From online course to master’s degree with MITx
Recent graduates of MIT’s Supply Chain Management blended master’s program share their journey from the online program to their time on campus
Getting a master’s degree at MIT is an unforgettable experience for talented, highly motivated learners worldwide. But not every learner who qualifies has the ability to move to Cambridge and devote multiple years to full-time study. Fortunately, MIT offers a series of pathways to accelerated residential studies in a number of different disciplines through the online MITx MicroMasters® programs.
MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics offers one such pathway through its blended Master’s degree program in Supply Chain Management. Applicable to a wide variety of industries and attracting a highly diverse group of learners, this track is open to anyone who has successfully earned the MITx MicroMasters® program credential in Supply Chain Management, offering an additional semester’s worth of in-person study at MIT, in the company of other members of their blended cohort.
“The point is to be at MIT–there’s something special that happens here that you just don’t get from online classes, and I wanted to experience that,” says Danielle Procter, who earned her undergraduate degree in sociology at Smith College, and has worked in a variety of industries, most recently in publishing at Penguin Random House in New York. Drawn to the “logistics side of things” in every job she’s had since college, Danielle first eased into the SCM program by taking a “one step at a time” approach to see how she’d fare in each course. Now that she’s completed the Master’s degree, she says the experience of learning online and on the MIT campus has given her new confidence in her ability to branch out professionally, and showed her that “there are more opportunities than I ever realized or gave myself credit for before.”
Tanveer Ahmed, who earned an undergraduate degree in engineering, was working for the Indian online retailer Flipkart when he decided to pursue an MIT microcredential. He knew he wanted “a global experience” for his master’s degree, but, unsure as to whether he wanted to commit to an MBA or other type of graduate program right away, found that the MicroMasters® program gave him the flexibility to ease in and discover what most drew his interest. Completing the certificate in about 18 months, he decided to “try his luck” applying to the master’s program MIT, where he graduated as part of the Supply Chain Management blended master’s cohort this June alongside Danielle.
For both Danielle and Tanveer, the most valuable element of the entire experience may be the lifelong friendships they’ve forged with a network of like-minded peers in the blended learning cohort. The two bonded immediately when Tanveer, days after moving to Cambridge for the residential component, recognized Danielle by her voice from their online classes when they ran into each other at a local grocery store. “The most interesting aspect is not just working with people from one culture, but working with people from at least 10, 15 different cultures,” says Tanveer.
Because many of the blended cohort members are balancing family responsibilities, full-time jobs, and other major concerns with their graduate studies, they share a particular outlook on their time at MIT. “The blended class is often a little older, so there’s more perspective there in terms of what we want to take advantage of in the experience,” says Danielle. But that doesn’t mean the mood within the group was always serious: Tanveer and Danielle both recall a memorable group outing last winter, where the cohort had a snowball fight on a frozen Walden Pond, organized by two classmates from Mexico.
For Danielle, a native of eastern Massachusetts, it was an opportunity to see her home region through the eyes of her international peers. For Tanveer, it was an opportunity to have an entirely new experience while creating indelible memories with a diverse group of friends and colleagues.
“A lot of us have made many meaningful connections with a lot of people from our [cohort], and those relationships, I think, will sustain going forward,” he says.