NYU Stern Graduate Convocation 2019: Devna Shukla

NYU Stern Graduate Convocation 2019: Devna Shukla

November 28, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


(slow bell-like music) – And now we would like to
invite our beloved classmate and our last student
speaker for the day Devna Shukla to the lectern. (cheering and applause) – [Audience Member] Go Devna! (audience member shouting) – Distinguished
guests, faculty, staff, family members, friends,
and my fellow graduates of the class of 2019, it is my
honor to speak to you today. I’d like to welcome
you to the beginning. I know what you’re thinking. Wait a second, girl,
today we’re finished. This is the finish
line, we did it. Well I’m here to tell you
that we’ve only just begun. Today marks the end of
one chapter of your life and the beginning of
an entirely new book. This moment and each
new page from now on has a brilliant purple
spark connecting your future with the experiences
you’ve had at Stern that will guide you forward. When we began our journey, we
did not know what to expect. We walked into
the doors of Stern in hopes of pivoting
careers, creating a network, and building an
impressive resume. We were nervous,
scared, and excited, and knew that a degree from
Stern is what we needed to be “successful,” but
that wasn’t the whole story. I now know that the
greatest lessons at the Stern School of
Business are not found in a course pack or in
a Tuesday evening class. You can find the
most important lesson whenever a classmate
hugs you hello where they just saw you five
minutes or five days ago, when you think of
all the Sternies who you helped and helped you with recruiting, homework,
and dealing with life outside of our school walls. Stern is a place where people
really care about each other, our community, and
ultimately our impact. Now when I hear
the name NYU Stern, I don’t just think of
a top business school, a true powerhouse of
learning and innovation. I think of times I
laughed so hard I cried, of exciting adventures to
every corner of the world, of strangers who
became my family. I think of home. While you may not always
live in New York City, you will always have
a place and a home at 44 West Fourth Street. If feels like a
lifetime has happened since we’ve been at Stern. From marriages to moving,
happy hours to heartbreak, recruiting to rejections,
we are not the same people who walked through
those double doors. And for that we are better. That is a Stern difference. We didn’t just stick to
doing well academically. We walked into the arena
and dared to dare greatly, to be vulnerable with our peers, to challenge our way of
thinking, to love abundantly. And we did it together, that
is why Stern is different. Our journey brought us
to this very moment, but we didn’t do it alone. Look around you. Look behind you. There are pillars of strength
and love in this room that have inspired us
long before we thought about getting a graduate degree. Now look up or close your
eyes and spare a thought for those who are here in
spirit smiling down on us as we take this final
walk across the stage. Teachers, administrators,
parents, siblings, partners, no matter the title,
they are our cheerleaders and are celebrating us
around the world today. To the people who
made sacrifices for us so that we can be here,
we are eternally grateful and we thank you for your
love, patience, and support. To my fellow graduates,
at the end of the ceremony you will get a diploma,
a piece of paper. And on paper you
are more successful than nearly everyone
on this planet. You got the test score. You got the internship. You got that coveted job. By graduate school
standards, you’ve made it. You are a success. But I’d like to raise
the bar still higher to set a Stern
standard, if you will. And it’s about who you
are, not what you do. This type of success
cannot be captured on a piece of paper, because
it is not a score or a salary, but a way of life. So I challenge you
my fellow classmates not to settle for
what is expected, not to settle for a job,
but it’s about purpose, not to settle for
any relationship that
seems good enough. So what does that
actually really look like? As our former dean once told
us, “Don’t big-time people.” Treat the facility,
staff, or the CEO with the same level of respect. Ask someone how their
day is going and mean it. Have the difficult conversation
you’ve been avoiding. Worry less about the
title on your resume and more about the
content of your character. Choose faith over fear,
and let that faith lead you to the life of
courage and purpose. Carry your torch, that
beautiful purple spark, with pride and let it
illuminate the path before you. After graduation,
whether you find yourself in a new city or pass by
Stern on your way to work, be confident in your abilities
and continue to dream. As you move into
your future remember to look back every so
often to remind yourself of where you came from. In the face of fear, stand tall. In the eye of adversity, smile. And in the shadow of
doubt, shine light. Your experiences at Stern
have given you the tools to grow and succeed. And most importantly, you
have a family of Sternies who will always have your back. It has been my honor to be a
part of the Stern community. Thank you for the most
incredible experience of my entire life. And congratulations on
all of your achievements, past, present, and future. To the Stern class of
2019 congratulations and welcome to the beginning. (applause and cheering) (slow bell-like music)