MBLE Networking and Leadership event

Fisher's Master of Business Logistics Engineering (MBLE) program recently hosted its first-ever Networking and Leadership Night, which provided an opportunity for students to hear guest speakers and interact with business leaders.

The event is an enhancement to the Fisher MBLE Mentorship program, which is modeled after a similar program for Fisher's MBA students. Launched in 2017, the MBLE Mentorship program matches first-year students with working professionals in the fields of logistics, retail and supply chain.

The evening included remarks from Walter Zinn, a professor of logistics and associate dean for graduate students and programs at Fisher, who discussed the impact of two mentors during his PhD studies. He credits the influence of those mentors - his PhD advisor and his father - with providing invaluable advice that influenced the direction of his dissertation and positively shaped the trajectory of his career.

Steve DeNunzio, senior lecturer and MBLE program director, said the event accomplished his goals of providing a robust networking opportunity for MBLE students and delivering an engaging evening for the dedicated mentors who enhance the educational experience of Fisher's MBLE students.

"We're grateful for all of the professionals who volunteer their valuable time and wisdom to mentor our talented students," he said. "When mentors share their insights and life experiences with students, it can really have life-long impacts."

The event also featured a keynote by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Scott Higham.

Higham, an investigative reporter for The Washington Post, spoke about the impact a mentor had early in his career. Echoing the evening's theme, he emphasized to students that mentors are critical to their long-term career success.

He also spoke about the effects of disruption on different industries, particularly the newspaper business. As an industry veteran, Higham provided a first-hand account of how disruption has affected newspapers during his 18-year tenure at The Washington Post.

Scott Higham
Scott Higham

He noted that many of the industry's traditional players didn't see the looming disruption posed by the internet until it was too late. In 2008, with the beginning of the Great Recession, many newspapers across the country were forced to lay off significant numbers of employees.

Higham also spoke about the challenges of newspapers to stay relevant during changing times, particularly as fewer consumers are receiving their news via print.

But he is optimistic about the future of The Washington Post, thanks to the organization's focus on quality, robust journalism, and the commitment from Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon.com and owner of The Post since 2013. Higham also cited growing public sentiment about the importance of fact-based journalism, as well as an uptick in new subscribers - particularly millennials - as reasons for his optimism.

"Today, working at The Post is like working for a 140-year-old startup," he said. "I feel like the luckiest guy on the planet."

Shiqi Ren, a member of the MBLE 2017-2018 cohort, appreciated Higham's perspective about his experience with mentors.

"I was impressed that the impact from mentors could be life-long" she said.

Ren, who also serves as a vice president on Fisher's MBLE Council, noted that many of her program cohorts are international students. Additionally, she added that she appreciates the mentoring she and her classmates have received, particularly the guidance about job-search strategies and career advice.

"Most of our students are international, and we do not have a lot of experience on cross-cultural communication in the American workplace," she said. "Mentors give us a lot of suggestions on how to communicate effectively in multinational companies."

Walter Zinn