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From left to right: EMP-79 classmates Akio Murakami, Ajit Matthews, Gerardo Lopez Gallo, Mariano Zadeh and Sridhar Subramanian

From left to right: EMP-79 classmates Akio Murakami, Ajit Matthews, Gerardo Lopez Gallo, Mariano Zadeh and Sridhar Subramanian

Reaching the summit

As Executive MBA Program graduates celebrate their achievements, convocation speakers encourage them to use what they’ve learned to give back and create jobs

By Sara Langen

12/16/2010 - Weekend winter storms couldn’t keep family and friends away from Northwestern’s Alice Millar Chapel on Dec. 11 — nor could they cool the joy and good cheer of the graduates of Kellogg’s Executive MBA Program.

The chapel was filled with bright smiles and flashing cameras during the convocation ceremony for the 44 students from Kellogg’s Miami campus (EMP-79) and the 70 from the Evanston campus (EMP-80).

Kellogg Dean Sally Blount (left) with EMP-80 graduate Cristina Burrola
Kellogg Dean Sally Blount (left) with EMP-80 graduate Cristina Burrola
Photo By Nathan Mandell
“I want to welcome you to this cold, Evanston December,” Dean Sally Blount said. “These are terrific, happy times. You’ve reached your goal.”

Blount noted that this class was special to her, because it was her first graduating class as dean.

“Just as you’re ending, I’m beginning,” she said. “As you leave, I ask that you hold on to Kellogg — to your friendships and your new wisdom. I want you to know you can always count on Kellogg.”

Convocation speaker Gordon Segal ’60, CEO of Crate & Barrel, advised graduates to become entrepreneurs, to take an idea or product they feel passionate about and use it to create a business.

“To make the most of what you’ve learned at Kellogg, I can think of nothing better than to create something that will make people’s lives better,” he said. “You have a long voyage. Make sure that you give something back on that voyage.”

Kellogg professor Steven Rogers echoed the importance of entrepreneurial spirit, particularly during difficult economic times. The recipient of the EMP-79 class’s Top Professor Award, Rogers urged graduates to create and support new businesses.

“The world needs you to make jobs,” said Rogers, the Gordon and Llura Gund Family Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship. “We need you to be entrepreneurs, and if you’re not going the entrepreneurial route, we need you to support entrepreneurs. Be the great leaders we know you are … and help the world change to become a better place.”

Glen Vasel Professor of Finance Mitchell Petersen was also recognized by EMP-79 as well as by EMP-80, which gave its second Top Professor Award to Tokai Bank Professor of Finance Sergio Rebelo. Rebelo was introduced by Dave Sproat ’10, who gave the student address for EMP-80.

By applying what they’ve learned at Kellogg from outstanding faculty and talented classmates, the graduates can bring about real change, said Nelson Reyneri ’10, who spoke on behalf of EMP-79.

“It’s our duty as Kellogg men and women to take what we have learned with us every day as we go up and down our mountains,” he said. “If we do that, there’s no mountain we can’t climb.”