Tag: student speaker

Anika Sridhar, BSBA 2023

Anika Sridhar, BSBA 2023, was the student speaker at the undergraduate programs graduation recognition ceremony on May 14, 2023, selected by her peers. She soon begins a new position as an investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs in New York City. Here is what she had to say to her fellow graduates.

What exactly does it mean to change the world? As students of business, many of us hope to have a great societal and economic impact. I myself will be leaving Olin emboldened by the privilege of my education and optimistic about the prospect of effecting change.

But what does change really look like? Well, two years ago, I never would have imagined a world in which 1,000-plus people would congregate to celebrate university graduation. And I could not be more honored to stand up here today, addressing you all. And a special thank you to the mothers in the audience, who have so graciously decided to spend their Mother’s Day here with us.

To the Olin Class of 2023, a big congratulations is due. We remained resilient amidst a global pandemic and continued to believe that one day we would get to walk this stage.

We are the final group that knows the “old WashU.” No class below us will understand when we reminisce over the Einstein’s Bagels in Simon Hall, the Ibby’s buffet during the week, the bird scooter crisis or the typical Thursday night going out to Big Daddy’s on the landing.

To all future generations of WashU graduates, these treasured moments are merely myths of the past.

Our campus has changed over time to reflect new versions of our community and society. However, it feels necessary to understand not only how the evolving needs of our society have impacted our campus but moreover how four years at this institution have transformed who we are.

When I came to WashU, I thought I knew exactly how to be a successful college student. All I had to do was follow in the path of high-school Anika! What did this mean? Develop my academic career around political science, join an a capella group, and make best friends during the first week of school, exactly as I had done in high school.

Well … by the end of my first year, I had been rejected from the a capella groups, had withdrawn from my first upper-level political science class, and felt as though I hadn’t yet found a group of friends I really belonged to. If high school Anika was the model for success, I was screwed.

It was, instead, the newness that I embraced which has most greatly impacted my college experience. I joined a few business organizations, not having a clue what I was signing up for or why I was doing it. Funny enough, that decision led me to meet my best friends, develop lifelong mentors, discover a passion for business, and eventually, during my fourth semester of college, become a student of the Olin Business School. And I can confidently say the skills I’ve developed in Olin will enable me to have a greater impact on whatever I choose to do in my future.

As we all begin to embark on new journeys, we should remember to think critically about every decision we make. Don’t conform to a version of yourself you once idealized but have ultimately outgrown. It is OK to embrace change, and changing the world may just start with embracing change in your own world.

As Albert Einstein famously said, “the measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

However, while the past need not always define our present, we cannot forget those who helped us get where we are today.

To my family who encouraged me to believe in myself and explore new passions, thank you. To my friends who sat and cried with me through heartbreaks and disappointments and celebrated me during my greatest achievements, thank you.

To the Olin Class of 2023, who have challenged me to work harder in class, who have inspired me through creative approaches to problem-solving, and who also did not study enough for the MGT 100 exams and helped set a good curve, thank you.

As we go on to accomplish all the wonderful things this institution has enabled us to do, we must continue to support and uplift one another personally and professionally. When we hear that a member of the Olin community is seeking support, let’s make each other a priority because, truly, you have all changed the world for me.

Congratulations to the Class of 2023 and thank you!

Samuel Amorin, MBA 2023, speaking at the May 2023 graduate programs graduation recognition ceremony. Photo by Jerry Naunheim

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