By Kristof Van Cauwenberghe, SCMb Candidate 2019

I’m a 40-year-old proud father of two boys. I’m a Belgian and work full-time job as an operations manager in a Chinese factory. I like to go play basketball and hang out with friends. So, what would drive me to spend about 8 hours a week on on-line learning?

Kristof’s family photo with his wife and 2 kids

The short answer to that question is “all of the above.” It’s because I’m a father and a husband. It’s because I’m a foreigner in China, and it’s because I always want to have time to spend with my friends, that I engage in online learning.

As much as I love my kids and wife, at some moments they can be a bit much to handle. That’s when I need some time alone to find answers the questions I’m struggling with. Besides this, I also find it important to set an example for my kids. I want to teach them and show them in practice that learning never ends. I want to show them that learning can be fun and that even dad sometimes must do homework. Both being an example for my kids and getting some quiet time for myself I can find when I’m learning online.

I like my job and I’m always trying to find ways to do it better. Since the internet became available, a world of knowledge has opened up. No more hassle convincing my boss that I need time off or that I need money to take a class. No more struggling with trying to follow in an all-Chinese class or realizing when I’m already in the class that it is not what I expected. Now if I want to know about something, I go to Google and YouTube. If I want to know more about the subject, I take an online course on edX. If that’s still not enough, I can go to offline classes. What’s more, now I now have good enough knowledge to select the best offline class out there. This is exactly the process I followed before I got accepted in to the Supply Chain Management Blended program at MIT.

Family and friends come first in my life. So, when they ask me to join them for a game of basketball, a drink or a day hiking, I want to be able to say yes. I also want to keep learning and, as Murphy’s Law dictates, the two times will always overlap. With online learning, this doesn’t have to be the case. I can take the lessons and tests at my convenience. I don’t have to disappoint my friends anymore, and I don’t have to choose between my family and my passion for learning.

Without online learning I would have never thought about applying to a world class institute like MIT. Without MIT I would never have had to opportunity to not only meet and work with the brightest people in the supply chain field but also call them my friends. I now have the knowledge to do a better job and the knowledge to teach my kids. I now have time to spend with my family and friends without sacrificing time to learn. If knowledge is power and time is money, then I would say online learning is one of the most value-adding things a person can do.

Leave a Reply