“Am I really going to do this?” I asked myself this question many times. Taking a break from a steady rising career to go back to school is unorthodox — Why put a hold on your career and plunge yourself into the great unknown? The day I received my admission email for the MIT Master’s SCMb program, I felt so excited and honored at the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream to graduate from MIT, but quickly the anxiety reached me — Am I really going to do this? What about my job? What about money? What about…?
If you are a mid-career professional evaluating to apply for the SCM Blended Program, you may have some of the same questions. While no circumstance is the same, I would like to share a bit of my story on what helped me with the final decision.
See it, believe it and do it
What my army veteran husband told me he learned in his leadership school always stuck with me: “Seeing the dream is not enough, you must believe it, plan for it and take action to achieve it.” I always had a strong career goal. I knew that I wanted to progressively take more business leadership responsibilities in a company or an organization in the healthcare industry. I have been lucky throughout my career to be entrusted with various responsible roles, empowered to stretch my capabilities and rise quickly up the ranks. However, I know that to achieve my ultimate career goal, I must continuously expand my horizon in capabilities and experiences.
Working a demanding job while studying in the MITx MicroMasters® program in SCM wasn’t easy, but it helped test both my commitment and fit for the program. The reason I joined this program was to improve myself with skills and knowledge that will enable me to make more impactful contributions to team endeavors and become a better leader.
Continuous learning is a journey, worthy of sacrifices. When you have conviction, you can carry through. I thought about what I would miss during the “career break” but soon realized that I should focus on the great opportunity right in front of me.
The “do it” part takes a team
While crystalizing what you want and internalizing the belief is completely all you, executing the plan takes a team. As the mastermind principal in Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich” explains, ‘you must do it yourself, but you can’t do it alone’.
Support from family is paramount. Talking to my trusted mentors gave me further confidence to carry out my goal. Also, consulting with my manager and gaining his support for the “leave of absence” helped me ease my mind to focus on delivering top performance through the end of year and working with co-workers to transition responsibilities.
How I feel now?
Attending MIT’s SCM Program was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The first two months have been exhilarating — learning new applied methodologies from some of the best professors, researchers and practitioners in the world and studying how some companies are applying advanced technologies in Supply Chain is an exciting and intellectually stimulating experience. Meeting and working closely with colleagues from diverse cultures and experiences has been enlightening and our bonds will hopefully grow even stronger in the future.
A career break is not putting your career on hold – instead, it enables you to make a leap to your future better self and make a positive difference to a better world.