Dean Park’s Remarks to SolBridge Graduating Class Fall 2022
“I’d like to thank Founder Kim, Chairman Lee, President Oh, high officials, faculty members, distinguished guests, and our students and parents for this opportunity to address our graduating class of Fall 2022. Graduating class of Fall, 2022: you have my heartfelt congratulations and blessings on finishing this stage of your journey at SolBridge International School of Business, getting ready to take the next step forward.
Oftentimes, especially when words of wisdom are given to young people like yourselves, you are encouraged to look ahead, not back. To look to the future, to set a goal, to plan, to dream. And all of that might be good advice, to put you in better shape to adapt to what lies ahead, especially in an era of transformation and upheaval.
But at moments like this, when an important chapter of your life is coming to a close, it’s worthwhile to look back to what this chapter has held. When you look back to the path you’ve followed for this part of your life’s journey, what does your footprint look like?
I’m not talk about your digital footprint, the record you’ve left on your social media account on Instagram, Facebook, etc.—although you can be sure that this will be something that everyone, including your future employers, will look at. The footprint I’m talking about is more than simply what you’ve posted or what you’ve done. I’m talking about your “impact.”
What do I mean by that?
Perhaps in an interview, you may have been asked who your role model or influential figure is. And you may have said Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, or Mother Theresa. And each of these figures have one thing in common. They were or are figures of tremendous impact.
Of course, when I ask each of you to think about your own impact, I’m not expecting any of you to have founded the next Tesla or Apple, ended apartheid, or saved millions of lives. However, we all can have an impact in our sphere of influence. So what impact have you made during your life at SolBridge?
One way to measure this may be to look at your MySolBridge account, which, for those of you who have put it to good use, should have tracked your activities and accomplishments at SolBridge. But it goes beyond that. How will people remember you? How did you affect the people and the world around you? Because while we can say “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me,” anyone who truly does not care about anyone else, by definition, is a sociopath. Human beings, by nature, are social animals. Our sense of self-worth is significantly tied to what we view our own impact to be. In this examination of your footprints, your impact, try to be both fair and comprehensive.
Acknowledge the nice footprints as well as the wobbly ones; your successes and failures. Celebrate the positive impacts you’ve made—in the classroom, club activities, or with your friends and family. Learn from the non-impacts or even negative impacts—what could you have done differently, or what can you do differently to leave a more positive impact both retrospectively and moving forward? Because while you can’t change what’s already been done, you certainly can try to make any further footprints you leave become ones that others will admire and may want to follow.
And since you’re all part of the SolBridge family, soon as alumni, you may be interested in how SolBridge has tried to make an impact—and what you might take away in your own attempts to make a better impact. We have tried to make a positive impact—with our students, with our research, and with our social activities. First, with our students, we have tried to make an impact as educators, mentors, and advisors: equipping you for the business world through classes, activities, and coaching. And while I know you have your share of complaints, I’m sure you have a number of classes and/or professors whom you learned something very useful from, activities/workshops/competitions which taught you skills, or maybe you took part in the job fair or other similar activities. Secondly, our professors conduct research that addresses areas of real significance in business, national/international policies. And third, we try to make an impact in the local and global society, as was seen in our involvement with the UCLG as well as initiatives with partner institutions around the world.
And while not all of our efforts may be successful, we try to continuously improve, to leave a positive impact. This is possible because we define ourselves, our activities and strategies, via our Mission: Educating the Next Generation of Asian Thought-Leaders.
I ask you to try a similar approach with your own impact. First, have a clear idea of who you would like yourself to be right now. What do you like, what are you good at? This can determine how you can have an impact in your own sphere of influence. For starters, you have GACCS, as graduates of SolBridge. You have been inculcated with global perspective, Asian expertise, creative management foundations, cross-cultural competence, and social responsibility. Can you have a positive impact professionally and personally, at your work, or with family and friends? Continuing to evaluate and form your path with your mission in mind will help you to leave an ever-growing footprint of positive impact throughout the rest of your lives.
And please remember that you will not be alone in your attempts to do so. Stay in touch with your friends and your professors—and they will help make those footprints with you. Please take advantage of and add to this tremendous global resource even after you graduate, by being active alumni.
And with those words, and bringing our mind’s eyes from our rearview footprints back to the front and looking into the future, I’m happy to invite you in just a few moments, to take the next giant step—your graduation.
Once again, congratulations!”