Jes Bengtsson: Creating a MicroMasters Movement, Implementing a Company Wide Initiative
September 23, 2016 | Alice Randall
Earlier this week we were announced 19 MicroMasters programs in fields from artificial intelligence to project management – all free to try on edX. As we expand the range of subjects covered by MicroMasters, we continue to share stories from learners who are taking the pilot program, MITx’s MicroMasters in Supply Chain Management.
Today, Jes Bengtsson, the Planning Director, Europe for SABMiller, shares his experiences of both taking the program on his own and also spearheading an initiative that placed global employees across all levels and specialities in the program.
Supply chain management is changing from the classical, more hands-on learning model – based on gut feeling – to a highly advanced model that relies on optimization methodology and analytics. SABMiller Europe recognized a need to invest in our employees’ understanding of this new model. MicroMasters met this need, by giving us a tool to educate employees on how supply chains work and how to think about them in an effective, meaningful way.
I spearheaded an initiative that placed a group of SABMiller employees in the program, and chose also to take the courses myself to ensure I could vouch for the quality. The group was a mix of roles from across our global network – with employees from various functional competencies, various levels of experience, seniority and time with the company.
We also offered the MicroMasters program as a part of our onboarding program for recent hires right from undergraduate, who perhaps hadn’t specialized in supply chain. Our goal was to see if encouraging employees to participate in the program would move the needle sufficiently and it did.
In my role planning operations for an entire region with a global team of over 100 employees, I have come to realize that catching up with the new technology involved in supply chain management is not the hardest part about this changing landscape. The biggest challenge is making employees think differently and more broadly about the many tools at their disposal.
The MicroMasters program opens employees’ eyes to the larger picture of what is going on within the entire supply chain. When employees think about their role within the larger context, they are empowered to take initiative and take charge of projects, which positions them for promotions and gives them the advantage to progress in the role.
From my point of view as a manager a MicroMasters program signifies two things when looking at an employee or a potential employee: the first is that they have a certified level of knowledge, backed by MIT, and the second is that they also have the tenacity and grit to make an investment in furthering their industry knowledge and, in turn, their career.
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