By Karen Guzman
The Yale School of Management hosted its 45th Commencement on May 23, awarding diplomas to 594 members of the Class of 2022 in the sunny courtyard of Edward P. Evans Hall.
The graduating class included 318 students in the full-time MBA program, 56 in the Master of Advanced Management (MAM) program, 69 in the MBA for Executives program (EMBA), nine in the Master’s Degree in Systemic Risk program, 90 in the Master’s Degree in Global Business and Society (GBS) program, and 52 in the school’s new Master’s Degree in Asset Management program.
The Evans Hall ceremony followed the Yale University commencement ceremony on Old Campus, at which students’ degrees were officially conferred. The event marked the first time that Yale SOM has held a diploma ceremony since 2019.
Yale SOM Dean Kerwin K. Charles noted that the Class of 2022 is distinctive: it is the largest ever to graduate from Yale SOM, with students receiving degrees from six different programs—the largest portfolio of programs the school has ever offered.
Charles thanked the students for their courage in enrolling during the uncertainty of COVID-19 pandemic. “You bravely came, allowing our school to have a full and excellent class. We’re deeply grateful for that,” he said.
Charles also thanked the students for engaging fully in the Yale SOM community and its traditions, despite the challenges of the pandemic. “You have never ceased to think about how our school might be more helpful to the broader society,” he said. Noting the global challenges and inequities facing the world, Charles encouraged the graduates to embrace their roles. “There has never been a more pressing need for your talent and your thoughtfulness,” he said.
Six student speakers, selected by a class vote, delivered comments. Speakers thanked the spectrum of family, friends, and faculty who supported their Yale SOM journey.
“I’m honored to represent the 2022 Master of Advanced Management Class, my friends,” said Magdalena Rego ’22. “We come from 17 business schools across the globe. Collectively we speak 22 languages and…we also speak the language of excellence, passion, drive, and courage.”
Rich Vala ’22, a Master’s in Systemic Risk graduate, thanked the community. “On behalf of my systemic risk classmates, thank you to all the staff, students, and family members for supporting our success,” he said. “These degrees are just as much of a testament to our efforts as they are yours.”
Viviana Li ’22, a member of the Master’s in Asset Management charter class, thanked the program’s founders, Toby Moskowitz, the Dean Takahashi ’80 B.A., ’83 M.P.P.M Professor of Finance; and the late David Swensen ’80 Ph.D., former Yale chief investment officer.
“Without the two of you, many of us wouldn’t be here today, let alone entering a challenging yet exciting asset management industry tomorrow,” Li said. “And to our program dean, Arwin Zeissler, all professors, members of the SOM community, families, and friends, thank you for your love and support.”
The speakers took the opportunity to encourage and applaud their classmates.
“Today you stand at a new dawn, with a treasure trove of knowledge from semesters of old,” said Peter Kroll ’22, a graduate of the MBA for Executives program. “Soon you will begin to fulfill the promises you made to yourselves when you completed your Yale application. And someday we will all have the distinct honor to say, ‘We knew you when.’ ”
Austin Broussard ’22, a member of the full-time MBA class, commended his classmates’ determination in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. “What I did not know when I applied to SOM is that I would be joined by a class full of fighters,” he said.
“After four semesters of defying odds and deadlines, we realize that graduation was never a finish line, but instead a resting place for us to extol each other before we launch into the world again.”
Fabian Wolher ’22, a member of the GBS class, noted his classmates’ devotion to the school’s mission of serving both business and society. “This mission has accompanied us for our time here at Yale and will continue to have a lasting impact on us as we now graduate,” he said.
“I am sure everyone of you has their unique Yale experience and understanding of what is it that constitutes our school’s mission and shaped your experience… Maybe it is tackling climate change, fighting poverty, eliminating inequalities, or making the world a safer place. I am convinced that the solution to all these issues leads us back to the foundation of SOM’s mission—we, the students.”