I wrote this speech for commencement last year. Fortunately/Unfortunately, I wasn’t selected to give the speech. No big deal….I found it the other day and thought I’d share… Enjoy. Let me know what you think.
To Dean Ginsberg and to the distinguished members of the faculty: it is an honor to be speaking today to the plethora of distinguished and diverse alumni, special guests, family members, and friends who are gathered here. Most of all, it is an honor to be up on stage representing the Kogod MBA class of 2014…We made it
A central tenant of a business school education is that by the end of 2 years you have a toolkit of models that you can use once you get into the real world. These models span all functional sets of a business education. You have your NPV model in Finance, change management model for human capital, or your balanced scorecard for IT management…They all help to simplify complex systems and help make decisions and create value. Its funny though, because the most important model we’ve learned/perfected over the course of these 420 days we actually learned from the friends and family members here today; Teamwork. We each have a team of people that got us to and supported us through Kogod. Friends and family that supported us to reach for our dreams and do whats necessary to get to our goals even if it included missing a happy hour here or there to prepare for the GMAT or were kind enough to listen to us vent after a tough exam. As much as this day is a celebration of the graduating class, this is a celebration for our friends and family as well. Thank you so much for all your support. We wouldn’t be here without you all.
We’ve seen how powerful the team model is and we’ve nurtured and improved our understanding of this model in business school. We’ve spent 10,080 hours working in teams to work on class assignments like our Financial Analysis project in Professor Inchi’s financial accounting class or developing strategic plans for small and medium sized companies in Professor David’s strategic management class. We’ve worked along side facility to develop our understanding of the business world. We as a class worked together to put on and support events like consulting day, the Red Dress benefit event and Entrepreneurship day. We developed skills that allowed us to collaborate,delegate, and execute on plans. We developed the bonds and became others cheerleaders and succeeded and fail as a class. We’ve gone through so much adversity but most importantly, none of us did it alone…This set of common experiences is what bonds us and brings us together today to celebrate these accomplishments.
Now that we’ve spent 604,800 minutes developing and perfecting this team model, what do we do with this model now? The most important thing we can do is to remember the value and all that was accomplished when we came together as a class during our business school education. Armed with these experiences, developing team should be central in everything we do this day forward. Our goal should be to replicate and continuously improve on this model with the general understanding that we learned nothing of value is created by one person alone. It takes a group of individuals with a common goal to create true value.
Most importantly, if we put team at the center of whatever we do, we have to opportunity to unlock amazing opportunities and solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. Its already been proven again and again that a team of diverse individuals working together to achieve a common goal are unstoppable. They come up with better ideas because of the diversity of experience and thought, they are more efficient, especially compared to one person doing the same project. A good team creates an environment where there is mutual support, encouraging people to achieve goals they may not have realized they could reach on their own. Teams lead to better outcomes…. Teamwork brings more resources to bear against a challenge thus increasing chances for success.
My challenge to Kogod class of 2014 is this; I challenge you all to be the stewards of the team in your respective organizations. I challenge you to support and develop a sense of team like we’ve perfected at Kogod the last two years. If you accept this challenge, be prepared for a great amount of success and even greater opportunities as consequence.