoyed a wide-range of industry tours and opportunities to connect with both MIT and SCM alumni in Los Angeles, CA; Seattle, WA; and Portland, OR. And for anyone who tells you that it always rains in Seattle, we have pictures to prove the opposite.

Left: Pike Place Market, Right: Mt. Rainier visible over CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA

We are going to highlight some of the great experiences we had and how they enhanced our time here and allowed us to feel more connected to the university, the industry, and the alumni network.

Though the Seattle Trek is the newest program, it didn’t limit the number of impressive companies that we could visit. Historically, the Center of Transportation and Logistics (CTL) at MIT has strong relationships with their CTL partner companies. The line-up this year consisted of Matson, SpaceX, Niagara Bottling, Amazon, Vulcan, Nordstrom, Nike and Maxim Integrated.

Two highlights during our company visits were our tours at Matson Shipping and Maxim Integrated. Matson Shipping is an ocean carrier providing niche, strong ocean shipping services to Hawaii, Alaska and Asia. The tour allowed us to walk around the terminals and see the operations in action during a sunny LA day. Here we are posed with one of Matson’s vessels.

MIT SCM Tour Group in Front of Matson Vessel

Moreover, we could enter an actual vessel and make a visit to the machine room as well as take a look from the captain’s point of view in the great cabin. 

At Maxim Integrated we entered a totally different industrial environment  offering us an insiders’ look into the high-tech sector. Maxim operates in the semiconductor industry and produces integrated circuits (IC), which requires production in a clean room. Our entrance into the cleanroom involved us dressing up in clean room outfits, which led to some hilarious situations.

Suiting up to enter the Clean Room at Maxim Integrated

Alumni Interactions

             For us, one of the most valuable portions of this experience was the opportunity to both formally and informally interact with alumni.  Every single organization or web site visited had the smiling faces of  alumni  ready to greet us.  And, as you read above, we visited some very impressive organizations.  This reinforces the influence and strength of MIT and, in particular, the SCM Program.

Tour Group inside the Amazon Spheres, Seattle, WA

Alumni were there for us every step of the way, through:

  • numerous panel discussions at Amazon (all staffed by alumni),
  • a compelling presentation about the humanitarian efforts of theWorld Food Programme by Chelsey Graham (SCM ’14)
  • thorough history and tour of Nike World Headquarters

Just to name a few.

The commitment and engagement of the alumni is infectious. We look forward to being able to carry the torch for future classes, to further strengthen and expand the network and change the world!

Ronald and I both highly recommend participating in the Seattle Trek for all future classes.  It exceeded all of our expectations and is a truly memorable experience.

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