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The Kellogg School’s Class of 2009 celebrated Convocation on June 20.

The Kellogg School’s Class of 2009 celebrated Convocation on June 20.

2009 Full-Time and Part-Time MBA Convocation

Kellogg graduates are urged to pursue their passions now and to help others

By Amy Trang

6/26/2009 - Just before they took on the real world, members of the Kellogg School’s Class of 2009 learned a few final lessons on passion, influence and challenges.

Convocation speaker Miles D. White, CEO of Abbott
A sea of purple-gowned Part-Time and Full-Time Kellogg graduates received their MBA diplomas June 20 as family, friends, faculty and staff cheered the completion of their journey at Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena.

“During his Convocation address, Miles D. White, CEO of Abbott, advised graduates on the meaning of success. White referred to a survey he had taken after he graduated from business school in 1980. The survey asked graduates why they had pursued a business degree. The possible answers included wealth, a high rank and position, wide recognition and intellectual authority, and global opportunities. White told the Kellogg graduates they didn't need to worry about achieving any of those goals, because their Kellogg experience has created a path to reach all of them.

He urged graduates to look instead at internal measures of success and to avoid the trap of easy wins.

"I urge you to stay true to yourself and find that thing where you can sustain passion," White said. "Define for yourself what will make you happy and truly fulfilled. Do the things you believe in now. Don't wait."

MBA Convocation
Photo © Nathan Mandell
White said graduates need to become builders of a life well lived, not only in their careers, but also through their family, children and legacy.

"Make this degree count, make this day count," White said. "Find the work path and life path that you are passionate about (so) that you will rush to work in the morning and at the end of the day, you are just as excited to rush home."

Assistant Professor Gad Allon, who was voted the L.G. Lavengood Outstanding Professor of the Year by the Kellogg student body earlier this month, urged students to continue to reevaluate the issues they focus on and realize that life is about making choices — hard choices.

"Rarely are trade-offs in life wrapped up in nice equations," Allon said. "Learn from your failures."

Kellogg Student Association President Lloyd Sommers ’09 also addressed his fellow graduates. "The world is full of contradictions,” he said. “These are the challenges we face but what Kellogg has prepared us to face."

Sommers added that the graduates have the force of their Kellogg experience behind them, including the friendships, skills and knowledge they have nurtured during their years at the school.

Presiding over his final graduation as Kellogg dean, Dean Dipak C. Jain said that Convocation is a time for reflection. He added that the graduates' time at Kellogg has provided them with the skills, the confidence and the friendships to move toward their next phase of life. He also offered one final piece of advice.

"Never hesitate to ask and never hesitate to help others," Jain said. "The best thing you can do is to be a nice person, to be a good human being. The influence you have on people is everlasting."