Samuel Amorin, MBA 2023, was the student speaker at the graduate programs graduation recognition ceremony on May 15, 2023, selected by his peers. He soon begins a new position with Amazon in New York City as a senior product manager. Here is what he had to say to his fellow graduates.
Chancellor Martin, Dean Thakor, esteemed guests, family and friends—welcome! Welcome to St. Louis, WashU, Olin Business School and this momentous event. To my fellow class of 2023, simply put, we did it. We did it thanks to our hard work and dedication and support from family, friends and the tireless efforts of faculty and staff. Thank you for this great honor to be this year’s student speaker.
Today marks the end of one journey, but at the same time, kicks off the beginning of the next. Every journey goes through different seasons. Not seasons like spring, summer or fall, but seasons like successes, failures, stagnancy, overflow and more. Each one of them teaches us a lesson, a lesson we may not like or think we need—such as the cranberry case—but a lesson nonetheless.
Now think about it, and reflect: What seasons have you recently experienced during your previous or current journey? What did you learn, not learn, like, not like? It’s interesting because if I was to ask all of the graduates sitting in front of me, although we went on the same journey, we each had different seasons and had valuable lessons come out of them—lessons such as how to deal with challenges, extreme success, imposter syndrome, how to be values-based and data-driven, patience, failure, and fill-in-the-blank with what you may.
Each one of those was part of the journey, and they each made this journey not only memorable but effective, meaningful and worth it. Sometimes we are so focused on the end destination, the end goal, the next chapter, or the next journey that we miss being present and embracing the seasons that come with the journey and the lessons we gain from them.
Olin has given us a unique opportunity no other institution can ever offer and that is the opportunity we had to meet each other. Of course, there is a world-class education offered here, a fantastic facility and very qualified and knowledgeable professors. We are also one of the founding schools of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management—which I am a part of, shout out to my Consortium family—and have multiple other world-class graduate programs across the university.
Still, they are not each one of us that is sitting down in front of me right now. Each of you has played a role in numerous other students’ experiences throughout your time here. It could be as simple as helping a classmate by holding the door. At the same time, it could be as simple as arguing with a fellow student about who reserved the study room, or it could be lending a listening ear to someone who just needed to vent about that strategic cost analysis final, that Python project or customer analytics midterm.
Think about it, before we see ourselves here today on the cusp of another tremendous educational achievement. When each of us first walked through those hallowed halls of Bauer Hall and Knight Hall, we were all strangers, but along this journey with the rigors of the curriculum, fun times, late nights, numerous case studies and free food, we have made connections and built a network that will last a lifetime. We are better now than when we came in.
Olin Business School has six banners flying high, hanging on the third-floor atrium, reading integrity, collaboration, diversity, leadership, excellence, and the newest one has been added, respect. These are the values of the school we chose to come to, and although not perfect, as an institution, business school, and even as students—sorry, graduates—we have learned to strive to live up to those values every day since we got on campus.
My ask and charge for you today, graduates, is not to leave these values at the foothold once you leave this beautiful campus one last time, but to cherish and add these values to your ever-growing arsenal that now includes all we have learned during our time at Olin, both inside and outside the classroom.
As you embark on the next journey of life, embrace the seasons that come along the journey. Wherever it may be and whatever it may be, be present in the experience along the way. You have the backing and support of not only me but everyone behind me, everyone sitting in the stands, and everyone sitting to your right, left, front and back. Impossible is just an opinion. So go forth and be great. I’m rooting for you all! Congratulations, Class of 2023!
Pictured above: Samuel Amorin, MBA 2023, speaking at the May 2023 graduate programs graduation recognition ceremony. Photo by Jerry Naunheim