MIT OCW: A paradise for life long learners

MIT Open Course Ware

How I got to know about MIT-OCW?

I think it was in 2006, when one of my senior told me about MIT Open Course Wares. At that time, I was trying to figure out a safe pathway for the vehicles, carrying harmful/explosive chemicals passing through a highly dense area. It was an idea of three of my classmates and they have already presented it in a conference. I was exploring possibility to scale up this concept. In this context, there was need to understand certain aspects of Urban Planning & logistics. On advise of my senior, I have briefly scanned OCW website. Unfortunately, this idea has been abandoned due to time constraints.

My serious engagement with OCW has started in late 2007. We were a team of 3 engineers, competing in ‘Jerusalem 2050’, a competition organized by the School of Planning & Architecture, MIT. In this competition, we had to imagine the problems, city of Jerusalem might face in the year 2050 and then present solutions to resolve them. At that point, we did not have much idea about city planning, public policy and other associated factors. For that, I have studied few portions of Urban planning at Open Course Ware website. It helped me to understand some key aspects mandatory for every city in order to function in effective manner. Using this knowledge, we have suggested 9 point strategic solution as our competition entry. We have touched upon issues like security, infrastructure, education as well as given suggestions to resolve ongoing conflicts among different communities. Though we did not win, this opportunity has made OCW website as one of my favorite places to discover new knowledge.

MIT-OCW Website: A place for a budding chemical engineer to play with new things

Whether it has been mixing Chemical Engineering (my core field of education) with other areas or exploring new things in the Management, OCW website has always provided good first hand information. It has been 6-7 years and my curiosity took me to explore areas as wide as cultures, languages as well as economics and finance. It helped me to become an interdisciplinary professional.

Envisioning 21st century global manager: Role of MIT-OCW

It was early 2012 , when I have returned back to India after finishing my graduation in Denmark. I was facing question of what to do next? I have developed good managerial & soft skills with many years of active participation in co-curricular activities. I was also had technical background and lot of energy to face complex challenges, which businesses might face in the 21st century. My vision was to become an interdisciplinary professional possessing abilities to merge different skills (technology, business, management & arts) together to think in interdisciplinary ways to bring out innovative solutions. How can I become such person? This is how the idea of ‘Envisioning 21st century global manager’ project has come up front. I looked on my skill set and some of the skills I was missing could be gained by pursuing a Management program.

I have identified necessary skill set for such 21st century global manager. To enlist those skills, I have given lot of thoughts on what kind of complex challenges he might face, if he is working for a multinational corporation. Then I have cross checked this with my existing skill set. In some areas of Management, I already had good practical exposure but they needed international level upgradation. Some new soft skills like understanding economic policy making has to be developed. Some future trends needed to be studied in slightly more depth to get a good overview. Even if I have already met people from many countries as well as ministers, Nobel laureates; I realized the requirement of learning foreign languages and understanding different cultures to become a better communicator.

But it was easier said than done, as what I was aiming may not be possible through university education. Even if it was possible (like doing a MBA), I have to wait for 17-18 months before next session starts. And even if I wait, there is no clear answer on what my financial situation will be at that time. To remain debt-free is my major priority and since I have already obtained good university education, so I asked myself, ‘May be this time I can designed this study in my own style, taking slightly different route than currently existing ones.’

But a proper management degree was an in-feasible idea at that moment both financially and logically. I decided to give myself 3 months before finalizing my path. In the mean time, I have turned to Management courses at OCW, especially offered by MIT-Sloan School of Management to build my knowledge base.

How did I proceed? Check the next post in this series…

Check yourself: Click this link to reach MIT-Open Course Ware


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