Four MITx MicroMasters in Supply Chain Management Learners who have never met in person but only online, will compete in the Global Professional Final of The Fresh Connection supply chain simulation on September 28, 2017, in Lisbon, Portugal.
The learners competed against thousands of students to qualify for the contest. They will compete against nine other teams from around the world for the annual prize and the chance to win a trip to MIT for an Executive Education Supply Chain Management course.
The Fresh Connection (TFC) is a web-based business simulation. It engages participants to work together as a team to make strategic decisions in the management of a fictitious manufacturing company that produces fruit juices. The game is delivered as a global challenge annually. Winning teams from various regions and companies compete for a chance to play the game live together for recognition and prizes. Some 40% of the Fortune Global 500 manufacturing businesses use TFC as a training tool in their internal training programs. The simulation also is part of the curriculum at hundreds of universities across the globe.
According to Hans Kremer, a Partner at Inchainge, the organization that runs TFC, experiential learning is essential. “At Inchainge, we truly believe in the power of cross-functional training and exeperential learning. To generate more interest for the supply chain simulations and programs we provided we started with the Fresh Connection Challenge. For professionals, the Challenge is organized in multiple countries in parallel. It kicks off with training workshops or remote training sessions, and from there the participants continue with the global rounds,” he explains. The MITx participants followed a different path. After completing four rounds of TFC as part of the MITx course, the best competitors were invited to continue in teams of four in the global rounds.
The MicroMasters team initially used TFC as optional course work in the MITx Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) Supply Chain Technology and Systems offered by the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. During this final course in the MicroMasters credential series, learners individually participated in the supply chain simulation. Once in teams of four, they competed against 300, mostly corporate teams, in a sophisticated supply chain simulation. One team scored very well in the global rounds, earning them the invitation to the Global Final.
“It turns out that our group was amazing,” says team member Ivan Rogerio from Brazil. “We got along very well and as a team performed incredibly well, and became friends.”
Project and team-based learning can be a powerful tool to teach both key theoretical concepts and real-world scenarios. And in today’s business environment, so-called Global Virtual Teams become more the rule than the exception.
“I have never participated in such a competition before and I approached it with the same effort as I would a professional project,” says team member Andrea Tretti, originally from Italy, but now working in Vietnam. “The second stage was most interesting because we needed to work together with unknown people, of totally different backgrounds, different time zones and languages, on completing a supply chain simulation project. We faced some difficulties, but the team was great and we have now achieved qualification for the global finals competition.”
“The Fresh Connection is an interactive tool that allows our MIT.CTL.SC4x learners to make decisions in different areas of the company and see how these decisions impact performance,” says Dr. Eva Ponce, Executive Director of the MITx MicroMasters in SCM program. “This is a tool that we have been using here at MIT during the last five years, and have introduced for the first time in a massive open online course. I was positively surprised to see the enthusiasm and the high performance of the SC4x learners playing this complex game.”
The teams competing in the Global Final later this month have demonstrated an extraordinary understanding of supply chain concepts on the one hand, and on the other hand, have an outstanding ability to work together as cross-functional teams.
For more information on the competition and the MicroMasters credential contact Arthur Grau, Communications Officer, MITx MicroMasters in Supply Chain Management program, at: email@example.com
The MITx MicroMasters Credential in Supply Chain Management is a standalone, online certification program designed and administered by MIT’s Center for Transportation & Logistics (CTL) and supported by the MIT Office of Digital Learning (ODL). The objective of the program is to provide a comprehensive, in-depth, and rigorous curriculum of study in supply chain management available for all learners across the globe. To date over 210,000 learners have enrolled in one or more courses and over 17,000 verified course certificates have been issued.