Graduate School, Innovated

MIT consistently ranks as one of the best colleges in the nation, and oftentimes tops the list of the best in certain programs. That’s why it was no surprise that the school ranked second on the US News best supply chain / logistics programs.

Through traditional in-class courses, at the undergraduate and graduate level, MIT continues to attract and produce top talent in disciplines like math, science and engineering, but they have also been at the forefront of online classes. Since 2011 MIT has offered online courses — through their program MITx — and currently offers classes across 31 disciplines. But I didn’t mention the most appealing part yet: the MITx classes are free!

Supply Chain Management Micro and Full Masters

Typically these classes would not count towards a degree, but MIT recently announced that you can now obtain a master’s degree in Supply Chain Management (primarily) online. Here are some details from Engadget:

“The new 14-week credential is called a MicroMaster’s and will be open to anyone and once completed students can get a verified certificate documenting their hard work for a small fee. Undertaken via edX, it is the first MITx course that can be put towards the full masters program, meaning the remainder of the course is only one on-campus semester… By making it open to anyone for free the college is recruiting those who are determined and driven, but aren’t sure they can afford a traditional Master’s program.”

This program offers flexibility and cost-effectiveness without sacrificing academic quality. This is innovation of the classroom right before us. As previously discussed, as the cost of education rises, outcomes become more important. And with a masters from MIT, the predicted outcome, especially given the low cost investment, only has upside in my opinion.

Can MicroMasters’s Address the Skills Gap?

I believe that programs like this — as other schools follow MIT’s lead — are part of a broader strategy to make education (at all levels) more attainable for anyone. I can see this program addressing some of the growing skills gap that faces manufacturers and supply chain organization around the world. If programs are accessible, flexible, and cheap, it will open up opportunities for those that perhaps were too busy, too far away, or don’t have the budget for more education.

I think that these kind of “disruptions” (like Uber in transportation or Airbnb in hospitality) are better for everyone (even traditional companies like taxis and hotels). It will ensure that the products and solutions they offer are always innovative and what the customer wants. I encourage you to give some serious thought to this new offering from MIT.