Yesterday I spoke at the Kellogg School of Management Commencement Ceremony; it is tradition for the winner of the L.G. Lavengood Professor of the Year Award to address the graduates.
Here are my remarks.
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Thank you so much for this award.
I’d like to share with you one of my secrets to creating a good class at Kellogg: guest speakers.
Each semester I bring in dynamic business leaders why connect the concepts and theories we discuss in class to real-world business challenges.
Students often ask me: Where do these speakers come from? The answer is simple: everywhere.
Sergio Pereira from Quill, a division of Staples, was my first boss at Kraft Foods when I started as an assistant brand manager 22 years ago. A classmate from business school introduced me to John Hixon from Eli Lilly. I met Dr. Jeff Kopin from Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group when my wife was his intern several years ago. I connected with John Anton from Pedigree through one of my former students at Kellogg.
But there is a common link: everyone came through a personal connection. It wasn’t through Facebook. It wasn’t through Twitter. It wasn’t through LinkedIn.
Social media is nice but personal, face to face relationships matter more.
Remember this as you start your post-Kellogg career. The people you work with over the next three or four years will be your peers for the rest of your life. Don’t let your drive for a promotion get in the way of forming relationships at your new job.
The same goes for your Kellogg classmates. You share a common experience and this can be the base of a long-term relationship. It is just the start, however; now you have to build on it.
Come back for reunions.
And on behalf of the faculty, remember to keep in touch with us: we’d love to hear how things are going, both your successes and your setbacks. Of course, given all you’ve learned here at Kellogg those should be few indeed.
Jobs come and go but the relationships endure: your colleagues, classmates, family.
Congratulations and good luck.