May 17, 2023Print | PDF
By Katherine Plante
On Wednesday, May 3, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, in partnership with CN and the Milton Chamber of Commerce, hosted the seventh annual World Class Supply Chain Summit (WCSCS) at Granite Ridge Golf Course in Milton. The summit brings together leaders from academia and industry and provides students with an opportunity to apply and develop their skills while engaging in current industry conversations.
The event’s student co-chairs, Raeed Ahmed and Shikha Sharma were key to bringing the student experience to the summit organizing committee and their presence helped ensure the summit ran smoothly. Together, they are also co-presidents of the Laurier Supply Chain Association.
Ahmed, a third-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student, worked closely with summit co-chairs prof. Michael Haughton, CN Fellow of Supply Chain Management and Keith Reardon, SVP of Consumer Products at CN on the marketing and content preparation for the summit. Ahmed credits his BBA concentration in supply chain management for his ability to contribute to the strategic conversations around this event.
Sharma, a fourth-year BBA student, was responsible for building a strong social media presence for the summit on both Instagram and LinkedIn, while increasing the number of students that would attend the event. She designed the overall theme for the social media accounts, the posts introducing the speakers and co-chairs and more. She also designed the presentation template used for the summit. Her experience leading panel discussions and case competitions helped in this role with the summit.
The summit featured keynote speaker Zach G. Zacharia who is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management, and Director of the Center for Supply Chain Research at the College of Business at Lehigh University. Several other bright minds provided their thoughts on the opportunities and challenges worth exploring within the industry.
When asked which panelists or presenters that stood out, Ahmed mentioned Rocco Rossi, the President and CEO for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “I appreciated Rossi’s inputs on incorporating all factors of ESG [Environment, Social and Governance] rather than just focusing on our favourites. Moving forward, I definitely will be applying a much more holistic mindset when executing business decisions.”
Sharma also stated that Zacharia’s inputs were enlightening. “..I appreciated his passion for supply chain and that he all focused on the importance of the interpersonal and collaborative side of supply chain logistics, not just the technical aspects. I will most definitely be using these insights as I continue to establish my career.”
There is a significant benefit for students to attend events like this, with much to learn and important connections to be made. Michael Pavlin, Director of the Master of Science in Management Analytics (MMA) Program, believes deeply in these opportunities for students and MMA students are encouraged to attend the summit for the learning and networking it provides.
“It is my goal to expose my students to as many areas where they can apply their skills as possible. Supply chain is usually not the first application people think of when they think of analytics. Pretty few students enter our program interested in supply chain and this summit is an amazing opportunity to provide them with visibility into this field,” said Pavlin.
Both Ahmed and Sharma took advantage of this networking opportunity as well. “This event absolutely gave me access to tons of new connections, and yes, some are looking promising,” said Ahmed. Sharma said that she networked with many different individuals and has already been contacted through LinkedIn and email to attend other supply chain focused events.
The summit also allowed students to translate the wide range of skills they have developed in the classroom to make the event a success.
Beyond his student co-chair duties, Ahmed was also part of the student forum, where he delivered a presentation regarding artificial intelligence and machine learning in supply chain and logistics. With his minor in Computer Science, he learned the fundamentals of programming through his classes which aided him in creating an algorithm to support the field.
Sharma says the classroom learning she applied to the summit related more to the marketing and presentation skills she has gained over the past few years. “I was able to leverage the insights gained from my marketing classes to create meaningful posts that attracted lots of attention to raise awareness for the summit. Through the various presentations I have delivered over the past few years - I was comfortable enough to speak on the stage and share my insights with everyone.”
Learn more about the World Class Supply Chain Summit, including this year’s agenda and speakers, and previous events and white papers.
The Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University supports the advancement of supply chain and logistics education and appreciates the partnerships it holds with CN and the Milton Chamber of Commerce.