On Saturday, May 4, the Breslin Center was packed and the emotions in the air were nearly tangible. The moments enhanced by the electric speeches that were soon to come. Families and friends stood with their soon-to-be graduate to hug, laugh, cry and take pictures, but also to reflect before the Eli Broad College of Business undergraduate commencement ceremony. This is a special day they want to remember forever.

Broad College of Business Management Student - Spring 2019 Broad Commencement

Photo courtesy of Kasra Raffi

A commemorative day at Michigan State University of all the students have accomplished during their years at MSU. Now, 1,211 graduates stand ready with their classmates as they prepare to bring this time to a close.

Guest speaker Linda Hubbard, COO and President of Carhartt, earned her undergraduate degree in accounting from Broad. Hubbard spoke to her audience of the grit Spartans possess, their ability to “outwork them all” and the values of “leading self,” a term they use at Carhartt. “Leading self is the baseline competency for leadership. It is leading with honesty and integrity. It is being dependable, resilient and authentic. These values will serve you well in your life and your future and guide you in passing the lifelong tests of character to come,” said Hubbard.

Student speaker Tim Sharky (B.A. Finance) was a highly active member of the Broad community. He was the Finance Association president and participated in several other organizations. Sharky shared sentiments on leadership and the generosity of the Spartan community.

Sharky spoke of a theory that one of his mentors shared with him called the “ladder theory.”

“It states that a person can move ahead in life in two ways, either being pulled up by those above them or pushed higher by those on a lower rung. Should you lose favor with those on an upper rung and they release their grip, those below are likely to step aside and let you fall if you have not treated them with the proper respect,” said Sharky. “Progress may be slower with the push-up approach. But when you follow this path, if you make a misstep, those beneath will brace you from the fall and lift you back up.”

Sharky has experienced this firsthand as older students helped him in his college career by giving him advice on his classes, extracurricular activities and life. “They didn’t do that because they had to. They didn’t do it because it would personally benefit them or they would get something out of it. They did it because they saw a fellow Spartan they could have an impact on,” he said.

Broad College Students walking up to receive their diplomas - Spring 2109 Broad Commencement

Photo courtesy of Kasra Raffi

Authenticity was one of the three values that Hubbard noted as part of leading self and she emphasized how important it is to be sincere and truthful. “You have your own unique way of expressing yourself, and of working, and your own unique view of the world around you. When you have a deep understanding of yourself and your values, you can be very clear in your goals and what you want to accomplish both in your career and your life outside work,” said Hubbard.

“The class of 2019 continuously strives to push boundaries and achieve academic excellence at the Broad College. Their individual and teamwork strengths, work ethic, curiosity and creativity are what position Broad as a top-of-mind business school,” said Sanjay Gupta, dean of the Broad College of Business. “It is my hope that these students continue making an impact in their careers and beyond, and to do so with a deep commitment to ethics and integrity. Spartans Will make business happen,” said Sanjay Gupta, dean of the Broad College of Business.

The college’s 2019 graduates included:


  • Accounting: 200
  • Finance: 307
  • Hospitality Business: 133
  • Human Resource Management: 40
  • Management: 31
  • Marketing: 196
  • Supply Chain Management: 304

Advanced degrees

  • Full-Time MBA: 75
  • M.S. in Accounting: 109
  • M.S. in Finance: 17
  • M.S. in Hospitality Business: 5
  • M.S. in Management, Strategy and Leadership: 100
  • M.S. in Marketing Research: 20
  • Ph.D.: 9

The advanced degree commencement ceremony took place on May 3 and featured Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer as the keynote speaker. The 109 Executive MBA graduates were honored on March 10 at the Wharton Center.

Three alumni received Distinguished Alumni Award recognition as well. Natalya Leahy, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Holland America Line and Seabourn and the Young Alumni Representative on the Broad College Advisory Board, received the Young Alumni Achievement Award. John Duffey, past president and CEO of Six Flags Entertainment and member of the Broad College Advisory Board, and Michael Krimbill, CEO of NGL Energy Partners LP and a member of its Board of Directors, both earned Outstanding Alumni Achievement Awards.

From its speakers to the incredible commitment of its faculty and alumni, the Broad College 2019 commencement represented the college’s extraordinary impact and collective power.