Name: Nathan Stempel
Tell us a bit about yourself: I am from Upstate New York and enlisted in the US Navy directly after high school. Having completed the Navy’s Nuclear Power Training pipeline, I was selected to attend college at Auburn University on a Navy scholarship to get my commission as an Officer. I served three years on a submarine out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii before coming to MIT to teach as an instructor in the MIT Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program.
What led you to this program? Having the amazing opportunity to be on campus as part of the MIT NROTC program allowed me time to explore all the incredible programs MIT offers. Pound for pound, the SCM Program was the best value that would challenge my analytic skills and help me develop practical business acumen.
How’s it going so far in the program? Great! The curriculum has enough structure to make sure you come out as a talented supply chain professional, but leaves enough flexibility to allow you to study any topic you want. I have chosen to take a lighter course load to focus on generating a high-quality thesis. I have been able to take a passion of mine in one of my entrepreneurial ventures and study it in great depth. This has given me direct personal impact and the opportunity to improve an industry I care a lot about, Brewing! I am very excited to release it to the public.
Where do you want to go after this? Part of the allure of the program was that I could join some of the most dynamic and change oriented companies around. This promised a fresh opportunity that represented a completely different view of life and operations than I had in the US Navy. Ultimately, I decided to join a consulting firm to get the largest breadth of corporate America I could and to ensure I was involved in impact projects that I knew I could feel proud of.
What is your favorite thing about the program? The direct interaction with staff and professors. There is a very humble air around the faculty that makes them approachable, and having the opportunity to discuss my ideas on a one-on-one basis is invaluable.
Most Memorable Moment in Your SCM journey? Over IAP (Independent Academic Period), you have an incredibly intense month of projects and group work. MIT supports logistic centers from around the globe that send students to participate in these activities. You expand your network and learn about leadership and group work in a diverse environment.
Part of the focus is on diversity of personality types. This translated directly into action and better understanding of myself and how to work in a team as I disagreed on a course of action for one of the projects. I had developed a mathematic proof for the direction the team should be going. The argument did not appeal to a team member who related more emotionally to subject matter. I was stumped as to what to do. I am a very analytical person and I could not believe that my logically-driven mathematical approach did not win the teammate over to my side. Reflecting on my recent training in emotional intelligence, I was able to empathize with their position and come to a cooperative plan of action. Realizing the depth of diversity and human reactions has stood out to me as the most salient lesson in reality thus far.
Favorite thing to do in Boston? There are many old traditions in Boston. Take advantage of attending some of the events that have been long standing and are embedded in the culture here. Some example are the Dragon Boat Races, The Head of the Charles River, free shows in the Boston Common, and of course, the sporting events!!
Any advice for prospective students? “Think you can, think you can’t; either way, you’ll be right” – Henry Ford. Here at MIT, you will be surrounded by people who think they can! Take the opportunity to inspire, and be inspired by, how many people around you are trying to change the world. From your classmates to MBA students to doctoral candidates, establish your network and get involved with the amazing projects going on here.