Executives from WeWork and BuzzFeed Address Business Graduates
Staying true to one’s values and spreading good karma are just some of the advice bestowed upon the Georgetown McDonough School of Business Class of 2017. [VIEW THE WEBCASTS]
During the Friday, May 19, Graduate Commencement, Arthur Minson Jr. (B’92) shared lessons he has learned – in the form of sports metaphors — ranging from his experience as an executive at Time Warner, AOL, and now as president and CFO of WeWork.
“The players who play best together usually win,” he began. “So always get on the teams with people who put the good of the team over personal agendas. Your personal brand and your reputation are everything, so make sure you work with people who share your values.”
He also advised the graduates of the Full-time and Evening MBA, Executive MBA, M.S. in Finance, Corporate International Master’s in Business, and Executive Master’s in Leadership programs to embrace their weaknesses and turn them into strengths, to win with dignity and lose with grace, to always enjoy the game, and to remember that strong leadership, a clear vision, and the belief in what one is doing lead to success.
“As you move up the ranks, it’s good to play a lot of different positions,” he added, “because ultimately, you want to become a coach, and the best coaches know how all of the pieces work together. When you become a coach, remember what it was like to be a player and treat your team with respect and dignity.”
The disruptive force of WeWork was appealing – and new – to Minson when we was approached to join the company, though he sees it as business as usual for the graduates.
“Those of you who are graduating today are entering the disruption age of business,” he said. “In many respects, everything my generation learned in business school has been turned on its head. Your generation is frankly teaching mine the true meaning of words such as mission and values, culture, and global citizenship.”
Gregory Coleman (B’76), president of BuzzFeed, shared his own advice with graduates of the Undergraduate Business Program Saturday, May 20.
Coleman, who also has held leadership positions at the Huffington Post, Yahoo!, and AOL, urged the graduates to have conviction and courage.
“In work and in life there are going to be times you’ll believe in something that’s unpopular, and you’re going to be called on to defend that choice,” he said. “Too many times, people look and turn around to see what others think first and then make their choice based on that.”
He also discussed the importance of spreading good karma, both in work and in life. “It’s a tough world out there, and we’re living in really interesting times. Be one of the good people,” he said. “We who have had the privilege of a Georgetown education have much to give back. Please be generous with your time and talent.”
Both Minson and Coleman were awarded honorary degrees by President John J. DeGioia during the ceremony.
McDonough School of Business Interim Dean Rohan Williamson also shared some parting words with the graduates.
“At the McDonough School of Business, we talk about exceeding expectations. It’s a promise we take very seriously,” he said. “I hope you depart the Hilltop having gained more from this experience then you ever imagined. I hope you are transformed and have the confidence to make a difference in the Georgetown tradition of being women and men for others, no matter where life takes you.”
Surrounded by family and friends, the graduating students took time to reflect on their accomplishments after the ceremony.
Neha Shukla (MBA’17) felt a flooding of memories about her entire Georgetown experience. “From the time I starting preparing for my GMAT to … getting that phone call from Georgetown that I was admitted to a good school, have led to this proud moment,” she said. “I really enjoyed my two years.”
James McCurley (MSF’17) saw graduation as the reward for the effort he put into the program. “This is a culmination of two years of hard work,” said McCurley, who also founded the program’s Investment Fund. “It’s really nice seeing everyone together to celebrate.”
While completing community college, Febin Bellamy (B’17) had his eye on Georgetown – and said he visited seven times before applying. “It’s hitting me all at once,” he said. “It means a lot to finally have my diploma in my hand and see my family here celebrating this. My mom and dad sacrificed so much to make this happen.”
Johnathon Carrington (B’17) is appreciative of the education he received at Georgetown. “I don’t know if it has hit me yet. I’m still in disbelief,” he said. “Many people coming from my background have not gotten this far. Every time I go back home, I see a different world as opposed to here. For me to be at this place, I’m more than grateful.”