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2016 Commencement Delivers Powerful Messages

By Caroline Brooks

Show up and give it your all.

Take responsibility over your own destiny.

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition – they somehow already know what you truly want to become.

If the energy from within the Breslin Center at the 2016 Eli Broad College of Business commencement ceremony wasn’t pulsating to begin with, the commanding guest speeches left students and their families with an adrenaline rush. On May 7, entrepreneur Bob Skandalaris and graduating senior Ridwan Jimoh served as the keynote and student speakers before more than a thousand graduates as they ended their Broad chapters and began the next.

Bob Skandalaris giving speech
Commencement speaker Bob Skandalaris addresses graduates and family at a packed Breslin Center ceremony.

Though at very different points in their careers, the two speakers complemented one another. Skandalaris, a 1974 Broad graduate, reflected what he learned by entering the workforce at the roughest point in Michigan’s economy and how he was able to marry his skills and passion to find true success and, more importantly, happiness. Jimoh, who emigrated from Nigeria 13 years ago, shared his experiences trying to assimilate and how attending Broad was a platform to reinvent himself, to thrive, and to take advantage of each opportunity that came his way. The speakers faced different challenges as they began their new chapters, but shared the outlook that dedication, opportunism, and accountability are major factors in one’s victories.

“Your time on earth is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s dreams. Don’t be overly influenced by the opinions of others. Don’t let the voice of others drown out your inner thoughts. And, most important, please have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary,” Skandalaris said in his speech.

Reflecting on how he changed at Broad, Jimoh said, “The challenges you choose to face head on do not matter. What matters is that you keep fighting and always look towards the bigger picture in life, because we are Spartans and it is in our nature to fight and think big.”

Ridwan Jimoh giving his speech.
Student speaker Ridwan Jimoh shared inspiring advice from his experiences at Broad.

Their messages will not fall on deaf ears. As the largest commencement class in the entire university, Broad’s 2016 graduates leave campus to start their own journeys and will inevitably experience changes, struggles, and victories in their own capacities. The first victory, of what is hoped to be many, is crossing the stage as alumni. The college’s 2016 graduates included:

Undergraduate

  • Accounting: 192
  • Finance: 253
  • Hospitality Business: 190
  • Human Resource Management: 27
  • Management: 22
  • Marketing: 133
  • Supply Chain Management: 269

Advanced degrees

  • Full-Time MBA: 78
  • MS in Accounting: 120
  • MS in Finance: 20
  • MS in Hospitality Business: 8
  • MS in Management, Strategy, and Leadership: 74
  • MS in Supply Chain Management: 5
  • PhD: 15

The advanced degree commencement ceremony took place on May 6 and featured MSU chemistry alumna Ellen Williams as the keynote speaker. Williams is Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), U.S. Department of Energy. The 122 Executive MBA graduates were honored on March 13 at the Wharton Center.

“Our student body is the backbone of the Eli Broad College of Business. Their individual strengths, talents, and creativity are the reason the Broad College has a reputation as a top business college.  As they move on to a career or continue their academic journey, these graduates will make an extraordinary impact in business and in their communities because that is who they are as Spartans, and Spartans Will,” said Sanjay Gupta, dean of the Broad College of Business.


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