Using a Business School degree to make a difference in the world was the theme of multiple speeches at the Harvard Business School Class Day ceremony, celebrated Wednesday afternoon.
Business School alumna Kathryn E. Giusti urged graduating students to take risks, persevere, and partner wisely when working toward achieving their goals.
Giusti recalled her graduation 25 years earlier and said she felt insecure knowing that, contrary to expectations, she did not intend to have a business career.
“But I stand here today in front of all of you as an entrepreneur,” said Giusti.
Giusti said her plans underwent a dramatic change when she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a fatal blood cancer. The doctors said she would only have three years to survive.
“But that was sixteen years ago,” Giusti said.
She explained to students that her Business School education provided her with the necessary resources that guided her in starting her own business.
Giusti—the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium—said she was motivated by the desire to see her daughter go to kindergarten.
“Don’t wait for a cancer diagnosis to do something amazing with your life,” Giusti said.
Jacqueline R. Sandberg, a student in the graduating class, also spoke about her experience with management education and its impact on her career goals in her class day speech.
With a combination of humor and personal anecdotes, Sandberg—who says she plans on pursuing her dream of becoming a comedy writer—urged the members of the graduating class to use their education to impact others for the better.
Sandberg arrived at the Business School with little formal entrepreneurial training. She had worked in the strategic marketing department for eHarmony.com and founded her own weekly publication, Local.
She noted she does not feel there is a clear definition of a successful path after graduating from Business School, but she was reminded of the advice her father gave her on her first day of college at the University of Virginia, which was to “do good.”
“We all expect to do well, but it is my hope that you all do good,” Sandberg told the audience. “We can try to do good with the people we care about the most by letting them know they’re the people we care about the most.”
—Staff writer Nathalie R. Miraval can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.