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IMD’s 2015 MBA celebrates uniqueness in graduation ceremony

Australian businessman Andrew Abercrombie gives keynote on resilience


What makes every IMD MBA class special is the composition of participants undertaking the program. In their diversity, and in the strong bonds they built on their journey together, the graduates of 2015 made for a stellar and unique class.

“Each of us will remember this year slightly differently,” Ralf Boscheck, IMD MBA Program Director said addressing the class. “And that’s not because we are all exceptional – standing out in a crowd. It is because every single one of us is unique and experiences things in a unique way.”

The IMD MBA is built on three pillars – technical competence, self-awareness and moral judgement. And for Professor Boscheck, the concept of uniqueness is one of contradictions. While we must be aware of our uniqueness and build on it, we must remember that individualism and community are not mutually exclusive. They are preconditions for each other, as one needs others to further pursue individual fulfilment.

“Life is not just something… it is an opportunity to do something; something that is unique and to the benefit of others. We all must keep this in mind,” Professor Boscheck said.

Testament to the strong bonds built in previous class, IMD had the honor of welcoming a tight-knit group of alumni from the MBA class of 1988. Among them, the Australian businessman Andrew Abercrombie, who gave the commencement speech.

“Every misstep offers a new challenge and possibly a new solution,” he told the 90 IMD graduates, citing resilience in navigating mistakes as one of the most important factors that has shaped his success.

Analyzing the business environment, Abercrombie also addressed major trends in global social economics.

“In business one must constantly be on the lookout for opportunities. The changes ahead will be radical. What used to take 20 years, will now take only 5. And as the population increases, jobs will decrease,” he said. “How will society share the spoils of capital with those that no longer have an opportunity for work?”

Once also celebrating the accomplishment of his degree and finding himself at a crossroads with fellow participants, he reminded the graduates to keep in touch.

“Protect the network and friendships you have built at IMD. The degree was the most formal part of my education and, through the network, it is a gift that keeps giving.”

Speaking on behalf of the class of 2015, Daniele Semenza reminded his fellow classmates of the intense journey they had together from the Navigating the Future conference and international consulting projects to discovery expeditions abroad and a trip to Istanbul.

“Going through this experience made us ask ourselves what we really want from life,” Semenza said. “Tomorrow when we wake up and start a new phase of our lives we must remember that this phase doesn’t end. We have our whole life to continue our friendship and support each other.”

In closing, Semenza quoted the ever famous Dr. Seuss. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

The ceremony also included the presentation of special awards.

Since 1985, IMD has awarded the Welshe Family Memorial Prize to the most outstanding woman in the IMD MBA program. The award was given in memory of Gillian Welshe (IMEDE MBA 1984). Though 2012 was announced to be the last year of the award, prior award recipients came together to continue the prize. This year's prize was given to Rachel Bittner.

Demonstrating a spirit of altruism and selflessness throughout the year, Marta Balana was honored by her classmates with the Hepper Award. This is an honor given in memory of Michael Hepper and his time at IMD.

The following members of the 2015 MBA class graduated with honors: Ato Anderson, Nicholas Allan, Silvia Costa Neves, Dennis de Reus, Ahmed Farouk, Carlo Ferrari, Courtney Galligan, Juiliette Gordon, Lukas Hochmeister, Jelmer Hoogendoorn, Alex Knecht, Sarabraj Nagulapati, Hersh Shah, Archit Shastry, Elvin Sulejmanovic and Sara Wilhelmsson.

Learn more about IMD’s MBA program.


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