Speech on Graduation Ceremony
Ladies and Gentleman,
I am happy to join with you that fantastic day that stands for our commitment to excellence.
On behalf of the graduates of the IMBA and the MBA program, I would like to welcome our faculty, alumni, friends, family, and distinguished guests at the graduation ceremony of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Antai College.
Standing here today, as one of the graduating students of our outstanding college, is a big honor to me.
Dear IMBA and MBA colleagues, we made it!
Think about how far we have come. Our 2 years of studying were no walk in the park. We went through the hard group and project work. We reduced or even stopped our profession to study again. We invested our money and our family’s money. We spent sleepless nights studying hard, writing reports and discussing with our mates.
Eventually, some even got married. Spending nights and weekends on group projects finally is paying off. Thank you Jiao Tong University, dear professors, teachers, mentors and MBA staff for supporting us and setting the right boundary conditions for our personal and professional development.
With energy and new enhanced business knowledge, we are ready to influence our environment in a professional and large scale and open the door for a new great future.
Many are, or will get challenged with leadership roles. Like me, when I started almost one year ago as a VP and general manager in a Chinese company that is growing globally. Real life is not textbook alike. You do not learn that in a course. Other things count. I want to share with you a story that I believe is the key to success.
It’s about a young excellent graduate who went to apply for a managerial position in a big company. He passed the first interview; the director did the last interview, made the last decision. The director discovered from the CV that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent all the way.
The director asked, “Was it your father who paid for your school fees?” The youth answered, “My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees”.
The director asked, “Where did your mother work?” The youth answered, “My mother worked as clothes cleaner. The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect”.
The director asked, “Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?” The youth answered, “Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me”.
The director said, “I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother’s hands, and then see me tomorrow morning”.
The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly. He felt very strange. It was the first time he noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.
This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fee. The bruises in the mother’s hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future. After finishing the cleaning of his mother’s hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother. That night, mother and son talked for a very long time. Next morning, the youth went to the director’s office.
The Director noticed the tears in the youth’s eyes, asked: “Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?” The youth answered, “I cleaned my mother’s hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes”.
The Director asked, “Please tell me your feelings”. The youth said, “Number 1, I know now what is appreciation. Without my mother, there would not the successful me today. Number 2, By working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done. Number 3, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationship”.
The director said, “This is what I am looking for to be my manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life, but look for his people. You are hired”. Later on, this young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. They were very successful.
Class, be excellent and work hard. But much better, love what you do, what interests you and do it with all your heart, then it will be fun and you will enjoy contributing what is necessary to be successful. You will be making important choices over the next few years. Eventually you find what you love to do, and pour yourself into it. You'll be at your best, when you're happy. When you feel joy.
Let’s remember that we, with our achievements, would not be here today without the support and patience of our families, partners and friends. So let’s give them a great applause for the great work they have done.
This link and need of support will not break up in the future. Although our parents are getting older, the support from our friends, family, subordinates and supervisors will always play a major role in our personal and career development.
We need each other. Have a look to your colleague on the right side, and to your colleague on the left side. All these people are amazing men and women that strive for the best in life, just like you do. We cannot walk alone. And the good thing is: we do not have to walk alone.
Now have a dream, follow your passion, believe in yourself and go ahead. Make a difference today. Believe anything is possible and then work like hell to make it happen. This is the place of endless opportunities. There is no better moment that right now! Together we will make impact. Keep on striving to be the best version to yourself. Have courage, have fun and help each other.
Congratulations class of 1491.