MIT Experience

My Journey to MIT

“Women make up 39% of the supply chain workforce on average” according to AWESOME‘s Gartner 2019 Women in Supply Chain report. MIT believes in the value of diversity, so the Supply Chain Management program teamed up with AWESOME, an organization of impressive executive women in supply chain, to offer the first full-tuition scholarship for a female student in 2019.
Written by Elizabeth Raman Grubbs

“Women make up 39% of the supply chain workforce on average” according to AWESOME‘s Gartner 2019 Women in Supply Chain report. MIT believes in the value of diversity, so the Supply Chain Management program teamed up with AWESOME, an organization of impressive executive women in supply chain, to offer the first full-tuition scholarship for a female student in 2019.

Elizabeth Raman, MIT SCM Class of 2020, was awarded the first full-tuition AWE Scholarship for outstanding women in supply chain

I’m honored and proud to be the recipient of MIT’s first Advancing Women through Education (AWE) scholarship. Attending MIT became a dream after I graduated with a business degree, concentrating in operations and supply chain management, from Georgia Tech.

I remembered how stressful it was being a high school student, deciding my future path, and being discouraged to attend Georgia Tech by friends and family members because of negative stereotypes including a “lack of women” and “fun.” Luckily, I did not listen. The first club I joined was the Women’s Recruitment Team (WRT), a student-run organization that partners with the Office of Admissions to encourage high-school female students to pursue STEM education at Georgia Tech, which had a historic ratio of 40% female students.

Being surrounded by this group of intelligent women motivated and inspired me to work harder. I loved directly connecting with students on campus and off campus by creating WRT’s first social media presence. I was WRT’s first VP of Women’s Leadership, enabling women within our organization to succeed, by bringing in speakers and hosting a salary negotiation seminar for 50 students. This same year was the first time in history we raised the Georgia Tech incoming freshman class ratio to 43% female students. I’m so proud to have been part of this historic Georgia Tech moment. All students will learn more from the growth of diverse perspectives. Future female students, like myself, will be encouraged when seeing students like themselves pursuing their dreams of higher education in STEM fields.

Another organization I was passionate about was the Undergraduate Operations Management Society (UOMS), which I helped found with a group of friends when we saw there was no place on campus for students to learn about supply chain careers. As the first President, when UOMS obtained official non-profit status, I loved the feeling of creating something entirely new that allowed me to experiment and expand my perspective. Collaborating with my executive team on strategy for gaining traction gave me energy amid juggling priorities as a graduating senior. My greatest accomplishment was encouraging our shyest member to accept the President nomination; she became a great leader, expanding membership and ensuring UOMS continues to provide resources for students.

I first tested my interest in supply chain through an internship with Lockheed Martin in the subcontract administration department for the C-130, where I actively managed the status of repair parts. One of my parts had been mistakenly placed in final stage flight testing. It was my sole responsibility as an intern to get my part back to the workshop quickly. Lockheed taught me about the significance of supply chain in ensuring safety, quality, and efficiency for their military customers. I loved learning how small improvements in the supply chain directly impact consumers lives as well as the success of the entire company.

I accepted my first full-time role as a transportation logistics analyst at The Home Depot. A few months after I started, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria hit, opening the 7-day operation, known as the command center, for a month. Being part of the team when we sent a police escorted brigade of semi-trucks into the state of Florida to provide relief was an incredible experience. In a room with our carriers and leadership team, I managed hourly reporting and analysis for status updates, while booking loads in my free time. It was an adrenaline rush being not only the youngest person in the room but also one of few females, leading the reporting that was driving the entire operation.

In the spring, I led a committee of six managers in defining operational and financial metrics and developing an automated SQL-driven Tableau story, replacing qualitative notes. Persuading managers with more experience to adopt this new way of reporting was extremely challenging. I took time to listen and learn from each team member while prototyping my solution. I discovered how to communicate with individuals carefully by illustrating how process improvement would improve their daily lives. My presentation persuaded leadership to adopt Tableau across Transportation; I was awarded MVP for Transportation for April and I accepted an early promotion to Senior Data Analyst in ecommerce delivery. 

Most importantly, Home Depot introduced me to my love of volunteering in the community from leading Junior Achievement sessions to fundraising for the Atlanta Children’s Shelter and the Georgia Tech Alumni’s scholarship. I also mentor a seven-year-old little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters, who was known in the office for attending every Supply Chain Family Fun Day with me.

My “little” and I frequently discuss what she wants to be when she grows up. We run through the usual list of options including dance teacher, cheerleader, etc. She loves animals, so this is usually when I bring up some STEM choices like veterinarian, scientist, or marine biologist. She will say that she is not great at math or science each time, but I always carefully disagree.  

Over time, she has begun to work in some STEM options into her list of careers under consideration. It is incredible to see how she views herself and how time provided encouraging her has changed her perception and increased her openness to pursuing opportunities. I learned so much about creativity and courage from the children I volunteered with.

I am passionate about stepping beyond my comfort zone to grow professionally and personally. I am always looking for opportunities to challenge myself to learn something new whether it entails teaching myself basic Python or adopting my once malnourished terrier-dachshund from Ruff Redemption Rescue; this curiosity drove me to apply to MIT, the number one engineering school in the world.

From meeting alumni to touring campus in Cambridge, I was inspired by the MIT culture of learning. What other university has 11 Nobel laureates among current faculty?  I took on stretch assignments at work and tirelessly followed the MIT Technology Review along with CTL and Sloan updates to prepare to join this network. MIT is a place where leaders from industry come together to innovate beyond traditional practices.

I recently attended a lecture in the Media Lab with Patrick Collison, MIT founder and CEO of the $35B company, Stripe, who stated “To me, MIT symbolizes the highest pursuit of excellence.” This community is founded upon researchers and creative thinkers that push boundaries to develop novel ideas and solutions.

Today, I dream about becoming a strategic business leader and I am confident that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Master of Applied Science in Supply Chain Management program will enable me to achieve this goal.

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