“There’s one thing I’m certain that’s common among everyone earning this degree today: you were seeking to become a more effective leader. [The Executive MBA] program does a great job of bringing together people from diverse backgrounds, industries and experiences, but we are all united by this purpose.”
Tammy Hannah, president and CEO of Origami Rehabilitation, addressed 98 Spartans at the Broad College of Business’ Executive MBA commencement ceremony on May 1. She sent off the program’s 56th graduating class and the first graduating cohort of the program’s Flex option, a hybrid format launched in 2020.
Over the course of 20 months, these Executive MBA students made a weekend investment for lifelong returns, pursuing this degree without pausing their professional careers.
Hannah, a 2020 alumna of the program and a 2020 Poets & Quants Best and Brightest EMBA honoree, inspired students by talking about servant leadership and embracing humility. “As a leader, always align yourself to the higher cause of serving those you’re charged with leading,” she said.
“Your toolbox will never be too full. Humble leadership requires openness, trust, collaboration and vulnerability. We need humble, curious leaders more now than ever before.”
One student from each of the three program cohorts was chosen by class vote to speak at the ceremony as well. They shared personal highlights and lessons learned from their journeys through the program, with optimism for the future prevalent in each speech.
“When I think about everyone in the cohort, I think you’re humbly confident, driven to make a difference and deeply care about each other,” Gregg Diamond, of the East Lansing cohort, said. “I can’t wait to see what we’re able to accomplish together.”
Al Makke, of the Troy cohort, highlighted how graduation is a new starting point for many. “You have to start to be great. We built greater networks and landed greater jobs, and it’s been a phenomenal launching pad — it’s a beginning, not an end.”
Finally, Brandon Reame, of the Flex cohort, summed up the responsibility that all graduating Spartans take on: working to make the world a better place. “What is clear is that we now have better tools, resources, connections and skills to be better, to become that role model, to encourage people to take the leap. We have the opportunity to inspire others.”
Additionally, the program recognized 19 Broad Enterprise Leadership Academy Fellows. These students participated in a variety of leadership-based activities throughout their 20-month journey. The Academy experience is designed to develop leaders who make immediate and sustained impact on their organization and community. To qualify for the fellowship, honor students must meet a target participation level across a variety of leadership-based activities, such as our peer-learning-community RoadMap sessions, executive coaching, class representation and various Broad leadership speaker sessions.
“There have been a lot of turns, a lot of pivots and a lot of flexing, but you’ve persevered,” Cheri DeClercq, assistant dean of MBA programs, said. “This is a remarkable group of people, and you should be proud of what you’ve done, individually and collectively.”
In addition, faculty were recognized with awards for years of service and for excellence in teaching, the latter chosen through popular student vote for each program cohort. John Wagner, professor of management, was honored for 20 years of service; Stephen Schiestel, Frederick S. Addy Professor of Practice and a 1998 alumnus of the program, was honored by the Troy cohort and Kirt Butler, associate professor of finance, was honored by both the East Lansing and Flex cohorts.
As in each commencement ceremony, there was an overwhelming feeling of excitement and pride as Spartans prepare to embark on their next chapter.
Dean Sanjay Gupta shared three takeaways for the Class of 2022 as they close their time at Michigan State: “We hope that you built relationships for life with each other and with MSU. We hope that the lessons in teamwork go beyond the classroom and help you to change, improve and advance your businesses and your community. We hope you’ll be an active Spartan, stay engaged and continue to reap the benefits of this memorable experience.”