On December 12, 10 students from the School of Graduate Studies’ Global Fashion Management MPS and Fashion Design MFA programs received full-year Bob Fisch Scholarship Awards of $5,500 each. Fisch, founder and former chairman and CEO of rue21, author of Fisch Tales: The Making of a Millennial Baby Boomer and Get a Life (an Amazon bestseller), and member of the FIT Foundation board of directors, is a longtime supporter of the college. The students expressed gratitude for the awards, as well as for Fisch’s mentorship and advice.
The scholarship recipients, all from the class of 2024, were Global Fashion Management MPS students Sana Bady, Maria Brenes Corrales, Gina Ciarrocchi, Lara Moreno Gonzales, and Santanna Huff, and Fashion Design MFA students Talia Abbe, Bryan Barrientos, Sandra Capuzzi, Ashleen Tuteja, and Yixuan “Apple” Zhao.
Fisch’s impact on the lives and career paths of FIT students takes myriad forms, including mentorship. “There’s nothing more important [than mentorship],” he said. “Everybody needs somebody to speak with. I don’t think we can get ahead without other people helping us.”
“It’s exciting to observe the way Bob inspires our students, building their confidence and encouraging them to take risks,” said Dr. Brooke Carlson, interim dean of the School of Graduate Studies. “His bold, positive approach is innovative and deeply personal. It positions them for success now and in the future.”
In discussions with students, Fisch often focuses on what makes entrepreneurs successful. “They have to be relentless, never give up, and totally embrace change,” he says. “Become confident and authentic in what you’re going after. Be your own power—that’s paramount.”
Fashion Design and Global Fashion Management students revere him for his fireside chats, “Ask the Fisch,” and one-on-one mentoring sessions about life and business. Fisch, who believes deeply in intergenerational bonding, recently hosted a panel discussion that included the Millennial Advisory Board, which he founded. The board consists of Gen Z, millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers, who share business and career guidance.
Asked by a student how his own values as a CEO shaped the corporate cultures he developed, he said, “It was a lot of putting together the puzzle pieces of good times, bad times, successes, and failures. I was successful when there was some failure to keep pushing forward from. I always took a stand and I tried to make it a fun culture.”