Northeastern University’s 2017 D’Amore-McKim School of Business graduate commencement was held on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 in Matthews Arena. The new graduate class is comprised of some 430 degrees in 12 different programs. Student speaker Shayne Reddington, MBA’17, encouraged his fellow graduates to reflect on their time working together, and how it will shape the rest of their personal and professional lives.
Reddington was a Finance Track student and completed his corporate residency with Ocean Spray. He will begin working for PricewaterhouseCoopers after graduation.
This is his speech in entirety.
Distinguished faculty and staff, members of the Northeastern community, my fellow Graduate students, and all the families and friends who have supported each and every one of us along the way, it is an honor to be standing here in front of you to deliver the student address. This is an incredible and humbling opportunity.
My name is Shayne Reddington and I am from Exeter, New Hampshire, about an hour north of here, and I am a member of the full-time MBA program’s class of 2017. For the duration of this speech, instead of thinking of me as happy-go-lucky “Shayne” – who loves the Irish band U2 and the Red Sox, and who is deeply afraid of anything related to the field of marketing (and I’m sure Professor Clark can confirm that), I would like you to think of me first and foremost as a graduate student from Northeastern University. And if you bear with me, I promise you this will all tie together in the end. I will tell you what I told myself numerous times throughout the first year of my MBA program, “trust the process.”
While I am positive that each individual here has had a unique experience within their respective program, I want to focus for the next few minutes on our shared experiences as graduate students. No matter what your motivation was for pursuing an advanced degree, what your background entails, where you’re from, what industry you’ve gained experience in or where you’re going in the future, completing a graduate program is a challenging endeavor, and an accomplishment we can all take pride in. An accomplishment that resulted in common bonds and lasting relationships, which required us to lean on our support systems more than we – and maybe they – ever thought possible.
When looking back on these experiences as graduate students, we are sure to remember our individual accomplishments, but I also urge you to celebrate this campus family we’ve been a part of. Instead of leaving with only memories of the frameworks and the financials– I urge you to take with you the moments that brought us together as a collective whole. It’s the e-mail you received from a classmate or a professor congratulating you on a residency or a promotion. It’s the buddies you had a little too much fun with at Connors who, in a heroic act of friendship, lent you their couch to crash on. It’s the free coffee in career services, which when having five cups a day for months at a time, may cause serious health concerns in the future. It is the faculty member who answers your call to help with last-minute interview prep.
Coming from a finance background, working within teams happened infrequently. During my first semester, I could not have worked with four people with more diverse backgrounds and experiences. Our group backgrounds included music, finance, the military and, thankfully, marketing. But, some might say miraculously, we were all motivated and accomplished amazing things together and had fun doing it. This experience will surely shape how I work with other people in the future, and that lesson is an important one.
These experiences, and a lot of what else we learned in school cannot be graded or quantified. I am sure many of you will agree with me that learning how to band together and find common ground is one of the most important lessons learned here. Northeastern includes students and professors from all over the world with all different backgrounds, but when our collective whole is working hard toward the same goal, well, this event is an amazing testament to what can be accomplished when people band together.
So as we go on, let’s make a commitment to remember those things which our transcripts will not reflect. Remember the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the assurances and doubt, the old friends who stood by us and the new friends with whom we’ve gone through this incredible experience.
And let’s thank the family members, friends, spouses, administrators, partners and professors that stuck by our sides and offered the support day in and day out that has allowed so many of us to claim this amazing accomplishment.
I would like to leave everyone with a quote from Steven Hawking that he made during the World Economic Forum in 2015 which speaks to the journey each and every one of us has taken together and speaks to the common bond, common ground and common community we have all had to find at one point or another during our time in school.
“When we see the Earth from space we see ourselves as a whole. We see the unity, but not the divisions. One planet, one human race. We are here together and we need to live together with tolerance and respect. Our only boundaries are the way we see ourselves, the only borders the way we see each other. We are all time travelers, traveling together into the future. But let us make that future a place we want to visit. Be brave. Be determined. Overcome the odds. It can be done.”