The graduation ceremony for the fifth cohort of master students at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics took place on July 10, 2012 at AXA Auditorium. Friends and family of the 218 graduates, as well as Barcelona GSE alumni and staff, came together to celebrate the accomplishments of the Barcelona GSE Class of 2012.
The 2011-12 master programs were: Competition and Market Regulation; Economics; Economics of Science and Innovation; Finance; Health Economics and Policy; International Trade, Finance, and Development; and Macroeconomic Policy and Financial Markets.
The graduation lecture was given by Dr. Albert Carreras, Secretary of Economy and Finance of the Catalan Government. He is a Barcelona GSE Affiliated Professor who is currently on leave from his position as Professor of Economics at Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
In his address, Dr. Carreras acknowledged the energy and determination that graduates had invested in their academic achievements, but warned them that the truly hard work has only just begun. Using his own point of reference as an academic economist working in a government ministry, he assured graduates that the training they've received this year is highly relevant for work in the public sector.
"What will make you different is being able to work hard under pressure and think well under difficult circumstances," he told the class. "You have acquired the ability to work in an intense and capable way, and to work in teams."
"What has surprised me the most about working in the government is how closely related it is to the study of economics," he reflected. "Governments need economists versed in the specialized topics you've covered in your master programs in order to make the best of the resources that we have," he said.
Dr. Carreras also emphasized that a stint in government can be useful for detecting interesting professional opportunities in the private sector while making a positive contribution to society through public service.
Distributing the graduation certificates were Dr. Carreras, together with Mr. Javier de Agustín, CEO of AXA Seguros Spain and GSE board member institution; Prof. Ramon Marimon, Chairman of the Barcelona GSE; and representatives of the two universities promoting the Barcelona GSE – Dr. Montse Farell, Vicerector of Economy and Organization at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; and Dr. Josep Joan Moreso, Rector of Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
After all graduates received their certificates, Prof. Marimon offered his congratulations and welcomed them officially for the first time as Barcelona GSE Alumni.
Student speakers look back on a year of challenges and teamwork
Students from four master programs teamed up to give this year's student speech, a graduation tradition and highlight of the ceremony. The students were Thomas Schmid, María Lorena Castellanos, Alexander Hodbod, and Veronika Gawel. Together the four graduates reflected on their trajectory over the course of the master year, from the excitement of meeting new classmates in August, to the stresses of problem sets and exams.
The key to a successful year? Teamwork. "I think it has been a great learning experience fo all of us to work as one big team to fight through the challenges of the year together," Mr. Hodbod said. "The diversity of professional backgrounds and geographic origin allowed us to teach one another as we went along. By pooling all this knowledge we have made it so much easier, and more fun to get through all those dozens of problem sets and exams we had to face," he said.
"The accomplished individuals who came here a year ago now leave a truly exceptional class of people," Ms. Gawel concluded, staying with the theme of collaboration that marked the entire master year. "We have come together to celebrate each others' cultures, to debate, to support one another in times of difficulty. We have come to be great ambassadors to and for this institution. And we will continue to be," she said.