Thursday, October 11, 2012

Home, Sweet Home

The way I see it, the fact that I haven't written a blog post in six months can be taken one of two ways:

1.) My original assessment that the biggest risk to my starting a blog was my proceeding to neglect the blog was spot on.


2.) Things have been so busy/exciting/crazy over the last half year that the blog had to take a back seat.

Maybe it's a little bit of both?

Either way, I've made my way back to Cambridge at the conclusion of my internship at Nike and have a full load of MBA classes keeping me busy for the Fall!  I had a fantastic time in Portland, but there's nothing quite like the comfort of home.  Hanging out with my wife, Karen, wrestling around with Gus, and settling back into the student way of living again has been more than wonderful.

Obligatory Gus Picture
I made the decision to load up my Fall semester with Sloan classes, because there are a few terrific  MBA courses which are only offered during the Fall.  Industrial Economics with Professor Robert Pindyck (the author of the core Microeconomics book!), for example, is a fantastic, entertaining, fascinating class.

The downside of going heavy in Sloan, of course, is that I've got two nasty Course 2 (Mechanical Engineering) classes teed up for next Spring.  As a graduating LGO who a.) Will have already signed a job offer, and B.) Might possibly be too captivated thinking about starting a real, grown-up life to devote much time to monkeying around with Laplace transforms, that might present a bit of a problem. C'est la vie. 

As busy as things are around here, though, with the Fall semester workload, getting to know the awesome new LGO Class of 2014, full-time job recruiting, and trying to maximize what time we have left in Boston/Cambridge, there's always time to look forward to the future of the LGO program!

So if you've made it this far into my post, you're still moderately interested, and you're not my mom (Hi, mom.), there's a good chance you're thinking LGO might be the right graduate program for you!  If that's the case, you definitely need to check out our LGO Ambassador Day program here at MIT coming up soon on 11/5/12.

Check out this link for more details!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

International Trekkin'

One of the most enjoyable, enriching experiences of the LGO program thus far has been the International Plant Trek from which we just returned this past weekend.  In China, we were fortunate to spend a few days visiting our friends in CLGO at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, a Cisco PCBA facility, and the Nike China Logistics Center.  The hospitality we received from the CLGOs was absolutely unbelievable, and I feel that because of them, we all had a tremendous Shanghai experience, culminating with a fantastic dinner in the swanky restaurant 900' in the air atop the Pearl Tower.

Japan was just as enjoyable, as we toured all over the city of Tokyo and visited Sony's world headquarters, as well as the Nissan Leaf assembly line.  It was extremely interesting to observe firsthand the similarities and (more importantly) the differences between American and Japanese automobile manufacturing, but that's a conversation for another day!

I got a new DSLR camera before we left for the trip, and I think I went a little bit trigger happy as a result.  As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll shut up now and defer to about a half-million words worth of photographs!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The city of Portland and I have a love/hate relationship.

Let's start with the hate.

Portland is the meteorological equivalent of Mordor.

A pretty nice Portland afternoon.
It never stops raining.  Ever.  Which is a real issue when your primary (read: only) mode of transportation is a road bike.  As I write this, it's been raining for 96 consecutive hours.  To my knowledge, it's only stopped raining this week for about 10 minutes, which conveniently was enough time for it to hail for about 10 minutes.

Despite my recent investments in some pretty rocking wet weather gear (which includes but is not limited to bike fenders, two rain coats of different thicknesses, neoprene shoe cover booties, and two pairs of gorton's-fisherman-yellow waterproof pants), I show up for work looking somewhere between a drowned rat on a good day and Captain Jack Sparrow on a bad day.

Mornin', boss.
Wasn't kidding about the Gorton's Fisherman thing.
The locals - Portlandites, if you will - assure me that the summers here are beautiful, but I just can't be sure if it's beautiful on an absolute scale, or beautiful relative to what they're used to.  I figure that when you're used to getting your ass kicked every day, somebody stealing your lunch money three times a week probably seems like a pretty good deal.  We'll just have to wait and see.

But for as sadistic as the weather can be, the people, culture, and geographical beauty of the Portland area make it an awfully enjoyable place to live, albeit wetly.

The folks here have created a funky, artistic, laid-back environment in which the only thing they love more than brewing delicious hand-crafted beers is drinking their delicious hand-crafted beers.  Carlo and I have been checking out some really awesome Portland activities during our time off from Nike - hiking, Trail Blazers NBA games, and drinking delicious hand-crafted beers to name only a few - and there's a seemingly infinite amount out there left to do.

My wife, Karen, was also in town this past weekend, and we got to indulge in another of the Pacific Northwest's outdoor wonders - skiing on Mt. Hood.  For all the trouble the rest of the country's ski resorts are having keeping their mountains under snow, Mt. Hood could maybe even stand to get rid of some.  There are feet upon feet upon feet of fresh powder, and another 20" has fallen since Sunday.

We also explored Hood River, a very cute, very sleepy little town at the base of Hood which boasts (surprise!) some awesome breweries.  We had a terrific time and are very much looking forward to her next visit.

There's at least 3,000' of vertical climb behind that cloud!
Karen is a ridiculously good skier, which means she spends
a lot of time at the bottom of mountains waiting for me.
All things considered, Portland and I are getting along.  But just barely.  The internship at Nike is going very well, though.  With any luck I'll be back soon with more fun stuff to share!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Welcome Class of 2014 & Internship News

When I started this blog, I knew I'd have a tough time getting myself to post regularly, but I pledged to do my best to write something every week or two.

So much for that, huh?

Alas, here we are - well into March with Spring fast approaching, and there are two big pieces of news in the LGO world:

1.)  Off-cycle internships are underway for the Class of 2013!

But even more exciting,

2.)  The incoming Class of 2014 should be hearing of their acceptances very soon!

The Classes of 2012 & 2013 are definitely very excited to welcome the newcomers to the LGO family.  I can't believe it's been an entire year since I got the news myself.  Man, time flies.

Since I know far more about my own off-cycle internship situation than any of us know about the Class of 2014 (save maybe the Admissions Committee!), I suppose it makes more sense to discuss that.  Carlo Quinonez and I have embarked on the maiden LGO voyages with brand-new partner company Nike.  We're both located at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, just a few miles west of Portland.

I feel insanely fortunate to have been matched with Nike in my particular role, as it's almost like the internship was created just for me.  Nike won the licensed apparel contract for the National Football League, and they're launching the full NFL product line this Spring.  But here's where it gets awesome from the perspective of a supply chain geek + football nut like me:

Nike is developing a rapid response supply chain model intended to be capable of fulfilling customer orders for NFL replica jerseys and other apparel in less than a week.  The technical and logistical challenges with accomplishing such a feat are immense, when one considers that the traditional model for ordering clothing/apparel goes something like "order what you want six months in advance, get what you ordered six months later shipped via ocean from southeast Asia."

The NFL doesn't work that way.

For example, if you had to place orders for the 2011 season six months in advance, you'd probably have gone heavy on Peyton Manning jerseys, right?  Makes sense, considering he's been in the Top 5 of jersey sales for about the last hundred years.  And just about the time your #18 Manning jerseys were set to arrive, the news on ESPN would have been breaking that Peyton was out for the season with a neck injury.  In the blink of an eye, you're sitting on a mountain of inventory that nobody wants.

On the other side of the coin, you also probably didn't predict that Tim Tebow would become the sensation he did, and you'd be trying to rush expedited orders of #15 Tebow jerseys back to North America, and spending fortunes on airfreight in the process.

Nike's NFL supply chain will be different from the status quo in a lot of exciting ways; not the least of which being able to receive big NFL news on Sunday and react by having the right products in the stores  the following week.

To avoid droning on even further, I'll stop this post here and resolve to write more soon.  I've got a lot of fun things to share about living in Portland and the Pacific northwest.  As a teaser, I'll leave you with a photo I took on a hike through a gorge 30 minutes from the city.  Gorgeous stuff out here:

And welcome Class of 2014!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

CMU Operations Case Competition

Another fantastic opportunity available to MIT Sloan & LGO students is participating in case competitions.  Of specific interest to those of us supply chain/ops-minded folks out there is the annual International Operations Case Competition hosted by my undergrad alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University.

The Sloan Operations Club coordinates MIT's participation in the event and recently held open tryouts to select this year's team.  About 35 or so students attended, and the field was a nice mix of Sloanies and LGOs.  During tryouts, we were all randomly assigned to teams of five, and got three hours to read a case, craft a solution, and develop a slideshow selling our team's ideas.  All of the tryout teams did extremely well, and the judges, last year's (winning) MIT team, selected five students to move forward in representing Sloan at the competition this year.  Myself as well as FOUR (4!) other LGO's were lucky enough to make the cut!

We've since been holding weekly practice sessions where we've had additional opportunities to solve cases and develop presentations to hone our skills, and we're very excited to try to bring home the trophy again!  We've got big shoes to fill, too - MIT has been victorious in three of the past four years!

Wish us luck!

You can read more about the Carnegie Mellon Case Competition on their website.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Long Time No Blog

So, I admit it.  I've been a terrible blogger.   For this, I apologize and offer a pathetic heartfelt excuse.  The last couple of months, both in my personal life and at MIT/Sloan, have been amazingly busy!

The only decision I think I've ever made that's been better than coming to LGO happened on 8/20/11 when I married my wonderful wife.  We had a fantastic celebration with family & friends in the Finger Lakes region of New York, which is absolutely beautiful.  We set the date a long time before even knowing where we'd be living at this time of year, so it's amazing how the stars aligned with the wedding falling right into the break between summer and fall semesters!

An appropriate summary photograph

In what felt like little more than a hot minute after getting back from NY, Sloan Orientation started, and I got to meet my new Class of 2013 MBA classmates - all 400 of them!  Orientation week set up some great opportunities to get to know the new recruits, meet and greet with our new Ocean mates, and settle into our core teams.  All pretty awesome stuff.  Sloan divides the MBA class up into (I think) 7 "Oceans" with which students take all of the core classes.  Each Ocean is divided into "core teams," which are smaller groups within the Oceans directly analogous to our summer LGO teams (<3 Bearpack).  I happen to be a member of the Caribbean Sea Ocean Cranes, as a matter of fact.  My new teammates, though very different from the Bearpack, are awesomely diverse (aircraft carrier sailor, anesthesiologist, and Spanish consultant, to name a few) and are super excited to be studying at MIT.  

This is not an ocean, unless you're at Sloan.  Also, I still can't spell "Caribbean" 99% of the time.
In addition to rocking packed schedules of MBA core, business, and engineering courses this semester, the LGOs have definitely been making time for fun, though.  We embarked a few weeks ago on a pretty epic camping trip whose success faced some awfully long odds.  We left Cambridge en route to the White Mountains area of New Hampshire after Sloan Team Day on Friday afternoon.  If you've never indulged in Boston rush hour, it looks exactly like this:

Also, it was pouring rain.  And cold.  After 3 hours of driving (to go 45 miles), we finally arrived at the park (in the dark) and started to set up camp.  For a few minutes, it looked grim.  There was mud.  There was incessant rain.  There was adversity.  But LGOs persevere.  Within an hour, we had engineered ourselves an awesome shelter, got a roaring fire started, and were set to enjoy a fantastic weekend in the woods, weather be damned.

Working on our shelter.
Who wants cheese on their burger?

LGOs Persevere

Much better Saturday weather
Finally, we're also busy working on planning the 2011 LGO Ambassador Day & Information Evening.  This was the single best MBA/grad-school recruiting event I attended during my application process last year, so we're trying to put on a great event again for this prospectives.  If you're considering LGO, this is your best opportunity to see the program, meet faculty/staff/students/alumni, and explore the Boston/Cambridge area.  I highly, highly recommend it.  (More information can be found here.)  Hope to see you there!

That's about all for now, though I'll do my best to be back soon.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer learnin', happened so fast.

As we are speeding toward having closed out two full months of our first Summer term, I thought it was high time to get a post out there that actually addresses just how fantastic the LGO experience has been thus far.

My very last first day of school officially went in the books on 6/1/11.  That morning unfolded a lot like how I remember starting a new grade in elementary school felt, right down to my brand new shoes, backpack, and Spiderman lunch box.  Actually being at MIT - just physically standing there - felt very surreal, but very exciting.  The ice was quickly broken, and before lunch, it was like 50 strangers had known each other for years.  

Around 75% of the summer work at LGO is done in predetermined summer teams.  Our first challenge was selecting a team name.  We decided to name ourselves after the fiercest possible combination of our undergraduate schools' mascots.  We learned that one teammate was a "Bear," and another was from the "Wolf Pack," and so the BearPack was born.  Pretty fierce stuff!

Meet the BearPack.  Grrrr.
As a Carnegie Mellon alumni, I didn't even want to offer up my mascot for the discussion.  CMU athletic teams are nicknamed the "Tartans."  For you non-Scots out there, "tartan" is the word for the pattern of fabric from which kilts are fashioned.  Intimidating, right?

The Tartans.  Be Afraid.  Be very afraid.
The first week of class is made up of a special module known as "The Universe Within."  Topics to be covered include leadership, team building, and super sweet physical challenges.  On our third day of class, we participated in the Outward Bound event on Thompson Island in the Boston Harbor.  The entire day is devoted to working in teams to solve puzzles and accomplish tasks that one couldn't complete alone.  The day concluded with a pretty intense exercise: You suited up in full climbing gear and scaled the sort of vertical obstacle with which even a PhD of Ninja might struggle.  As you made your way up the swinging, rickety wooden Everest, an LGO teammate held your life in his/her hands while belaying you from the ground.  A gripping exercise in trust, to be sure!

What the climbing obstacle looked like.
What the climbing obstacle felt like.

At the conclusion of The Universe Within, the fun really begins with the full summer course schedule.  Academic classes have been intellectually demanding and chalk full of things that would have been terrifically useful in countless situations I've experienced at work.  If I had a quarter for every time I've thought "Man, I wish I knew this back then," I might not need that generous LGO Fellowship to pay my tuition!  

(Disclaimer:  If you're reading this, Don.  I'm totally kidding.  I definitely need that generous LGO Fellowship.)  

It's seriously that tremendous, though.  From calculating production strategies for Scandinavian ski gear manufacturers to passionately debating the merits of opposing leadership models, the actual MIT/LGO/Sloan coursework, faculty, and overall academic experience has been ridiculously enriching.  As we push onward, I'm really looking forward to applying the finishing touches to our first LGO summer, as well as meeting the incoming Sloanies over the next several weeks!

Party on, LGO.