Brandeis International Business School

December graduates honored at virtual celebration

Praised for their resiliency, 161 students urged to solve problems ‘through the prism of shared responsibility’

Hitesh Sharma, MSF’21 congratulated his fellow graduates for excelling during a difficult year at the virtual winter graduation celebration.

Hitesh Sharma, MSF’21 congratulated his fellow graduates for excelling during a difficult year at the virtual winter graduation celebration.

At the start of her career, Joanne Aron, MA’94 admitted that she never had an answer to the dreaded interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

In fact, she still doesn’t, and it’s never held her back.

An executive at Wells Fargo with decades of experience at the world’s top investment banks, Aron told the newest graduates of Brandeis International Business School on Dec. 17 that today’s corporate environment is more fluid than ever before.

“The pace of change in today’s world is so great that the jobs that exist now will quite possibly look very different in five years,” said Aron, who joined the International Business School’s Board of Advisors this summer. “Far more beneficial, I’ve come to realize, is to really flesh out what your skill set and interests are, and to build a career on that basis.”

Aron was the guest speaker at a virtual celebration honoring the achievements of 161 new International Business School graduates. During the ceremony, Dean Kathryn Graddy, faculty leaders and fellow students all commended the first members of the Class of 2021 for excelling academically during a tumultuous year.

“We did not necessarily take time to reflect on how much we have achieved this year given the circumstances, but what an exciting journey it has been,” said student speaker Hitesh Sharma, MSF’21. “I am so lucky to have had the privilege of your company in an extraordinary year like this.”

Sharma reminded his classmates of the daunting challenges facing younger generations, including climate change and global inequality, and exhorted them to remember Brandeis University’s unique approach to business education.

“We were taught here to be problem solvers — to view the world of business, finance or economics through the prism of shared responsibility,” said Sharma. “Some of us may be future world leaders. I want to take this moment to say that it is our responsibility to address these issues.”

Graddy urged the graduates to embrace the relationships they’ve formed at Brandeis, and commended them for overcoming a “mountain” of unexpected challenges.

“In 2020, all of us at the International Business School learned the true value of resiliency,” said Graddy. “It’s a lesson that will pay dividends for years to come, as you set out and build what will surely be fulfilling careers and fulfilling lives.”

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