MIT Experience

When the Show Ends

In the last week of the MIT SCM Master’s program, I started to think of how I started my MIT journey.
Written by Paulo Sergio Franca de Sousa Jr.

In the last week of the MIT SCM Master’s program, I started to think of how I started my MIT journey. Surprisingly, I’d first heard of the MITx MicroMasters Program in Supply Chain Management at the end of a music concert. While I work as a supply chain professional in the transportation field in Brazil, I am also a member of a Christian rock band! Through both roles, I have had the great privilege to travel to many new cities, sharing my supply chain knowledge and, through the art of music, my beliefs. After one such performance, I was talking to the person who had kindly invited us to play that night. It was an engaging and wide-ranging conversation, where we discussed everything from soccer to faith. Somewhere in the between, he mentioned that he was just concluding an online course from MIT. He was actually part of the first MicroMaster’s class!

Paulo sings with his band in front of a crowd (left) and a close up shot of the performance (right)

I must confess, in that moment my mind froze. Just the mention of MIT stopped me in my tracks. As an engineer (but not only because of that), attending MIT had always been a dream. As I was probably not going to be able to concentrate at any other discussion topic from that moment on, I started to ask questions about the course. He explained that it was related to supply chain, and that it could pave a way to a master’s degree from MIT. And he was right! Four years later, I am on here on the MIT campus, a few days from my graduate commencement.

Playing to a packed stadium

As I gratefully remember that conversation, I can clearly see the three lessons learned from it:

  1. Endings can be amazing starting points. I thought my night was ending – the concert had been booked, prepared, and performed – but that was actually where my future began.
  2. What we think are separate parts of our lives can merge like streams and take us further than imagined. Balancing music and supply chain has not always been easy, but I do it because I believe both are part of my life’s purpose. When we are guided by purpose, we are indeed living.
  3. Casual conversations can guide us to incredible opportunities. We can always learn something from our connections and collaborations. That person probably did not realize that night how completely a simple comment has impacted my life. I am so grateful to this, that it has become a daily prayer for me: that I can impact others in a positive way, even when I do not realize it.

Maybe someone who is reading this today is at the end of something, just like I was at the end of a concert that night. If unique adventures start when another finishes, let the show end!

The two sides of the author’s career, as an MIT graduate (left) and performing for a crowd (right)