“All the opportunity is there for you. You just need to step into it”
– Dean Poon to the Class of 2012
A New York City girl, born and bred, I leased my first car and drove the nine hours to Columbus, Ohio, driving longer than I ever have in my life. I heart cruise control. And I heart my little Honda Civic which I was very happy to discover got me all the way from NY to Pittsburgh on one tank of gas. (Happy to discover not just because it has good gas mileage, but also because, being new to driving, I completely forgot to fill up the tank until my friend in PA said, umm…you know you are on empty, right?)
After working in the non-profit world for seven years, I came to business school not to make money so much as to try to change the world in some small (or big) way, because in my mind, business can be an incredible force for social change, for innovation and for empowerment.
And so, I started the Fisher Advantage Orientation, required attendance for all full time MBA students ready to dip their toes into graduate school waters, hoping to fill up my own personal tank- not on gas, but on the fuel of inspiration.
Luckily, a few nuggets were shared by the myriad of speakers including Dean Poon, Dean Wruck, Professor Larry Inks, Jim Rohr, the CEO of PNC, and the dynamic Bob Irwin, CEO of Sterling Commerce, among others, which I imagine I will be referring back to as the school year goes by and which I share with all of you….
To the Class of 2012…
“This is a school where excellence is not a question. We aspire to imminence and we are partners in this adventure to build imminence.
The small decisions that you face every day of your life are the most important. They define who you are.
This – if you choose- can be a “transformational experience.” The key factors to make this happen are your willingness and motivation to engage in the opportunities in front of you.
If you are not uncomfortable, then you need to ask yourself “Am I making good decisions?” You need to learn how to expand your inner capacity by expanding outside of your comfort zone.
There is no other time but now. Now is the time. Don’t squander your potential and don’t underestimate the potential of others.
Work hard. Learn everything you can.
Success if a function of richness and depth in both character and capability.
You are two things here. You are yourself, and you are an example for everyone else.
Where there is tremendous change is where you need to be.
Leadership is translating vision into reality.
Achievement and ambition will get you into a position of leadership, but once you are there, you need to focus on empowering others.
It doesn’t matter what you say- it only matters what they hear.
The questions that you ask define the leader that you are.”
It is Dean Poon’s statement about taking opportunity and Bob Irwin’s about asking questions that I liked the most, and that I have put in my pocket to be pulled out on a daily basis. So off I (we) go on an adventure, hopefully full of lots questions and opportunities, and of course, lots of driving and lots of fun.