Well-Prepared York College Alumnus Took a Quick Leap to Corporate Leadership
Michael Fischer ’13 used his Supply Chain Operations Management degree to rise to the position of Director of Operations at RLS Logistics.
In the realm of supply chain operations, where adaptability and problem-solving skills are highly valued, York College of Pennsylvania graduate Michael Fischer ’13 found that the hands-on experiences presented to him throughout his undergraduate studies set him up for steady success. But it took time for him to discover that path.
Finding his direction
Like many high school seniors, Fischer was uncertain about where to go to college. A South Jersey native, he wanted to enroll at a school a little way from home, but not too far, with a walkable campus. He found that at York College. When it came to his major, though, Fischer didn’t know what to study.
When York College rolled out its Supply Chain Operations Management major during Fischer’s second year, he decided to try it. Fascinated by the prospect of a career that blended his enjoyment of business and statistics, Fischer embraced the opportunity.
“The professors were unbelievable, top-notch, and a good mix of industry backgrounds,” Fischer says. “The second thing that really gravitated me toward the love of that major was that it wasn’t 100% in the classroom behind the textbook. It was a lot of mentorship programs and going out into companies.”
Support in academics and industry
At York College, Fischer found a solid support system among the Supply Chain faculty. With a well-rounded blend of industry expertise and academic excellence, his professors nurtured his interest in the field. The program's emphasis on real-world experience enabled Fischer to secure an internship with Red Lion Controls, which offered him a job after graduation.
Fischer's time at York College was marked by transformative experiences that broadened his horizons and fueled his professional growth. With a friend, he founded a student chapter of APICS (the Association for Supply Chain Management), which presented the challenge to build a successful chapter as well as the opportunity to interact with professionals from other regional chapters. During its first year, Fischer and a team of fellow students entered the Mid-Atlantic Case Competition, which pitted them against teams from much larger prestigious institutions, including Penn State University and Bowling Green University. Fischer's team earned a third-place finish after presenting solutions to a complex business case study.
“Our York College professors got us outside of our comfort zone early,” Fischer says. “The Supply Chain students were challenged every class, whether it was getting in front of the class with no preparation and giving a speech on what you read or going in front of a CEO and saying what you’d learned and how it could help their business.”
Invaluable skills in a growing company
Fischer’s York College experiences helped him quickly excel in his career. He began working at RLS Logistics, where his dedication and expertise earned him roles with increasing responsibilities. He was promoted to General Manager in his second year and Director of Operations by his third year.
A decade after graduating from York College, Fischer oversees 10 facilities nationwide and contributes to the company's expansion efforts.
Reflecting on his time at the College, Fischer emphasizes how it prepared him for his career. The rigorous coursework and opportunities to make presentations in front of peers and industry professionals pushed him beyond his comfort zone. The blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experience, including interaction with businesses, provided him with a comprehensive understanding of the supply chain field.
This well-rounded education proved invaluable as he navigated the challenges of a rapidly changing industry, including disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You can make a lot happen in a short period of time if you work hard and network the right way,” Fischer says. “I was in a director role before I was 30. Age isn’t necessarily the deciding factor anymore. If you can show you’re capable to do a job, time doesn’t have to be the deciding factor. If you can rally a team behind you, you can do anything you want.”