While working in strategic sourcing for a Canadian metal mining company, Laura Allegue sought to further her professional education.
“I Googled: ‘Which is the best [supply chain management] program in the world?’ and I found the MicroMasters program,” Allegue said in an interview with FreightWaves.
She soon enrolled in MIT’s Center for Transportation & Logistics (MIT CTL) online MicroMasters program in supply chain management (SCM), which is designed to “educate the world for free” by providing rigorous courses to educate professionals worldwide.
MIT CTL recently started a new session of an online supply chain management program for 80 Walmart associates after a successful pilot program in 2020 with 70 Walmart associates. The Walmart course session is being funded by two supply chain organization associate groups at Walmart, Women of Supply Chain and People of Color, according to a release.
“The SCM field has been growing in the last decade. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for supply chain skills, and companies are aware of that need,” Eva Ponce, executive director of the program, told FreightWaves.
The program customizes SCM courses, modules and content to meet the specific needs of each company. The custom course for Walmart associates includes content from the MicroMasters program and covers inventory and transportation management, demand planning and supply chain processes with no more than two to three hours of weekly effort required from associates, Ponce said.
Allegue said the course provided theoretical and practical insights into all aspects of the supply chain. She recalled receiving ample hands-on practice and learning skills that she could use in her daily job right away. That’s by design, Ponce explained, since the practical, foundational information in these courses keeps participants motivated.
Ponce said the courses are great for beginners and professionals who want to upskill in SCM and connect with colleagues. Allegue said one thing that was very obvious from the beginning of the course was its “sense of community.” She expanded her network within the company she was working for and connected with people from all over the world.
“It’s super important that you understand the impact of anything you do in supply chain and procurement,” Allegue said. She learned the dynamics of how each department and different aspects of supply chains such as risk management and social, economic and environmental sustainability impact each other.
Ponce noted that some associates have been promoted after implementing knowledge and skills learned during the course. The program’s participants have reportedly gained confidence and comfort in analyzing and taking on supply chain challenges.
Allegue’s success story reflects the quality of the MicroMasters program. She now works for MIT CTL as a course lead for a supply chain network section within the MicroMasters program.
Ponce said that MIT CTL’s goal is to use its 40-plus years of experience in SCM to drive supply chain concepts into practice using applied and industry-oriented education programs.