Alumni Share Advice With The Class of 2019

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McDonough 2019 Commencement tent

In May, alumni from the undergraduate and graduate programs at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, shared advice with the Class of 2019:

“Use each opportunity as a learning experience. Take the time to reflect on your successes as well as your failures. Marrying your strengths with your passion will not only lead to a happy career, but to a successful one. Your career is a like a race, learn new skills and don’t be afraid to take chances, ride the winners, and don’t be afraid to cut the losers.” – AJ Brancaccio (B’10)

“Wherever you go in life, whatever you do, never compromise the values you’ve inculcated at Georgetown. The business landscape will inevitably shift, change, and evolve, but your values are the bedrock with which your success—and more importantly impact—will be built on.” – Adam DeMarco (IBP’17)

“As a I look back years after graduation, I realized that during my time at Georgetown I learned something far beyond how to apply linear regression models or use the capital asset pricing model. I learned that I gain more fulfilment from contributing to my community than from trying to get ahead of others. Georgetown taught me that value of community.” – Charles R. Harris (MBA’98)

“As leaders we are judged by the decisions we make and the tone we set. Consider the impact of kindness and humility on both of these. Kindness and humility are the utmost expression of confidence and courage. It helps us to see more, hear more, and it fosters trust and space so our teams share more honestly. All of these diminish our blind spots. To be great leaders we must start with being better, more courageous, and more gracious human beings. Congratulations to you all!” – Sabrina Hu (MBA’11)

“My best advice is to continue to make time and space for strategic thinking like you are forced to in b-school. Once you get back full time into the workplace, it is easy to make to-do lists and feel good when you check things off each day, but you lose sight of how to make an impact. Now I write down my big goals – no more than two or three – and then I make sure I have time allotted each day to work on those.” – Lisa Mayr (MBA’98)

“Congratulations, graduates!  As you begin this next phase of your career, if you find yourself in a situation where you have a boss who respects you and fights for you and colleagues who support you, think not once nor twice but three times before pulling the ripcord and moving onto the next opportunity.” – Justin McMahan (MBA/MSFS’09)

“1) Don’t try to impress by being the smartest person in the room – let your work do that; 2) Try to be in the room where it happens – as early on as you can; 3) Do things that help your colleagues, even if you don’t foresee an immediate benefit – it will pay back.” – Svet Nikov (MBA’97)

“As you embark upon the next chapter of your career, embrace change and commit to lifelong learning. The job you’ll hold in 10 years probably doesn’t even exist today!” – Elizabeth Pollock (MBA’10) 

“As you enter the workforce consider these ideas: Don’t be just part of the problem, be part of the solution. Many colleagues are skilled at identifying the problems in your organization and often are talking about how these issues persist. Be the person who identifies the problems and works with others to find innovative solutions! Georgetown has prepared you well for just this circumstance.‘Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.’ – Jeff Bezos. What do you want colleagues to say about you when you’re not in the room? What will you deliver each day, and how will you conduct yourself to build this brand? Stay intellectually curious and never stop your educational journey!” John Saunders (EMBA’17)

“Congratulations! Graduation day is a day that many thought might never come. But it has!  And you should celebrate. More than that, however, you should reflect on the great gift and privilege that’s been given to you — the opportunity to spend the past few years learning, growing, reaching for the seemingly impossible. Now that you’ve accomplished that goal, what’s next? Make it worthy of yourselves, your classmates, and everyone around you.” – Matthew Shay (EMBA’11)

“Congratulations to Class of 2019! As you leave the Hilltop, please remember what Confucius once said: ‘I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.’ It’s time to see the real world, take actions from your new knowledge base, and strive to become a productive member of the society!” – Rose Wang (GEMBA’18)