President Theobald, Professors, Distinguished Guests and Fellow students,
it is my great honor to make this commencement speech today on behalf of the Temple University Japan, Fox School of Business, Executive MBA Class of 2015.
On a personal note, I had a dream.
It was getting an MBA from a prestigious US University. It was my “American Dream.” But, I knew it would be extremely tough to accomplish, so it took me as long as 25 years to make up my mind.
Finally, I took a giant step with determination; to challenge myself at this first-class institution, Temple University. I am certain that all of our 20 classmates embraced their own vision and aspiration, and in 2013 we started together climbing this high mountain, MBA.
Do you know what image I had of MBA students before? Aggressive, brash, big-headed. And, even worse, this program is named “Executive MBA.” I was so scared of you, classmates, at first.
After our class started, my anticipation was totally betrayed…in a good way. You guys are so cool! Mature, well-balanced, and lovable.
Working, and sometimes struggling, with our classmates was really exciting and stimulating. We are all different—in age, background, and nationality. We are from all over the world; the US, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Germany, Brazil, and Japan.
We covered a wide range of subjects such as Accounting and Finance, Marketing, and Global Management. Classes were tremendously valuable, but horrendously tough. The most agonizing thing was the massive reading assignments!
Thick textbooks, case studies, and other reference materials…Our bags were always fully packed and heavy. So it was like very good weight training for us. Thanks to that, we became a little muscular. I, Rocky Nishino, got a little closer to “Rocky Balboa” in the Movie “Rocky.”
In our expedition, the heaviest blizzard was the subject called, “Statistics.” Do you remember, so many difficult concepts and terms? Sigma, Standard Deviation, Variance… The humble CPU in our brains was almost frozen. Anyhow, we survived.
We sacrificed a lot: holidays, hobbies, family obligations. Can you imagine how many hours we invested in this MBA thing?
I did my math. About 2,000 hours! An average Japanese business person works 1,900 hours a year. Considering that, what a huge “Opportunity Cost” we incurred! However, this sacrifice has paid off.
Now, it’s time for us to give back to our loved ones and society.
I am very happy to recognize some of our great achievements besides finishing our MBA. Several members were already headhunted and started climbing their career path.
Two couples got married, and surprisingly, two members had new babies! In such a hectic schedule with MBA and regular jobs, they did another superb job.
They achieved the second MBA. Master of Baby Acquisition!
Without great support from the people around us, we couldn’t have gotten our degrees. We were so lucky to have excellent professors.
In addition to their classes of highest quality, these teachers supplemented our study with voluntary tutoring sessions. That was extremely helpful. We cannot thank you enough.
Sadly, one of our professors, Kathleen Daerr Bannon passed away this spring.
On behalf of our classmates, I would like to express our deepest condolences. Professor Bannon, what we learnt from you remains with each of us and we promise to make the most of your lessons.
We would also like to thank the Temple staff for their thoughtful and warm support. Dr. Mikiya Mori, Jacqueline Osawa, and Mieko Aoki, please accept our deepest gratitude.
And, you classmates.
Without you, I could have never reached the mountain top. You will climb even higher mountains in your search for career opportunities and personal fulfillment. Let’s hope for our bright future.
Suppose, I go back 25 years, and somebody asked me this question, “Do you want to try Temple MBA, your dream?” My answer would definitely be “No!” Because if I had started 25 years ago, I wouldn’t have met these great people at the right time and the right place.
In closing, I would like to inherit the words with respect. This is what our 2 MBA senpais used in their commencement speeches.
“I salute the class of 2015, and I look forward to continuing our friendship and camaraderie for the rest of our lives.”