Originally posted on Titan's summer blog.
MechE and Supply Chain Management?
I am currently doing a research internship in Production and Logistics Network Workgroup at Jacobs University Bremen, Germany. Some of you may wonder why I am doing this logistics engineering thing, while my background is mechanical engineering.
First, I am not a straight mechanical engineering major. I am doing the flexible program of mechanical engineering, thus, I can combine it with other majors. I have been looking at this field in the past three years, and Jacobs has amazing Logistics Management and Engineering Department (while MIT has this program for graduate level only). That's why I was really happy that they accepted me (and DAAD + MIT are willing to help me with the lodging and airfare), although I am lacking of background in this area. Who knows, that I am going to concentrate in this area when I come back to MIT?
Second, internship means gaining practical knowledge and experience, and it's different than working. When you work, you are expected to know what you are doing, but as an intern, you are still supervised, guided through the process. It's like a 'safe' work environment.
In the past three days, I have learnt a lot about supply chain management, and I didn't realize before how important this area is. FYI, supply chain management basically deals with the entities (aka companies), and how they interact with each other, so a product/ service can be produced. Let's imagine a supply chain of gasoline: you start with the oil extraction company, refineries, distributors, retailers, and then customers. Gasoline itself is a fuel for cars, and plays an important role for automotive industries, so they are all connected.
Isn't that amazing?
My supervisor, Marie, is a Ph.D. student, and she is such a great help; she answers my stupid questions ("What is cold supply chain?"), and helps me to get acclimated with the research workgroup. All the people in the workgroup are amazing, and they have been helping me, and I always enjoy having lunch and small talk with them.
On a side note, Jacobs has a really unique culture. It's not a common German university, the main language in this university is English, and the education system is basically a mix of German and American system. Unlike other German universities where the students find their own apartments, or live in a limited number of dorm rooms on campus, the undergraduate students live on campus. I also have so many friends who go to school here (thanks to UWC connections), and I learn a lot about this school from them.
I have been enjoying it so far, and I am looking forward to learn more about many things: the research, the school, the people, the area.