With greater than a straight A grade point average, Jennifer Burleson was chosen over hundreds of other graduate students to give the graduation class address for her MBA this Spring, from the University of New Mexico, Anderson School of management:
Good afternoon everyone, and welcome. Graduation is an important time for us, and as MBA class speaker, I would like to start by recognizing all those who are here to support us: the families, friends, and of course everyone from the Anderson School of Management. Your support and encouragement throughout this process have been key to our success, and for that we thank you.
To the class of 2012, I would like to talk to you about three things: motivation, dedication, and passion. I believe that the drive to get an MBA requires all three, and without a doubt you all represent these qualities today. We are all motivated – whether it be to advance our careers, make a better living for ourselves, or to learn as much as we can.
We are all dedicated – dedicated to our education, to our community, and to ourselves. And we all have passion – passion in our education and passion in our lives. These elements are what make exceptional students, and the Anderson School of Management has been an exceptional place for us to learn.
We have been challenged, encouraged, and pushed to think outside the box. We have spent long days and nights working on group projects and studying for exams. It reminds me of what I was told when I first got into graduate school: “Study, sleep, or friends. Choose two.” I hope that none of you have had to go to this extreme, but I’m willing to bet that each and every one of us has had to make some adjustments in order to get where we are today.
Perhaps you had to learn to live off of five hours of sleep each night, or had to give up some time with friends in order to study for an exam. Whatever your unique situation, you should realize that any sacrifices you’ve had to make represent a deep commitment to your education; a commitment that should be acknowledged and commended by each and every one of us.
I ask you to now reflect on your own time at Anderson. Think of where you were a couple of years ago and think of where you are today. For me, my time at Anderson starts at the new student orientation back in 2010. I was nervous, unfamiliar with UNM, but eager to begin my studies. I sat at a table with five other ambitious students, all expressing the same enthusiasm that I was feeling. This was the start of four very busy, but very rewarding semesters at Anderson.
In just these two short years, so much has changed, and I can see these changes in myself and in my fellow classmates. We have grown as individuals, both personally and professionally. In my own experience, I feel that my time here has helped me learn more about my strengths and weaknesses, and has helped me develop the skills that I feel I need to become a valued member of any organization.
Of course, your own experiences here may be very different than mine, but I bet that we can all agree that our time at Anderson has helped us gain the knowledge and confidence that we need to succeed in management.
So whether your career path is already mapped out or is still uncertain, proceed with confidence knowing that you received an excellent education from an excellent institution. I encourage you to never stop learning, and remember to stay motivated, dedicated, and passionate in whatever you do. Congratulations to the class of 2012, and best of luck to you in your future careers.