NYU Stern Graduate Convocation 2019: Mpho Mtsi

NYU Stern Graduate Convocation 2019: Mpho Mtsi

October 24, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


(synthesized music) – I’m now delighted to welcome to the lectern the first of our two student speakers, Mpho Mtsi. (audience applauds and cheers) – Good afternoon to the
incredible Class of 2019 and all those in the audience whose invaluable support, guidance, and sacrifices
got us to this point. Like many of my fellow graduates who spent the last few
years going to school while working full-time, I’m in awe of this moment, and what it has required of us. Dedication, sacrifice, patience, and the willingness to be led whilst we sometimes
didn’t even know where we were going. And here we are molded, enlightened,
and stronger. Boy, are we stronger. And with that I can say
with pride and conviction that the people here
today posses within them all that they will
need to be great. That is not a question, and I’m grateful to NYU Stern for providing this
amazing foundation. They’re many reasons
why many of us might not have
made it here today. In fact not too long ago, someone like me would
definitely not be here. Our respective backgrounds, our upbringings, our
challenges, and our experiences could easily have kept us apart. And yet this institution, and our unbelievable professors brought us together to
delve into those differences and also discover how many
common themes actually unite us. And I for one will never
ever be the same again. So today, I know I don’t need
to be inspiring anyone here. I’m surrounded by
conquerors, trailblazers, dreamers, and war-crushers, and as we head off and
we apply all we’ve learnt and seek ways to ensure that we make the most of
our new-found enlightenment. May we just remember that
success that only impacts you will never feel
like it’s enough. Instead, as we head off to
dominate in our various arenas, I have just one request,
please, from all of you. Be the leaders we
haven’t had yet. Be the leaders that we actually
don’t know that we need. Be the leaders that
only we can be. As I got to know some
of my new-found friends, I discovered that
many challenges I
thought were so unique to my country, my people,
my minute circle of being, are actually replicated
all over the world. And at the center of
many crises is a vacuum. A void of ideal leadership. This is in our organizations, our communities and
in our governments. How powerful is this
audience here today that I’m addressing? And what could we achieve
if we all knew we weren’t just doing it for ourselves? Having had the privilege of
being molded in the past year by worldwide influences, I’ll tell you this. I want to be a leader that
is not driven by fear. The French say (speaks
foreign language). It means he who fears being
conquered is sure of defeat. I want to be a leader
that’s not too arrogant, immovable or underestimating
of the inherent blind spots, to anticipate, capitalize on and respect one’s
place in change. The Chinese have a
saying when they say, “When the winds of change blow “some people build walls “and other’s build windmills.” I want to be a leader
that always keeps in mind who this is for. It is beyond me. In my language (foreign
language) we say, (speaks in foreign language) I am because they are. So with that said I want
to share my favorite Warren Buffet quote
with you and that’s, “Someone sits under
the shade today, “because someone else planted
a tree a long time ago.” So with that said
I’m going planting, and I really, really
hope you’ll all join me. Congratulations
again Class of 2019. (audience cheers and applauds) (synthesized music)