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From a wish on a wall to a dream come true!

How I navigated through my dream of studying at MIT



“Well, this sounds like music to my ears, because this is exactly why we created edX,” said President Reif when I told him how the edX courses I took back in 2015 played a pivotal role in guiding my aspirations.

In 2015, as an undergrad deciding whether to major in Mechanical or Industrial Engineering, I had searched online to figure out which major’s coursework appealed to me. My search eventually led me to a new platform: edX, launched a few years ago by MIT and Harvard. It is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider that offers a vast array of courses covering a wide range of subjects, from science and engineering to humanities, business and beyond. The concept of democratizing access to high quality education and empowering learners worldwide to pursue their academic and professional goals in an accessible and flexible environment captivated me. Seeing hundreds of courses spanning diverse subjects ignited my curiosity and offered me the opportunity to explore areas beyond my immediate field of study and truly understand which courses drive me.

Excited, I took up two classes that most caught my attention. First was Aerodynamics. The lectures focused on force balances, drag, buoyancy — lots of math and physics that, while interesting, didn’t capture my heart. Next, I looked through the Supply Chain Management course, and was immediately hooked. Understanding how globalization and ease of trade has enabled components of my laptop to be manufactured in multiple countries, some even halfway across the globe, and be assembled elsewhere intrigued me. Seeing how materials, information, and finances flow across the value chain fascinated me. The course became a medium of self discovery to a career I felt extremely passionate about. The quality of the free online lectures, simulations and the course material in edX made me wonder how enthralling it would be to actually study at MIT. Ambitiously, I pinned MIT as my dream school to pursue my higher education on my travel manifestation wall.

A wall of colorful arrows pointing towards the windows under the heading "Wanderlust." One blue arrow is highlighted.

MIT in my travel manifestation wall

After completing my undergraduate studies, I ventured into resolving intricate grassroots supply chain issues concerning fresh produce at one of India’s largest e-commerce giants. Drawing upon the skills refined through edX courses, I adeptly ideated, piloted, and implemented solutions. Simultaneously, I actively sought insights from students and alumni of MIT’s master’s program in Supply Chain Management, eager for an insider’s perspective. Immersing myself in these discussions, I gained a profound understanding of the program’s ethos, epitomized by the Latin phrase “Mens et Manus,” translating to “mind and hand” and signifying the fusion of thought and practical action, a cornerstone of MIT’s approach. Recognizing the program’s business orientation, I acknowledged the necessity of garnering additional industry experience to make meaningful contributions in classroom discourse and peer learning. Thus, I dedicated myself to developing solutions for pressing issues such as end-to-end visibility, sustainable packaging and reverse logistics, and shortening fresh produce harvest to delivery times. After 3.5 years of intensive industry experience, I eagerly applied for the program, viewing it as a pivotal milestone in my journey toward realizing my ambitions in supply chain management and innovation.

Nayantara stands, smiling, on the second balcony of the Great Dome, overlooking the "Openness and Respect" and "Belonging and Community" values banners.

At MIT’s Great Dome

I still remember the day I got the admission decision from MIT. I woke up to the email  saying “Congratulations! Your admission is both a tribute to your past accomplishments and your future promise.” I made my father and brother re-read the admit letter a hundred times as I couldn’t comprehend the fact that I had actually made it. With starry eyes, I went back to the picture of my manifestation wall and what a pleasure it was marking a tick next to MIT. As I am sitting by the Great Dome writing this blog, reminiscing on how one dot connected to the other, it indeed was a wish on a wall to a dream come true!

Posted on MIT OGE