2016 COMMENCEMENT STUDENT SPEAKER

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1 2016 COMMENCEMENT STUDENT SPEAKER We are looking for a graduating student eager to accept the honor of representing the EWMBA Class of 2016 as a student speaker for the commencement ceremony. This is a unique opportunity to address all MBA graduates and their friends and family. The Evening & Weekend and Full- Time MBA programs each select a student speaker to give a 5 minute commencement address. The following individuals (in alphabetical order by last name) have submitted brief written statements and/or submitted a video about why they would like to be your 2016 EWMBA Commencement Speaker and what they would talk about in their speech. Please click on their name to read their statement. Luis Bellón Ben Lynch Jason Merideth Nitin Nalin Derek Purdy Arvind Ravishunkar Melissa Tsang Vikram Visweswaraiah Shuo Zhang

2 Luis Bellón My name is Luis Bellón. I left my life back in Florida within a month of being notified of my acceptance and came to live and breathe everything that Haas had to offer for three years. I moved within minutes of campus and resolved to spend as much time within the walls of Haas as possible. I would dare to claim that I have spent more time physically at Haas than anybody else in our class. And it was this willingness and engineered availability to show up and be here that allowed me to be a part of countless casual collisions with faculty, staff, full timers, and EWs from all years. I had an instant kind of fame after orientation due to a chance decision to imitate a certain staff member for the cohort skit. The ice was broken and the doors of connection between me and many of you, my classmates, were forever opened. Though it was more notoriety than glory for some, everybody that knows me, knows that I come from a place of genuine authenticity and friendship. I got to know so, so many of you. As with each of you, and your own inner circles, I obviously grew closer to some people than I did to others. Yet I have shared a myriad of moments with a great number of you. I have witnessed growth and the shattering of comfort zones in the leadership communications classes; experienced new cities and countries as part of Washington Campus and SIB South Africa. I have shared many a beer and uninhibited laugh at Free House, Faculty Club, and your homes. I have had the honor of being a part of deeply personal moments: from weddings to new births, and losses and struggles of every kind. What I love is that most of these moments were outside of class, when we were free to be simply us. And so I ask of you one final honor. A bookend to complement my first stage performance. One that in its individuality would exemplify the unique journeys we have each been on and would serve to show, beyond the shadow of a doubt, just how far we have all come. For me, this is a dream opportunity to use the presentation skills that I have been honing for the past three years as both a student and a coach to offer one final message to you, my classmates, on our final day together as EWMBA students, that is very much inspired by you. Here is the essence of the message I would share:

3 We came to Haas to dream. This gift of words was offered to the Advanced Leadership Communications class last Fall by Iris Korovesi. Simple, elegant, and unifying its disrobing of our core commonality. For what has united us all from the first was that original nagging feeling; that knowledge clawing at us from inside: that there was more to life, and to us, than what we were back in Yet, this is not the whole of our experience. Haas was not for me. In that What Is Water way of speaking, I mean that these last three years were not just about me. And what I could achieve; and what doors would open; and what opportunities would be laid at my feet. No. Haas was for us. As the weeks turned into semesters, and the semesters into years, it cemented in me the reality that the inspiration, and the growth, and the change I sought would not come from the faculty or the learnings, or even wholly from within myself. It would come from you, my fellow students. Yet this could not be a one-way exchange. So I was forced to consider what it was about me that I could offer you. What gave me the right to be here and bask in the brilliance of people like [no spoilers!]. And the answer for me, was [no spoilers!]. And it is in this spirit of us, that I ask you to rethink the way we look at our bonds. Our world has us using a vocabulary that is dishearteningly robotic when it comes to our relationships: we "connect" and we "network". We use the language of computers though we are people. So when we go out into our own unique, and brave new worlds, let us not think about our network and our connections. Let us instead think about our village. For a village is not something to be owned, but rather something to be a part of and contribute to. It is something to rely on when needed, and to actively participate in as often as possible. It requires attention, not bandwidth. Everybody in a village has their skills and their way of contributing to the greater good. The unspoken covenant is that each villager works for the collective benefit of all. In hard times, a village rallies together until the storm has passed. A village works to grow as a village, not as a collection of individuals. So if it was that we came to Haas to dream, then now we must rise: to the challenges we have laid before ourselves in our new, exciting lives; and to the challenge of carrying with us the honor of being Haas alumni. Of being a different type of MBA: just as focused, ambitious, determined, capable, and brilliant; but without the pomp, and yes, without the attitude.

4

5 Ben Lynch For years I ve heard about the power of making ourselves irreplaceable in the workplace. We ve been told we can accomplish this irreplaceability through accumulating knowledge or becoming the gatekeeper within relationships. I believe each of us can be irreplaceable for other reasons. Our life experiences make each of us unique. I haven t had one defining life experience. Instead it has been the accumulation of hundreds of little reference points that have added up to make me who I am. Each of us is influenced and driven by our unique experiences. In that regard, each of us can be irreplaceable. I would like to share the power that lies within all of us based upon our unique life experiences. I ve received so much from my classmates during my time at Haas that I would like to give something back to the EWMBA Class of This speech would be one small opportunity to give back. I don t want this to be a generic graduation speech but a speech about us.

6 Jason Merideth Sample Speech/Personal Statement Video Let s be bold at commencement. We ll skip the platitudes, trite phrases, and clichés to look forward with compelling stories, big ideas, and talk about finding inspiration from unexpected sources to fuel our futures. We ll also reflect on the past three years together, and honor those who took the journey with us. Look forward to celebrating with everyone at commencement in a few weeks! No baloney...it s really just a few weeks away!

7 Nitin Nalin I still vividly remember how excited and anxious I was during orientation; I was going to start one of the toughest MBA programs while commuting from Dallas, Texas. I could not have imagined what a life changing experience the EWMBA would be for me. I found a community of people with whom I shared the fabric of our school s defining principles, but yet people who were distinctly unique in their accomplishments, backgrounds and ideas. I quickly formed many friendships that I knew will last a lifetime. My interactions with you was so inspiring that I felt empowered to take on an additional challenge of switching jobs during the program and moved to the Bay Area. Balancing school, work and family has not been easy. I couldn t have made it this far without your support and encouragement. My Haas experience has been rewarding and life changing because of you. If selected as the class speaker, I would be honored to have the opportunity to reflect on our shared accomplishments, our successes and the memorable times we shared together. Furthermore, I would like to share with you two very personal stories - one that inspires me every time I reflect upon it and the other that has opened my eyes to understanding the importance of pursuing goals without sacrificing the relationships with loved ones. As we look to the next chapter in our lives, ready to take on new challenges, ready to change the world in our own distinctive Haas style, I am confident that my speech will leave you with a sense of accomplishment, pride and inspiration for our lives ahead. I am looking forward to our graduation and am grateful for this opportunity. Good luck as we race to the finish line.

8 Derek Purdy I want to be our commencement speaker for two reasons. First, I d like the opportunity to formally and publicly mark a special moment in our lives. Second, well I m experienced public speaker and think I could do a good job. [My qualifications in this regard include having taught four semesters worth of undergraduate courses here at Cal ( ), having been the president of a Toastmasters club, and having presented at the 2013 World Conference on Quality and Improvement.] My address would occur in three parts. Part one discusses how we all came together from incredibly diverse backgrounds and formed a cohesive unit; in essence, we lived the motto "e pluribus, unum." Part two touches on what we gained here at Haas the rich learning experience; the friendships; the personal growth. Part three deals with the question: now what? We are about to go out into the world and seek our fortunes; there is a call to action here. What sage advice can this fellow student offer to the graduating class?

9 Arvind Ravishunkar Sample Speech/Personal Statement Video May 20th We are graduating among the top 1% of the MBA s in the world. The graduation day is a culmination of all the countless hours of work that we have spent towards this moment. Whoever accepts the honor of being your student speaker must spend their allotted 5 minutes to make you "feel like a ROCKSTAR!!" The commencement speech is not about a few laughs, a few quotes about the future and thank you notes. Rather it s an opportunity for someone to tie in all the amazing experiences you have had in the last 3 years and present it in a format that will evoke emotions. You may forget the content of the speech in a few days, but you will remember the feeling you had in that moment forever. If you give me the opportunity to be your speaker, I shall use the five minutes to make you feel on top of the world on that special day. I am proud to be graduating with you from this awesome program and look forward to such an opportunity.

10 Melissa Tsang Sample Speech/Personal Statement Video Dear Class of 2016, I m so excited, and I just can t hide it! Graduation is just around the corner and I would be honored to be your commencement speaker. The past 3 years have been truly transformational for us all. I d like to express my gratitude to each of you for your contributions to this amazing Haas experience. My hope is that as our class speaker, I can represent our collective journey by reflecting upon what we have learned at Haas and from each other, recognizing our collective accomplishments and sharing inspiration for the future. The big game plan for the speech is to keep it simple (check out the video for details!). If selected, I promise to: 1) Lead with a vertical takeoff; 2) Speak to the Poets & the Quants in our class; 3) Throw in some humor with a touch of flare; and 4) Keep it short and sweet! Thank you and CONGRATULATIONS to ALL! Best, Melissa

11 Vikram Visweswaraiah I d like to volunteer to be a commencement speaker for one simple reason. In a lifetime, there are only a few occasions where you get to thank a group of people who've had a significant impact on the arc of your life. The class of 2016, faculty, staff and the environment at Haas has had that impact on my life. They've given me significant room to reflect and act on the four defining principles. I d like to thank my classmates as I ve grown to: (caps indicate my extensions, sorry can't seem to use italics or bold) 1. ALWAYS Question the status quo WITHIN MYSELF 2. Always be a student, AND A MENTOR FOREVER 3. Go beyond myself TO OVERCOME MY FEARS 4. Develop confidence without attitude, TO SAY IT AND MEAN IT, RESPECTFULLY I d like to briefly elaborate on my personal extensions to the core principles and how they differentiate a Haas MBA. I d like to do this as a mark of gratitude, in a celebratory tone, as we all celebrate this momentous occasion.

12 Shuo Zhang Transforming lives is the topic I hope to speak about on this special day. Our journey at Haas has transformed our lives and the lives of our families. The hard work we have put in both inside and outside the classroom has impacted our communities and the world we live in. I hope to take this opportunity to highlight the positive changes made by my fellow peers in the class of 2016 that have made and continue to make the world a better place.

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