When one journey ends, another begins

Each year, MaastrichtMBA produces graduates who go on to lead and inspire colleagues and organisations, drive forward positive change and create a meaningful impact in the world. This year was no exception, and an impressive 19 MBA students donned their mortarboards and gowns and took to the graduation stage this September for their final ceremonial send-off.

The MBA Graduation ceremony took place this year at the end of the Corporate Finance and Accounting education week and provided an inspirational moment for celebration and reflection for both the graduating cohort of students and the current MBA students. It is rather like the passing of the baton in a relay race, the connection between the current students, many of whom are at the beginning of their MBA journey, and their just-graduated counterparts, is one that becomes all the more poignant in the knowledge that this is a glimpse of their future selves, and so the door opens and a new adventure unfolds.

These MBA graduate changemakers have invested their time and energy into the two-year MaastrichtMBA, but their hard work has finally paid off and the graduation ceremony is a time to pause and reflect on what that means for those MBA graduates and their families.

Balance your life ledger

The keynote speech on Global Leadership was given by Jeffrey Katz, Professor of Business and Management at Western Kentucky University’s Gordon Ford College of Business. His definition of leadership as “followership, followers who tell the truth” seems fitting in today’s world of ambiguity and uncertainty. The old ideas of leadership are changing dramatically, and we need to develop leaders differently and change the way people learn. MaastrichtMBA provides a strong foundation for this principle. But he offered an advisory note, that the journey is a marathon, not a sprint and finding the right balance is the key to success. If your life’s priorities don’t match with the time you spend on them, then it is time to re-assess.

Share your horizons for growth

There is no doubt that the MBA Graduation ceremony is about the graduates and their achievements, but it is also an acknowledgment of the part family, and each MBA student’s support network, play in this journey, whether that be colleagues, employers or family and life partners. It is not a journey made alone and Jeffrey Katz reiterated that sharing your horizons for growth with your life partner is always crucial. The family atmosphere was evident amongst the proud audience during the graduation ceremony. New babies made themselves known and children waited patiently as they witnessed their parent or family member take to the stage to receive their MBA certificate.

Student of the year award 2019

This year, the student of the year award went to Renée van Roode, who achieved the highest ever GPA scores of 8.7 across the entire MBA course. A well-deserved achievement and one from a student whose background is in the Sciences.

Be the change

The handing over of the knowledge baton continued in the form of an alumni speech from one of MaastrichtMBA’ s 2018 graduates, Patrick Dickinson, Risk Advisory Manager at Deloitte. He gave some expert advice on how to lead with integrity, practise self-reflection, learn from your mistakes and empower your colleagues. He encouraged the new graduates to ‘be the change’ that they want to see in the world.

Leading from head to heart

The ceremonial element of the MBA graduation was fully embraced. As the graduates went up on stage to receive their MBA award from Marielle Heiljtjes, UMIOs Executive Director and MBA Captain, Boris Blumberg, they each received a short congratulatory message from their tutor, but the students could not receive their actual MBA certificate until they had ensured the tassel on their mortarboard had been carefully moved from the right side of their head to the left side. This represented the knowledge acquired from the MBA moving from the brain to the heart, from where the graduates will lead. It was also an acknowledgement of what Professor Otto Scharmer describes in his Theory U as, “open mind, open heart, open will” a letting-go of the former self and ego and letting-come your best future self, with a heightened level of energy and future possibility. Leadership from the heart beginning on the MBA graduation stage.

Entry ticket to your new journey

With the formal ceremony completed, the MBA graduates and students enjoyed a sparkling evening of informal celebrations with aperitives and bubbles served in the Ad Fundum, before moving onto the remaining evening’s celebrations with fellow MBA students, MBA staff and friends. The party for this year’s MBA graduates had most definitely started!

On behalf of all UMIO and MBA staff, we would like to say a huge congratulations to the MBA graduates and we wish you all the very best on your next leg of the journey.