Graduation Address by prof. Santiago Iniguez de Onzono, dean, IE business school
(December 21, 2007)
Dear Members of the IE Business School Community, Dear Families and friends,
Welcome to the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2007. It is an honour for me to make the opening address of a ceremony that is so important for you, for your families and for our school.
Allow me to travel backwards in time to one of the most fascinating cultural revolutions in contemporary history. I refer to the intense change in the arts and the sciences that occurred in Vienna, Austria, in the early twentieth century. At that time, Vienna concentrated a formidable amalgam of architects, artists, musicians, philosophers and scientists. I am sure that the names of Otto Wagner, Gustav Klimt, Arnold Schoenberg or Sigmund Freud sound very familiar to you. However, they were but just some of the eminent personalities that coincided at the same place and time, changing the way we see the world today.
One of the nicest buildings constructed during those days was the Secession Pavilion, a jewel of modern architecture. On the frontispiece of its main façade, the designers decided to engrave a text, which later became a widely popular motto. The text says in German:
I believe that this text is particularly applicable to You today. You represent the new generation of managers and entrepreneurs. This is your time and you are called on to produce your own works of art in the world of business.
As Graduates of IE Business School, You are called to become the architects of the future global society, you will make business relations with people from different cultures not only possible but fruitful, And you will feel yourselves citizens of the world, committed to the creation of wealth beyond frontiers.
Business is one of the noblest activities that humans can develop since it promotes common understanding, wealth and convergence across continents. Let me recall here one of my favourite maxims: good business is the best antidote to bad international politics. As graduates of IE you are encouraged to set up your own companies, to develop the entrepreneurial verve in large corporations, in your family business or in social or public organizations. I can bet that your performance as excellent managers and entrepreneurs will be the best antidote to many of the world's illnesses.
We believe that a cross-cultural environment, like the one you have enjoyed at our school, is the best breeding ground to develop cosmopolitan managers. Currently, for example, there are over one hundred different nationalities on our physical and virtual campus. At the same time, we have one of the widest student diversity among business schools in terms of background, origin, ethnicity, gender or vision of the world.
Looking back at your enormous efforts this year, Dear soon-to-be graduates, you know better than anyone that you didn't do it alone. We have to praise the efforts of those who have stood by you throughout the years and who are with you today, in person or in spirit, your loving family members and dear friends. To all of them our heartfelt thanks and a warm applause.
The first is that your personal and professional performance continues to adhere to the same standards of excellence in the future. As IE graduates, you are called on to create businesses, and to make management a recognised and respected activity. In this increasingly globalised and interconnected world, our mission is to improve our environment, to create sustainable value and wealth, and to assume a commitment to social responsibility.
My second request is that you maintain your link with IE Business School and talk about your experience on your master programme. Your example will give encouragement to future generations of students. The world needs references for good management practices, and how to be a good entrepreneur. And I am sure that your performance as competent and responsible managers will play an exemplary role in society.
The underlying reason for this achievement is you: Yes, You people sitting out there and those who have sat there before you over the last three decades. Our challenge for the future is to consolidate this prestige and to foster new initiatives that further strengthen our international position. This whole effort will translate into adding value to your master's title.
IE is one of the most dynamic and innovative schools in the world. It is a place where things happen fast in response to constant changes taking place in the corporate landscape, and that's why we are working to offer the best training programmes, and to serve as a forum for debate on the latest trends in business, and to be there for you throughout your careers.
We want to follow your professional progress closely. Moreover, we need you. Your advice and your support will help us to improve our activities, to put into practice new projects and to bring the members of our network closer together.
Next year will mark a milestone for our institution since, as you already know, IE will create a new university after the purchase of an existing university in Spain. We plan to develop a world class higher education centre modelled on our experience from IE. This university will be international in scope, focused mainly on postgraduate programmes, with an intense activity in high quality on-line educational offerings and with the study of humanities as a core subject of all its programmes.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to participate actively in this initiative, probably the most exciting project in the world's university environment nowadays. We want to create a similar environment to the cultural atmosphere of the described Vienna Circle.