Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Valedictorian Address

Rob Wall was also elected as the valedictorian for the class.He received a standing ovation from the class and as expected came out with a memorable speech.
He has all the qualities of an excellent leader and am sure that in the coming years will make a special place for himself in the Corporate World. Here is his valedictorian speech ( of course published with his permission)

I feel humbled to have been nominated for this award and to have the opportunity to present the valedictory today. It is an honor and privilege to have been part of this class. I truly believe each and every one of us has great talent.

It has struck me that I am in fact in the illustrious position of being able to have the last word. This is a position that appears even more valuable to me now that I have completed a team-based MBA!

As I said earlier, I believe we have a great amount to be thankful for and an immense amount to be proud of. We have set objectives and worked hard to ensure that we successfully achieved all of them.

The real strength of this class, however, is the friendships and strong bonds that we have built. This class is indeed a family. We share in each others challenges and celebrate each others successes. Oscar Wilde said that “Ultimately the bond of all companionship … is conversation”. I suspect that any professor, who has tried to quieten us down in order to start a lecture, will agree that we are, in fact, close companions!

The Queen’s MBA is unique. It has provided us with a way of thinking, a set of skills, and the ability to work successfully in teams; qualities that we will take with us and apply to our future challenges. As they say, “education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten,” and I believe that Queen’s has provided us with a “real” and enduring education.

It has given us the tools we need to continue to build a fulfilling career and a happy home. I am certain that each of us will be successful in our future endeavours, and that some measure of our future success will be attributable to our time spent here together in Kingston.

As we go on, I believe that our success will come from applying a philosophy that has lasted well throughout the ages …”If in doubt, build”. It may come of no surprise to many of you that an engineer would suggest that the solution stands in construction(!), but for once I am speaking more figuratively.

I have seen this philosophy make our class the success it is.
*If in doubt: Of which career path you are interested in, build a network;
*If in doubt: Of how you will pass Stage 3 Finance, build a great cheat sheet;
*If in doubt: Of how to pass marketing, build a stunning PowerPoint presentation; and finally,
*If in doubt: Of how you will survive, build a strong set of friends.

I believe it is this ethos that we have all shown, and through this we will continue to succeed at whatever we choose to pursue. To do this, we must:
*Build on the friendships we have here this evening;
*Build on our education and continue to learn;
*Build on our abilities by challenging ourselves; and
*Build and support those around us, as we have done over the past 12 months.

Let me say once again how proud I am of us all and how honoured I am to have been part of this class. As this journey draws to a close and as promised, I will close off with the one last comment.

I believe that our experience as a class embodies what Winston Churchill once said; “Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. Courage is what counts.” As we move forward, our MBA experience will help us to continue to apply this philosophy to our future lives.



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