A GROUP of Malaysian students from the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (MISI), based in Shah Alam, travelled to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, the United States to take part in the Independent Activities Period (IAP) from Jan 13 to 31.
They are Chang Kock Shong, Lau Tzen Yik, Khoo Ter Yang (Steven), Siok Looi Tan, Chithra Govindan, Sofia Shazlin Salleh, Shaun Kin Choy Wong and Andrew Pung Heng Xian.
Hosted by MIT, the eight Malaysian students are currently studying the part-time Masters of Science in Supply Chain Management (PSCM) programme at MISI.
These high achieving students were then selected by MISI’s academic committee, based on them meeting three key criteria namely a high Cumulative Grade Point Average on the programme, completion of at least half of the PSCM programme credit units required for graduation, substantial progress made on their research thesis project and nomination by MISI faculty members.
As a reward, MISI paid for their airfare and accommodation to attend the three-week MIT conference, known as the IAP, where the students meet and network with over 200 other high achieving students from the MIT Global SCALE (Supply Chain & Logistics Excellence) Network centres from the US, Spain, Columbia, Luxembourg and China.
The IAP gives students the freedom to choose from a diverse number of programmes, with exercises and simulation games, intensive interaction with industry, presentations by business experts, poster sessions and academic lectures and seminars.
There are also a number of site visits with industry leading companies in order to view supply chain and logistics systems and processes.
Calling it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Sofia Shazlin said networking with 180 supply chain professionals from different part of the world, has helped her to learn about global supply chain and how they handle issues.
“I will definitely do my part to promote this opportunity and apply the knowledge I have gained here at MIT in Malaysia, ” she said.
Tan, a general manager, said studying at MISI and attending IAP made her realise that all the fundamental supply chain issues such as procurement, manufacturing, transportation and operations are applicable to the construction industry.
“Indeed, supply chain topics are for all industries and there is so much cross learning I can do and apply to increase the efficiency of my work, ” she added.
Chithra, a value chain manager, said the IAP brings a whole different dynamic to the PSCM course.
“It is a truly diverse experience. The activities within the IAP provide a platform to engage with various players within the supply chain industry, ” she added.
Pung, a senior manager, said he was amazed by the knowledge provided by the industrial speakers in the IAP conference.
“They have been in industry for years and their willingness to share is helpful for young supply chain professionals like us, ” he said.
Khoo who is head of capability building, said one of the key activities in the IAP was a Shark Tank competition, where teams were given the opportunity to pitch innovative ideas that solve current supply chain issues.
“Competing against other outstanding teams bearing the high standards of MIT, was an invaluable experience for me, ” he added.
Wong, a vendor performance specialist, said after comparing other offers for a Master’s in supply chain elsewhere, he chose MISI as it is more technical and sets the difference between it and other programmes.
“To be able to attend the IAP is a great experience, as we learn a lot from the MIT lecturers and the shared experiences of other passionate students, ” he said.
Lau, a warehouse and transport specialist, said a highlight was the research expo where participants got to present their research work to industry leaders.
“The experience at IAP enhanced my skills and knowledge, not only in supply chain but also in areas such as creativity, communication, soft skills and teamwork, ” he added.
Chang, a manager, said every supply chain manager or future manager should take part in this programme.
“It was amazing to meet with supply chain experts in various industries and learn from their experiences.
“We worked in different team activities and it was full of challenges and new things about the latest technologies in the supply chain process, ” he said.