A Letter to the Graduating Class of 2015
As the excitement from your graduation earlier this week starts to fade, you say your last goodbyes and move out of New Haven, I wanted to take an opportunity to extend my warmest congratulations to you all.
Graduation was bitter-sweet for our Class of 2016 – bitter because we will miss you, and sweet because we know you have left an incredible impact on the school and are all off to do incredible things.
As you all spread across the globe, I ask for only four things:
That you keep in touch. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Email... and of course the occasional visits. Not just with each other and your favorite professors, but also with those of us trying to carry on your legacy. Who knows, we might even catch you on the alumni network. Either way, everyone always says that what makes SOM special is the people. Keep these people close.
Professor Amy Wrzesniewski told us in the Fall 1 Careers course that most all MBAs will move to a new company within the first five years of graduation. We were gutted – the MBA was supposed to help us find our forever [career] home! But in the age of millennial demands, instant communication, and flat hierarchies, it seems like the career ladder has turned more into a jungle gym. As Sheryl Sandberg said, this is the time to look for opportunities, look for growth, look for impact, look for mission. You might move sideways, or even down, before you move up. Do real work, wherever you are.
Between the LDP curriculum, countless evaluation exercises, IPD classes, and too many stressed-out moments when you weren’t completely “on”– you’ve likely realized who your “authentic self” is. I hope your time at SOM has helped you not only learn more about business and the world, but also about you and your inner voice. Don’t let the loud opinions of others drown out your inner voice, and have the courage to stay true to your authentic self. Follow your intuition.
What I love about Yale SOM is the mission to “educate leaders for business and society.” All too often, we think this means “business (banking, consulting) OR society (nonprofit)” -- but that is not what is truly meant by this mission. At SOM we are taught that no matter your job, you have the potential to make life better for someone, somewhere.The world can be improved by designing better products, creating more personalized services, inventing new methods and especially by good internal management (no matter where you are). Change the world, one person at a time.
The MAM Class of 2015 was the biggest in school history, and brought rich cultural and global perspective to our campus. The MBA Class of 2015 was the last class to experience what we only know to be called “the old building.” The last class under 300 students. The last class with the old grading system. And while the Class of 2016 is a class of many “firsts,” we have depended on you to teach, demonstrate, and preserve the special, close-knit culture that makes Yale SOM so special.
What you showed us that makes SOM so special is that we are, and always will be, a family. And whether it be Evans Hall or 135 Prospect, this is a place that many of you considered home for your short stay here. I wanted to let you know that our doors are, and always will be, open to you. You are always welcome home.
To the Class of 2015, we will miss you so much. Thank you for leaving a legacy and we cannot wait to see what the next chapter brings you. Congratulations! You made it!