The President and CEO of La Caixa savings bank, Joan Maria Nin, delivered the keynote address on June 26th at the Barcelona GSE 2008 Graduation Ceremony, which took place in the auditorium of CaixaForum Cultural and Social Centre.
Being invited to speak at the first graduation ceremony held by the Barcelona GSE was a “great honor”, said Mr. Nin, since “although the GSE is a young institution, it is already recognized as a school that focuses first and foremost on academic excellence.”
He continued, saying “I am sure that the school will quickly become one of the most recognized graduate schools in the world” thanks to its “world-class faculty” and “outstanding international student body.”
Mr. Nin, a graduate of Law and Business from Universidad de Deusto and the London School of Economics, spoke about the complex and globalized world that the graduates would enter, saying that it is obvious that such a world “offers many opportunities for those who know how to play the new game - but it also adds risks and complexity.”
Joan Maria Nin delivers the keynote address
Students walk to the stage to receive their Certificate of Completion
Offering advice useful in facing the challenges ahead, Mr. Nin stressed the need for leaders “to be courageous, be ready to take decisions rapidly and assume risks, especially in times of high levels of uncertainty.” Quoting Benjamin Franklin, Mr. Nin quipped, “the worst decision is indecision.”
However, apart from courage for rapid decision and risk taking, Mr. Nin stressed the idea that any good professional needs to be “passionate, care about people and stick to his or her set of values” – or, in other words, “be coherent in both business decisions and personal relationships.”
Last but not least, Mr. Nin pointed out the role that good timing plays in success. “Bad timing can lead to disaster,” he said, and “it is just as bad to take a decision too early as it is to take it too late.” One cannot forget that “the five-o’clock train passes at five, not at five to five and not at five past five!”
Concluding his speech, which was intended to contain “little pills of advice out of a long career in business,” Mr. Nin cautioned graduates to “never underestimate the importance of the great academic training and technical knowledge you have acquired during your studies at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. Be proud of your achievements and celebrate them!”
Finally, graduates must always bear in mind that “what they have accomplished so far is just the beginning in order to successfully face today’s challenging world: the learning process for you has barely started.”
Following Mr. Nin’s speech, the Rectors of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Josep Joan Moreso and Lluis Ferrer, respectively, both imparted their own words of wisdom.
“On this day, all credit goes to you for your hard work,” said Rector Moreso. “The door to your future has just opened, and you have the key.” Rector Ferrer continued, calling the GSE one of Barcelona public universities’ “platforms of excellence” and the “first step” towards establishing Barcelona as the reference of economics in Southern Europe.
From left: UAB Rector Lluis Ferrer, GSE Chairman Andreu Mas-Colell, La Caixa President and CEO Joan Maria Nin, and UPF Rector Josep Joan Moreso
Barcelona GSE Chairman Andreu Mas-Colell
After Mr. Nin, Rector Moreso, and Rector Ferrer had a chance to address the attendees, the graduates of the four Barcelona GSE Masters programs, as well as graduates of the UPF Masters in Management, were invited to the stage in small groups to receive their Certificates of Completion.
The GSE student representative, Stewe Bekk (Msc in the Economics of Science and Innovation), then came to the stage to deliver the student address. He joked that “all the knowledge we have gathered through our hard work” through the past year “has lead us to this day, to this moment, where we once and for all have proven our ability to shake hands in a swift yet orderly manner without looking clumsy.”
Bekk ended by encouraging his fellow students “to take everything we’ve learned, all the memories we've made, all the friendships we've formed, and go out and conquer the world!”
The ceremony was concluded by Andreu Mas-Colell, Chairman of the GSE, who called the first cohort of the Barcelona GSE a “talented group of youngsters who were brave enough to bet on [the GSE]” and wished the graduates “bona sort”.
After the ceremony, all graduates and attendees were invited to the terrace of the CaixaForum, where they enjoyed views of the city during a reception of cocktails and tapas.
Students in the reception of the CaixaForum before the ceremony
Students at the end of their graduation ceremony