The following is the Fall 2012 MBA Valedictory speech by Temple Uwalaka
Chairman Kim, President Endicott, Dean Jun, Professors, parents, friends, and fellow graduates, good morning.
I am elated at the opportunity given to me to present the valedictory speech of the fall 2012 MBA graduating class. I am humbled and I count myself privileged by this honorary role and I say thank you to SolBridge and to you fellow graduating students, without whom there would have been no class and cause to stand here today.
Today marks the end; it also marks the beginning, yes, the very beginning for the fall 2012 MBA graduating students. Today captures the collegial memories of dreams won and lost together at any rate; and at the same time become the signature tune of our entry into the real world where character, endurance and consistent perseverance marks the stories of those whose footprints will be engraved in the sands of time.
It is said that, “the disease of ignorance can only be cured in the school of knowledge”. That is what we have gained here in Solbridge. It was tortuous at times and looked like swimming in a crocodile-infested river. We were at times exasperated; came to class with sleepy eyes and at other times, prepared reports overnight. The good news is that it was worth the struggle.
We owe our thanks to all our professors, past and present, whose guiding graces marked a watershed of the very intellectual essence that brought us here in the very first place. I would like to take this opportunity to give special thanks to, Prof. Kowtha for imbuing in us an analytical skill; to Prof Sing, for the simplicity and fun he brings to teaching, to Prof Oleson for the priceless advice she gave to me in my first semester; also to you; Prof Das, for encouraging and teaching us how to write academic papers; and to Professors Miller and Boyd as well as Prof Zhang for all your hard work for us.
My warm respect to Professors Kim and Song for your kindness to us; and for being my academic referees; we also appreciate Dean Jun and President Endicott for playing a great role in providing us with this great faculty and creating excellent programs like the CEO mentoring program, wise-men and Platinum lecture series. These programs were very useful to us. I want to thank Deborah and all fifth floor staff, for working so hard for us. More than thanks, we owe SolBridge success in our endeavors.
My profound gratitude goes to my parents, for their love and care; also to my uncle and his wife Ambassador and Mrs Desmond Akawor, for not only seeing to my financial needs through-out my stay here, but also for their advice, motivation and love. To you Akan, Aunty Flora, Harold, Raphael and Daniel for being there for me and preparing delicious meals each time I visit Seoul; and to my friends Leo, Celestin, James, Kig, the Jessicas, Miss Manli, Anabel, Yan Yan, Vassamon, Kani, Denis and Saken for making me a better person. And to everyone who contributed to this epoch making event, I say Thank you.
The whole essence of our gathering here; as graduates is not only to be merry, and be presented with certificates but most importantly to be commissioned for greatness and excellence in which-ever course we choose to chart.
My fellow graduates, we have undergone drills from our required and elective courses and have been taught Leadership, Team work, Accountability and proper decision making technique. This has equipped us with the skills to increase in learning, aptitude to succeed, abilities and creativity to make a difference, to work to meet the needs and to assist in solving the problems that face our world, bearing in mind that a man who lives for himself is a failure-even if he gains much wealth, power or position.
According to Tedd Levitt, “the future belongs to people who see possibilities before it becomes obvious”. You would agree with me that businesses are triggered by problems, ideas, dreams, opportunity, Government Legislations, business requirement and market demands.
Consider that which is taking place around the world; the emerging markets, pollution, going green, international trade, and world financial recovery- consider them.
What do we see? Do we see” opportunity is nowhere or opportunity is now here?” Remember we were taught that, wherever we find a problem that there are business opportunities. Find them and be triggered for greatness. For great men are ordinary men with extra ordinary determination. Think, think outside the box. Look at things not as they are but as they can be.
As we leave SolBridge today, may we not remember the A’s we never made, the Scholarships we never had, the friends we never met, the food we never ate and the love we never found. But, may we remember, the smiles on faces which we caused; the laughter of friends whom we love, the smell of kimchi that we ate; the peace of our School (SolBridge) which we cherish and the echoes of truth which we spoke.
I want to thank you specially, fellow graduates, for making our classes interactive, educating and fun. Finally, in the words of Martin Luther King JR, “if you cannot fly, run, if you cannot run, walk, if you cannot walk, crawl, by all means keep on moving”.
Keep on Moving, Fellow Graduates!