The University of Chicago Booth School of Business  Executive MBA Program Graduation Ceremony

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business Executive MBA Program Graduation Ceremony

November 28, 2019 1 By Stanley Isaacs


[Organ music] [Bugle fanfare]>>Good afternoon. As Deputy Dean of the Part‑time MBA Programs,
it is my honor to welcome you to Chicago Booth’s 2017 Executive MBA Program Graduation Ceremony.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] We are delighted you can be here To celebrate
the achievements of the men and women who are receiving their diplomas today. Over 21
months of hard work on our Chicago, London and Hong Kong campuses have come before today’s
event. We are extremely proud of our graduates and
look forward to their continued connection to the University of Chicago and the Booth
School of Business. And now, I would like to introduce the interim
dean of Chicago Booth, Douglas Skinner. Please be seated.
>>Interim Dean Skinner: Good afternoon. And welcome.
Let me also offer my heartfelt congratulations to our
XP‑86, EXP‑22, and AXP‑16 graduates. Today we celebrate the accomplishments of
our most recent graduates. But it is also a day to show appreciation,
to reaffirm aspiration, and to reflect on the school and what makes it distinctive.
The personal achievement of our students is predicated not only on their hard work, but
also on the support of their classmates, families, friends, and colleagues.
To all of you who are here today, and to all those who could not be here, I thank you for
the sacrifices you have made to support these students.
I would like to add my thanks to the deputy deans, faculty and staff for teaching and
supporting another successful group of Booth graduates.
Finally, I would like to thank our Executive MBA students.
You have been exemplary members of the Booth community both academically and socially.
You have spent the past 21 months traveling from over 30 countries around the world to
engage in Booth dialogue and learning. Thank you for choosing Booth and contributing
to our community. Our mission at Booth is to create and disseminate
fundamental knowledge of enduring impact that is widely influential and to provide a preeminent
education based on that knowledge. We believe that to develop and support outstanding
individuals as business leaders, it is necessary to instill in them a firm grasp of the fundamental
concepts and ideas, as well as the ability to apply these concepts in a variety of real
world situations. Chicago Booth was established in 1898, which
makes it one of the oldest business schools in the world.
We were the first business school to offer an Executive MBA, which we began in 1943.
We began the program in Chicago, opened a campus in Europe in 1994, first in Barcelona
and now in London; and opened a campus in Asia in 2000, first in Singapore and now in
Hong Kong. We are committed to this structure; and, as
you know, are building what will be an iconic campus in Hong Kong
I view the faculty as a core differentiating strength of the school.
The faculty has two principal roles. First, the faculty creates fundamental knowledge
of enduring impact. In the Chicago tradition, this means asking
and answering important questions about how the world works so we can understand it better
and make better decisions; for example, as managers or policy‑makers. This is what
Milton Friedman called positive economics. We develop theories and test those theories
using data. This is our data‑driven approach.
If the data tell us the theory is not helpful, we adapt and try again.
As you know, Raghu Rajan returned to our faculty last year after three years leading the Reserve
Bank of India, a role he took on in part because he wanted to see whether the ideas he developed
here could work in a real‑world setting, which I believe they did.
Second, we disseminate that knowledge so that it has impact, either by delivering a superior
education or by disseminating the knowledge in other ways, such as through faculty books
and speaking engagements School publications, and other channels.think
about the house of death. Dick Faler’s nudge or Nick’s mind wise. All of these faculty
applications and influence in a significant way.
The Executive MBA program, including the fact that we have campuses in Europe and Asia As well as Chicago is a core part of this
strategy, both as an integral part of the preeminent education
that we offer and by ensuring we have influence and impact throughout the world.
The development of theories to explain and predict real world phenomena, the testing
of those theories with data, including now “big data” and using machine‑intensive
computational methods, as well as the use of those theories to make real world decisions,
is part of what makes Chicago distinctive. Let me mention something else that makes the
University of Chicago distinctive and me personally proud to be faculty here. Our strong and unbending
commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression.
In the current socio‑political environment, not just in the U.S., but around the world,
many controversial ideas about immigration, religion, race, trade, inequality, and other
related issues are being intensely debated, including ideas that some of us might find
uncomfortable or even repugnant. There is a temptation to try and restrict
the expression of such views. The University of Chicago has been known,
almost since its inception, to strongly reject any such restrictions.
As President Zimmer, Dean John Boyer of the College, and others have clearly articulated,
the University of Chicago has long been known For and I’m going to quote from the stone
report, “fundamental commitment (to) the principle
that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by
some or even most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise
Immoral or wrong‑headed.”. Instead, we encourage open and vigorous ‑‑ debate
and expect members of our community to vigorously contest the ideas they oppose.
As you graduate today, I hope you do so as proud alumni of not just the Booth School
of Business, but also the University of Chicago, and that you fully understand what that means.
On a somewhat different note, let me convey something else that I hope you leave here
with. You have good reason to be supremely confident in your own abilities to succeed.
I believe you were admitted to, and now graduate from, the best Business School in the world.
Think about that. Just getting into Booth, let alone surviving
and flourishing in the program, is a huge achievement, and you are among a very small
group that had this opportunity. This should give you great confidence in your
own ability to succeed in whatever path you should choose.
Finally, I encourage you to view your graduation as the beginning rather than the end of the
relationship. We want you to be lifelong partners with the
school as well as with each other. You now join a community of well over 50,000
Booth alums including a large number around the world.
This community is as strong as you are willing to make it. Those who invest in the network
and give back to the school ‑‑ not only financially, but also through being involved
in other important ways, such as hosting student events, encouraging friends and colleagues
to consider our programs, considering our graduates for positions at your companies,
or even sending your children to UChicago ‑‑ find that it is an immensely rewarding experience,
not just in terms of financial success and career goals, but also by gaining friends,
helping others, and building our community. And keep in mind that the community is broader
than Booth; you are also joining a large and influential University of Chicago alumni network.
From the school’s side, I commit us to providing you with a rich set of opportunities to continue
the relationship with us and in so doing enrich your careers and lives.
So let me conclude by congratulating all of you on what is a tremendous accomplishment
and wishing you all the best in whatever dreams you choose to pursue, knowing that the Chicago
Booth community is here to support you in whatever path you choose.
Congratulations, and thank you. [Applause.]
>>Deputy Dean Berger: It is now my privilege to introduce Professor Linda E. Ginzel, who
will present the graduation address. Linda was an easy choice to make for our faculty
speaker given her impact on our. Today’s graduates.
She caught many of them a course on leadership during their very first week in the program,
and Linda taught all students a course on leadership capital.
She has been on the Chicago Booth faculty since 1992 and specializes in negotiation
skills, managerial psychology and executive development.
Her recent interest is focused on what she terms Leadership Capital: the courage, wisdom
and capacity to decide when to manage and when to lead.
In 2000, President Clinton awarded her a President’s Service Award, the nation’s highest honor
for volunteer service directed at solving critical social problems.
Linda is also the two‑time recipient of the James S. Kemper, Jr. Grant in Business
Ethics. In addition to her responsibilities at Chicago
Booth, Linda is the president of Kids In Danger, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting
children by improving children’s product safety. Linda also served as the director of the Consumer’s
Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.
Linda is a charter member of the Association for Psychological Science, as well as a member
of the Academy of Management. She received her bachelor’s degree with distinction
and Summa Cum Laude in psychology from the University of Colorado in 1984.
She then studied experimental social psychology at Princeton where she earned a Master’s degree
in 1986 and her PhD in 1989. While working on her Princeton PhD, she also
worked as senior consultant in training and development for Mutual of New York’s Group
Pensions and Operations Center. Linda has taught at the Kellogg School of
Management at Northwestern University and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford
University. She has received the 2011 Faculty Excellence
Award, the Inaugural Global Hillel Einhorn Teaching Award for 2013 and she was named
an Impact Professor by our class of 2014. Please join me in welcoming Professor Linda
Ginzel. [Applause.]
>>LINDA GINZEL: Good afternoon to our graduates, friends and loved ones.
And especially to those of you who have traveled far across land and sea to be with us here
today. Welcome to the city of Chicago, the birthplace
of the skyscraper. Welcome to our great university, which is,
its namesake, and welcome to the Booth School of Business.
[Applause.] It is my honor to be invited to speak on this
occasion, when we celebrate the accomplishments of AXP 16 from Cyberport in Hong Kong, EXP
22 based in London’s Woolgate Exchange, and XP 86 right here at the Gleacher Center
downtown. Our guests may not know that your class numbering
system means that you are the 16th class to graduate from our program in Asia, the 22nd
class to graduate from our program in Europe, and the 86th class to graduate from our program
in Chicago. You are graduating from The University of
Chicago, the very first school in all the world to create the executive MBA program.
It is here, in Chicago, where we opened our doors to executives in 1943.
In XP1, there were 20 men and three women, all from the Chicagoland area.
Today, we celebrate 208 graduates, representing 60 different countries of citizenship.
Today is a great day, a great day for you, the graduates, and also for everyone who encouraged
you, supported you and helped you to make this day happen.
Congratulations to this entire community. One more round of applause.
[Applause.] That applause is for you.
I know that all of you are hoping, actually expecting, that I will say something interesting
or even inspiring at this important stop on the journey that is your life.
I certainly don’t want to disappoint you, but all of these graduates were my students,
so you know that I am not a motivational speaker; I am a teacher.
I don’t make a habit of addressing big crowds in fancy venues.
And yet, today, I find myself here, with all the majesty of Rockefeller Chapel in front
of a thousand people. So, for the next 12 minutes or so, all of
you sitting here are my students, and that includes Dean Skinner.
Welcome to my classroom! [Applause.]
When teaching, I always stress the importance of beginnings and endings.
Commencement is both. Today is both a beginning and an ending.
It is the end of your formal studies for the Master of Business Administration degree,
and it is the beginning of your informal studies, as each of you becomes your own professor
for life. When you were working hard in your classes,
you were focused on the conceptual knowledge provided by your professors.
You were focused on the details of the required assignments.
And you were focused on being a good student so that you could learn and perform well in
your formal studies. But we, we professors, we were focused on
another goal. We were preparing you to balance buildings
on birdcages. Wel, if you don’t know what I mean by that
– and I feel quite certain that you don’t know ‑‑ let me tell you a story.
In 1872, a 28‑year‑old apprentice draftsman named Daniel Burnham opened an architecture
firm with his good friend, John Root. Burnham and Root would soon become one of
the finest architectural firms in this city. Among the firm’s best work is the Monadnock
Building, in Chicago’s Loop, at the corner of Dearborn and Jackson.
If you have time this weekend, or when you are touring Chicago, I hope that you will
see this building. There’s a very good coffee shop there, and
a hat shop, and a great old shoe repair business. If you go to visit, pay particular attention
to the walls. The walls are six‑feet thick, almost two
meters, at the base. They had to be that wide to support the weight
of the building, which is 16‑stories high. For thousands of years, buildings had to have
thick walls because walls carried the weight of the entire structure.
The higher the building, the thicker the walls. And tThis building represented an amazing
architectural achievement. It was the tallest load‑bearing building
ever built. And it was the tallest office building in
the world. John Root called this building his “Jumbo.”.
But it was his last project because he died suddenly of pneumonia while it was under construction.
The Monadnock Building was a great achievement, but it also represented the limits of an age‑old
concept. It made sense that the walls had to be heavy
and strong in order to hold the weight of the building.
But with load‑bearing walls, a building can only go so high.
And as the ambitions of city planners and residents rose, so did the desires of architects
and their clients to build even higher. But how could you build a really, really tall
building without building really, really thick walls?
Well, a man named William Le Baron Jenney came up with the answer.
Jenney is widely recognized as the Father of the American skyscraper; and according
to Chicago lore, he had a breakthrough idea when he observed his wife placing a very heavy
book on top of a tall metal birdcage. The cage not only supported the weight of
the book, but Jenney could see that it could have easily supported a whole stack of books.
A stack of books piled high and balancing on a birdcage—what an image.
Jenney introduced the idea of a complete, steel skeleton and he built the first fully,
metal‑framed skyscraper right here in Chicago in 1884, 9 miles from where you are sitting.
And, just as his wife used a birdcage to support the weight of a very heavy book, Jenney used
metal columns and beams to support his building from the inside.
With Jenney’s new framework, limits on the height of buildings changed.
Walls became more like hanging curtains made of glass.
And columns within the buildings bore the structure’s weight across the foundation.
Buildings began rising to impressive new heights; and, together with the development of plumbing,
electricity, elevators and, most importantly, the elevator braking system, the sky was literally
the limit. If you go to the top of the Willis Tower ‑‑
that’s the old Sears Tower ‑‑ or any other famous skyscraper on a tour of Chicago,
you will see much more than an extraordinary view; you will see the power of abandoning
long‑held assumptions. The assumptions that walls held up a building
dominated for many years and limited architects’ progress.
Their load‑bearing assumptions quite literally served as an upper bound to the height of
the buildings they could design. Jenney’s vision to use metal frame core
construction was brilliant. It represented a completely new way of thinking
about the source of strength – the strength of an inner framework.
The story that I have just told you is instructive. It demonstrates the combined power of shedding
a default assumption that was weighing people down with making a major conceptual shift
that provided architects with the strength they needed to build higher.
Although you did not study building construction at Booth, I’m quite certain, I hope that this
is something you learned. I hope your vision has shifted in a way that
enables you to rise above load‑bearing assumptions, whatever form those may take.
Executives come to Booth with lots of experience, but also with many assumptions about management,
strategy, finance, and leadership. For example, you may have come here with an
assumption that the economic world is a zero sum game or that some people can systematically
beat the market, without any inside information or that debt is a cheaper form of finance
because it is less risky or that issuing equity is bad because it dilutes earnings.
You may have even come here with the assumption that people are natural‑born leaders or
not as opposed to the view that leadership is a choice.
The members of our faculty have worked hard to help you recognize assumptions that may
limit the heights you can reach, and you have worked hard to shed those assumptions.
This is not an easy task because many of those assumptions have served you well in the past,
and there is risk in abandoning them. Yet, the most important thing that you received
from your education at Chicago is the willingness to question your load‑bearing assumptions
and to make a different choice, when necessary. Now, there is a second thing that is important
for you notice about skyscrapers. In the classroom, we speak often about the
frameworks that allow us to think more complexly about business issues across industries, economies,
and geographies. When I teach leadership, I emphasize building
our own personal frameworks. When we create our own structures and reduce
our reliance on externally‑provided ones, we increase our ability to handle ambiguity.
Creating our own frameworks can help us to be wiser, younger, to learn more from everyday
experience; and what we learn can better inform our choices. Frameworks can help each of us
to create a better future. Just like a skyscraper’s strength comes
from its core, the clarity, vision, and support for your own framework must come from your
core. Your classroom now is the world outside these
hallowed halls. There is no blueprint for your future.
In architecture, structural integrity is established during the planning phase and built into the
foundation. William Le Baron Jenney taught us to build
up, by building from within. Leaving here, you will need that same kind
of structural integrity. Build from within.
Build your frame with strong values. Build with unselfishness, with kindness, with
curiosity. Build with open‑mindedness to new ideas,
with compassion, with a sense of fairness. Your own inner framework will determine how
high you can go. Wherever your adventures take you, remember
that there is always a way to do more, do better, and reach for the sky.
When in Hong Kong, look to the 108 floors of the International Commerce Center for inspiration.
In London, to the 73 floors of The Shard. And right here in Chicago, near the 108 floors
of the Willis Tower, you can always look to the windows in the sky and remember your Chicago
Booth education. As you leave here today, I hope you will continue
to rise above your load‑bearing assumptions and keep building a strong, inner framework
to ensure the integrity of all you do. It has been my great honor to be your teacher.
Thank you. [Applause.]
[Music.] (Ode to joy performed by the Millar Brass
Ensemble)>>Deputy Dean Berger: Before this congregation
of scholars, family, friends, and colleagues, I will now present to Dean Skinner the degree
recipients of the Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School
of Business. We ask that you please hold your applause
until after all of the diplomas have been awarded.
Dean Skinner, these students have completed the program of professional studies prescribed
by the faculty of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
The global class of 2017 leaves our school stronger for their commitment to the program,
to each other and to the future of Chicago Booth.
We are confident in their ability to go forward and continue to pursue the highest aspirations
of their fields. It is with great pleasure and enormous pride
that I present these leaders as recipients of the degree of Master of Business Administration.
Associate Deans Patty Keegan and Richard Johnson and Managing
Director Intan Chen will be reading the names of our graduates.
Those not in attendance today will receive their degrees in absentia.
>>Dean Skinner: By virtue of the authority delegated to me, I confer upon you the degree
of Master of Business Administration, and I express the hope that your work will further
wise choices in the allocation of economic resources for the benefit of all people.
SHIHAN ABEYGUNAWARDANA SHAMIL AF ANDIYEV
ANNA ALEKSANDROVA SHARON ELIZABETH ALEXANDER
SHAHRIAR ALLEN BASHAR M. ATTAR
DORIS AU‑YEUNG ASHLEY TREVIS BANCROFT
CHRISTIAN BAST CHARLES DUDLEY BAYNE III
ANDREY BELEVTSEV SHIV BRUTAN BHARTI
CORINA MIHAELA BLIDAR TIM FLORIAN BODE
CHRISTINA BOGATSKY DANA E. BOLTON
DUSTIN JAMES BRAUNREITER JOHN IGNATIUS BREBECK
ALIYU BRIMAH DREW MCGREGOR BURNS
MARK DAVID BUTTS MARK CANIZARES
ANTHONY R. CAPPELL MICHAEL CEBO
WAI KIN CHAN ROBINDRA CHATTERJEE
YI CHUNG CHEN GHEE CHUAN CHEW
HEUNG KAM IRIS CHOI CAROLINE MARGARET COLASACCO
XAVIER COQUEL MICHAEL DAMES
ABDOULAYE DANGO MEVIO DI FEDERICO
SEYDINA DIOP DAMIAN DOLYNIUK
MONICA DREYER STAUB MUSTAFA DURRANI
MICHAEL JOSEPH EIZENGA ELENA INEZ ESPINOZA
GARRET TIMOTHY FITZGERALD BRANDON CHRISTOPHER FOX
VLADIMIR GAPONKO ANA CAROLINA GARCIA
STEFAN FRANCESCO GESS JAMES MICHAEL GIULIANI
CHRISTOPHER GLEASON CHRISTIAN GOELZ
SERGEI GORIACHEV JEFFREY GUTIERREZ
JACOB DAVID HARTMANN TODD HELLMAN
SANDILYA HOTA JING HUANG
TAEYEONG HWANG FARID ILISHKIN
NATASHA INDRAS DAISUKE ISHIHARA
MAYANK JAIN CHARLY JEGANATHAN
KIOOK JEOUNG BENJAMIN DAVID JOHNSON
GENE CHRISTOPHER JONES CHARLES EVAN KALBACHER
ROBERT H. KAPLAN SHAUN KARPELOWSKY
NAHO KATSURA DAVID KITE
ANA KLASER BRAD KOSEFF
DMITRY KURANOV VANCHIKAL JOSEPH KURIAN
ROMEO LAGUARDIA, JR. YAN LAM
ROMAN LELEKOV TJISANA LEWIS
SIYAN LI CELESTE MARIE LIM
CHAO LIN WEIJIE LIU
TRACY LOH WEI LU
MICHAEL LUCE OLEG LUPASCO
KIN MA HARIKRISHNA MADANARAJ
PEDRO MADEIRA RAVI MAHENDRAKAR
FREDERIC MAHIEU IYA MALAKHOVA
EMIN MAMMADOV PRAJAKTA MANIYAR.
(someone shouting and audience laughing) VARDAN MARKOSYAN
JOHN MICHAEL MAZARAKIS CYNTHIA MARIE MCGEE
PUNEET MEHTA ALEXEY MIKHEEV
JONATHAN MINOR JONATHAN MINOR
TOWFIQ MIR DAVID MODOL FLIX
ZEYA THURA MON LEONID MOROZOVSKII
NITIN MOTWANI ABDELKARIM MOULINE
ABIGAIL MOYER MACIEJ MROZ
MICHAEL MURPHY TUNG NGUYEN
SURESH NISTALA ANTONIO MIGUEL OLIVO
ILANIT OSHRI AYTENKIN OTO
ADAMA OUATTARA OLUFUNMILAYO OYINLOLA OLOMOLEHIN
TUSHAR PANDEY VIKRANT PANDEY
NINO PAPAVA RAMAN PARTHASARATHY
VIDYA PARTHASARATHY DIPEN PATEL
CHAKA M. PATTERSON MARTA PAWLOWSKA
LI PENG DIEGO PIRANI
CYNTHIA PONGWENI BRADFORD WILLIAM POWELL
GYAN PRAKASH ZIAUR RAHMAN
AARON RAIHSHTEIN KARTHIK RAJAGOPALAN
GANESH RELEKAR. [Laughter]
NARAYANAN NARAYANAN RANGANATHAN.
Sorry. CHESTER RODEHEAVER
SCHUYLER ANDREW ROGG RANDAL ROMELL
SANJOY ROY NAVEEN SAMPATH
BENJAMIN SCHACK MARIA SCOTT
EMIKO SEALE ABHISHEK SEN
GILSERRA ARNAU RUSLAN SIBAEV
[Laughter] MARTIN SIGWART
MANISHA SINGH MIKHAIL SKLYAROV
ROBERT SLONE LIEKE SOFIAR
JANET SONG RICHARD GEORGE STEPHENSON
KANAN SUGANTHARAMAN YASUYUKI TANAKA
MATTHEW PAUL TAYLOR JONGHYUN TCHA
PRADEEP TEKKEY MIN THA GYAW
CHRISTINE THOMAS KATHRYN THURSTON
CLAUDIUS SZE WAI TSANG EKATERINA TSUKANOVA
JOSIAH DAVID TUBBS VACLAV VACHTA
SYLVIA ANGELA VAN LOVEREN ANTON VINSKIY
JOHN DAVID WALLACE NELSON NGAT WONG
JOYE WYKOFF LISA XIA
FENG XIANG GONGMEI XU
SUNNY YANG PATRICK YIP
BRIAN JAEHUN YUN MICHAEL ZELENIUCH
WENHUI ZHANG ZIQI ZHAO
MIG ZHU BAUYRZHAN ZHUMABEK
WHITNEY ZIMMERMAN. Lee Ching‑Ju.
[Applause.] [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
>>Dean Skinner: This is a special day for all of you upon whom I have just conferred
a degree. And, it is a special day for the family members
and friends who may be here to join you. It marks the completion of your MBA studies,
a path that I trust has been challenging. I hope you are enjoying this moment of celebration
and perhaps moment of reflection that this day affords.
You are all now graduates of the University of Chicago!
Congratulations. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Because of your achievements that we celebrate here today with your family and friends, each
of you will always be connected to the University of Chicago, a connection that I hope you and
we will foster for many years. And so, to all degree recipients, please accept
my congratulations for all you have achieved. I wish you all good fortune and happiness
in the years ahead. Enjoy your coming adventures, wherever they may lead you.
[Music.] “Trumpet Tune for Organ.”
Composed by Robert Ampt. [Music.]
[Applause.]>>Deputy Dean Berger: Following our recessional,
please join your classmates, families, friends, faculty and staff at a reception across the
street in Harper Center. And I have one final announcement to make
regarding a special arrangement of carillon music that will be played in honor of our graduates
and our speaker today, Linda Ginzel. The music will be played starting at 5 p.m. and can
be heard right outside Rockefeller Chapel. Thank you.
This now concludes our graduation ceremony. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
[Music.]