Brandeis International Business School

Success stories: 232 graduates honored at Brandeis IBS diploma ceremony

Class of 2019 urged to embrace diversity, take bold action and hold true to core beliefs

The Class of 2019.
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Students gathered inside Levin Ballroom during Brandeis International Business School's 25th annual diploma ceremony.

Roshelle Savdie, MA ‘19 learned how to define success on her own terms at Brandeis International Business School.

“Business school — as it should — brings out our competitive side, our sense of independence and the drive to push our boundaries,” she said. “Real success does not come from academic excellence alone. Success comes from your past experiences, this present moment and the ability to embrace the uncertainty of the future.”

Sunday, May 19, marked a special moment for Savdie and the Brandeis IBS Class of 2019, as 232 graduates were honored at the business school’s 25th annual diploma ceremony. Students from 28 countries gathered inside Levin Ballroom with family and friends to receive diplomas in business, economics, finance and analytics.

As the student speaker, Savdie urged her classmates to measure their personal and professional successes not by the amount of money they make or the size of their corporate offices but by the quality of their experiences, relationships and talents.

“Our values and ambition stem from within and not from other people’s expectations and ideals,” she said. “We need to learn to maintain our non-negotiable values and remember where we come from while simultaneously evolving into a better version of ourselves.”

The diploma ceremony featured addresses by Brandeis IBS Dean Kathryn Graddy, Brandeis Board of Trustees member Perry Traquina ‘78 and professors Anna Scherbina and Aldo Musacchio.

Graddy began her remarks by noting that Brandeis University was founded by the American Jewish community in 1948 — a time when ethnic and racial minorities and women faced widespread discrimination in higher education.

“To this day, Brandeis is an institution committed to equality and social justice,” said Graddy. “You came here to study business, economics, finance and data analytics, but our job has been, at least in part, to help you develop these interests consistently with the Brandeis values of academic rigor, active discourse and doing good in the world.”

Traquina, a Brandeis alumnus and longtime member of the university’s Board of Trustees, offered the graduates career advice. He retired in 2014 as the chairman and CEO of Wellington Management Company, capping a 34-year career overseeing 2,000 employees, 12 global offices and more than $900 billion in client assets. Among Traquina’s lessons for the Class of 2019: focus on your job, not your career; work hard, be persistent and always be prepared to evolve; embrace diversity of thought because it is the “antidote” to complexity; and above all else — be bold.

“No act of courage is too bold or too small,” said Traquina. “In acting, you will leave your mark and in doing so live a more fulfilling life.”

Later in the day, Traquina received a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree at Brandeis University’s 68th Commencement ceremony. Attendees of the main ceremony also heard from graduate student speaker Akash Kalra, MBA ‘19 of India.

At Brandeis IBS, Kalra described his transformation from a shy student who had never left his home country and was afraid to speak up in class into the person he is today —  a confident, assertive professional with a personal network straddling the globe.

“Brandeis has given me every single thing that I aspired for,” said Kalra. “It has made my American Dream come true! … The school saw something in me, something that I never saw in myself. I found home away from home in Brandeis.”

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