Graduation is a momentous event for many students, professors, parents, and even peers. Last June 2, 2019, everyone had gathered at National Taiwan University’s College of Management 1st Building to celebrate Global MBA graduation ceremony for the program’s 12th batch of graduates.
It was not just about who complete their credits and requirements, but more importantly, goes back to the reason why each graduate have chosen and decided to be in the program – whether for career, personal growth, networking, or whatnot. This day marked a milestone for those who have worked hard to transform those aspirations and ideas of purpose into a reality actualized by an academic degree.
Graduates and guests arrived early and were warmly welcomed at the reception area, as they signed-up and received flowers, the program list, and GMBA-branded merchandise including pens, washi tapes, as souvenirs. Shortly before 10:00am, everyone nervously lined-up to prepare for their final march, in between brief chats, some catching-up, and last-minute selfies. Some had customized toga hats, which enabled them to truly express and represent their individuality and unique personalities. Being part of the GMBA Ohana, each one looked out for one another and made sure everyone looked perfect with their toga hats and gowns.
As the auditorium doors open, entrance music plays, and the graduates were walking among their friends and families, settling in and immediately followed by special guests-of-honor. The program officially commenced as members of the GMBA office greeted everyone in the graduates’ native languages: Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai, German, Swedish, Korean, Hindi, English, Hungarian, Malay, Israeli, French, Cantonese, and Vietnamese. Hosts Kai Shang from Taiwan and Valentina Foykar from Austria then took over and warmed up the audience with a quick video of the graduating batch’ special moments and events. It served as a walk down memory lane and showcased several memorable highlights of their student life.
Afterwards, the Dean Andy Guo gave a speech to send-off the graduating batch with some words of wisdom. Followed by special guest speaker Vincent Shih 施立成, Assistant General Counsel of Microsoft. He gave everyone advice regarding businesses and entrepreneurs, the corporate workplace, and wrapped up with life in general. Then, Global MBA Program Director Chialin Chen also gave a special message, talking about the graduating batch as he had come to know them and how everyone had grown close to his heart, seeing them work hard and play hard. Lastly, GMBA Student Council President from the graduating class, Tina Lai shared her experiences in the program, how she learned the most from her peers and how the true essence of Ohana, quoting the famous movie line “Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind,” has come to life, especially for the friendship that they have built and that they know will last a lifetime. She ended her heartwarming speech by thanking everyone and encouraging them to hold these relationships close as they move forward in their next journey.
Later each student cheerfully marched one by one, have their tassels turned by their professors, and be awarded their diplomas. Towards the end, the MCs acknowledged Tiffany Lee, Adriana Ma, and Kulkarni Raghavendra, who have managed to complete their GMBA program and get their master’s degree in only one year. The crowd generously cheered and loudly applauded these three diligent individuals for their accomplishment.
What makes the GMBA program unique, rather than just regular school work, lies most in the diversity of ideas, cultures, and personalities that convene in one place at some point in time. Posing with graduation gowns and tossing caps does not just mark an end of an era or the start of a new chapter, but immortalizes an unceasing connection forever shared with once-strangers who turned into classmates, who turned into friends, who turned into family.