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Graduates celebrated the completion of their Kellogg Executive MBA program June 12.

EMBA Convocation 2010

2010 Executive MBA Convocation

Former Kellogg Dean Dipak Jain tells graduates: ‘Know that Kellogg will always be there for you’

By Shannon Sweetnam

6/18/2010 - The mood was exuberant June 12 for the 118 graduates of the Executive MBA Program, as they embraced what Interim Dean Sunil Chopra called “incredible opportunities to make contributions of lasting significance.”

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  Keynote speaker, Dipak C. Jain
Full Ceremony
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 Family and friends cheered as members of EMP classes 77 and 78, Kellogg-Hong Kong University of Science and Technology class KH-12, and one member of EMP-75 received their diplomas and joined a long line of successful Kellogg alumni.

Former Kellogg School Dean Dipak C. Jain delivered the convocation address, sharing the three most important things he has learned during his time at Kellogg. “The first thing I learned is that education will drive the economic powers of the future. The largest investment a family can make is [in] education,” said Jain, the Sandy and Morton Goldman Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies.

Jain said he also learned that, more than anything else, one’s values shape one’s identity. “Kellogg’s values are collaboration, passion and the courage to explore things. Whatever you do, make sure these values stay with you,” he advised.

Lastly, Jain encouraged graduates to move from success to significance and spoke a bit about his own plans for the future, which include establishing a university for women from war-torn countries. “Education is what you make of it. Do something great,” Jain said. “The challenge ahead of you is never greater than the force behind you. Know that Kellogg will always be there for you.”

Two graduating students — chosen by their classmates to speak on behalf of their class — also delivered remarks at the ceremony. EMP-77 graduate Seth Erickson, a director at W.W. Grainger, and EMP-78 graduate Michael Dienhart, senior director of national network engineering at U.S. Cellular, both emphasized that it was the people of Kellogg — their fellow students, professors and program team members — who defined their experience.

Before he began at Kellogg, Erickson said, a friend told him there was no equal to what he was about to experience, and that his classmates would define his time at the school. “I take with me from Kellogg not only a world-class education,” said Erickson, “but a strong sense of accomplishment and relationships that will last a lifetime.” Earning a Kellogg degree, he said, was not just an individual achievement but a collective achievement for the entire class.

Dienhart offered similar sentiments, explaining that the best of Kellogg came from his own classmates, from people with business experience who were willing to share their knowledge with each other, and from the supportive environment at the school. “We expect life to be fair,” said Dienhart, “and for hard work to be rewarded. Sometimes, opportunities don’t break our way no matter how hard we try — except for here. Coming to Kellogg every other weekend was like a breath of fresh air. It is an opportunity like few others. ”

Executive MBA students recognized four Kellogg faculty members — Timothy Calkins, Janice Eberly, Steven Rogers, and Sergio Rebelo — with top-professor awards at the ceremony. The graduates also gave back to Kellogg: EMP-77 pledged $30,500 toward its class gift, while EMP-78 pledged $45,000.