What really excites me here at MIT – Living at Cambridge broadens your perspective on the world

Written By:  Stanley Park, SCMr Co2019

Take the opportunity to meet and listen to diverse people from various backgrounds.                                       

Before MIT, I was a management consultant in South Korea for six years. As I encountered complicated issues from various industries such as tech, advertising, and consumer goods, I was able to better understand the challenges big companies face and how to solve them.It helped me gain comprehensive knowledge of the business world.

Now I am in Cambridge, in the master’s program in Supply Chain Management at MIT. Through taking 58 course credits, staying up all night doing assignments, and working on a capstone project with a global consumer goods company, I have developed an in-depth knowledge of SCM. For example, I learned to optimize transportation routes in terms of lead time and cost. Also, as I focused on business analytics, I learned to use analytical tools such as Python and SQL to understand how data can be combined in the SCM field.

However, what really excites me about MIT is that I am able to see the world more widely. MIT is located in Cambridge, where the world’s brightest minds gather to teach and study. Along with MIT’s talented students and faculty members, there are so many people who motivate me intellectually. As they come from the fields other than SCM, they have been able to enlarge my world and influence my perspective on the world. Below are some people that I have met or bumped into during my time in MIT.

  • I drank couple of beers with a MIT post-doctoral in Artificial Intelligence. He talked about how the world will change in 2040 and how humans and machines will evolve. As humans might be able to store and back up the brain directly into a computer, they might able to achieve immortality beyond the physical body.
  • I ate tacos with a Harvard Ph.D. student in Neurology. I was amazed by the fact that there is a specific gene that may contribute to hatred for cilantro. This gene makes cilantro taste like soap.
  • I attended the lecture by Joseph F. Coughlin (Director of MIT AgeLab) during IAP. The lecture was inspiring in that it made me deeply think about the fundamental problems that our world faces: longevity. For example, how will the increased life expectancy impact the future economy and lifestyle?

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Longevity Economy and autograph of Joseph F. Coughlin

  • I listened to a discussion between two entrepreneurial founders of start-ups that were both founded by MIT SCM graduates. I learned that founding a start-up requires exceptional motivation as income fluctuates. Also, as both founders mentioned the power of spreading the idea, I learned that there are many people who could support and develop the idea together.
  • I drank whiskey with a Harvard Med School graduate who works at a hospital. It was shocking to hear that he occasionally worked up to 30 hours per day without sleeping.
  • I had a meeting with a student who worked for Humanitarian Logistics. We brainstormed about how to innovatively solve the supply chain issues for countries that have a hunger crisis. Especially, we focused on South Sudan, where a civil war is ongoing and where people have limited access to nutrients. As the foods were delivered by airdrop, we wanted to innovate the supply chain through applying technology (for example, unmanned aerial vehicle) and more appropriate methods.

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Identifying problems & brainstorming solutions for humanitarian logistics

  • I attended a business course with Sloan students and LGO students. We developed a report that compares the operation strategy of two leading furniture companies (IKEA vs. Wayfair). Our report will be used as a sample for future MBA students.
  • I met Googler, a friend who came to Cambridge for a business meeting. We compared the weather between Cambridge and Silicon Valley and discussed the voice recognition technology of smart speakers. She also invited me to her wedding!
  • Professor Yossi Sheffi, Director of MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, talked about sustainability in business. I learned that even though many customers “say” they want to spend more on “green” products, they rarely “pay” for those products. I think that the companies have to put more effort to promote sustainability, such as providing more practical benefits to the consumers.
  • I am writing this blog post in Cairo, Egypt. I am here to meet people from a global company and discuss problems and solutions regarding forecasting sporadic demand. In my free time, I explore the Pyramids, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
  • I helped film a video for a dental school graduate who came from Seoul. The purpose of the video is to show life after dental school. After filming, she and I had wine on a cozy sofa. She is my wife. I am so lucky to be in Cambridge with her.

Me, my wife, and Tim, the beaver

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