Graduation @ 65: It’s about remaining relevant

27 September 2017

This year’s Graduation Ceremony at Maastricht School of Management marked an important milestone for one of the oldest and most international business schools in the Netherlands, as it celebrated its 65th anniversary. Each guest at the Graduation Ceremony received a timeline leaflet highlighting decisive events in the School’s history since 1952.

In his welcoming speech, Dean Wim Naudé congratulated the “111 stars” in the audience and laid the parallel between them and the School itself: “Very much like you, we must continue to learn, to grow and to evolve. The key to success is to remain relevant

“Staying relevant” was therefore precisely the theme of the keynote speech given by MSM Executive MBA alumnus Mr. Frank Kauffmann, General Manager Integrated Project Operations Center, Royal Philips. “Royal Philips has managed to stay relevant for 125 years, which is not all that evident for most companies nowadays.” Mr. Kauffmann stressed the crucial need for companies and organizations to overcome their “deadly beliefs” and to constantly reinvent themselves. “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat Small anymore. It will be Fast and Adaptable beating the Slow and Inert”.

You signed up for success so please always remember that the key to success is a combination of your degree and your experience,” Mr. Kauffmann advised the fresh graduates.

Taking the stage as the second guest speaker of the day, Mr. Andrew Main Wilson, Chief Executive AMBA and Chairman of the UN Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative, commended MSM in having fulfilled the “very stringent criteria” to obtain AMBA accreditation, which are only met by 2% of business schools worldwide.

Mr. Main Wilson was particularly impressed with the international character of MSM’s student body: “You’re one of the most globally diverse set of students I have ever seen,” he said in his speech, adding that this was a true asset at a time and age when most CEO’s and HR directors around the world indicate “cultural awareness and experience” as the most wanted skill

The big challenges of this world will not be solved by armies of politicians,” he said, “but business leaders large and small, who will show great responsible leadership and engage in sustainable initiatives.”

To mark MSM’s 65th anniversary, the musical intermezzo this year was a special tribute to the city of Maastricht and a celebration of knowledge and personal engagement in societal values. Mr. Remy Syrier from the Maastricht Academy of Music, composed and performed an original piece for harpsichord inspired by the MSM photo exhibition: “MSM, Maastricht and Metamorphic Books”, shown at Centre Céramique over the summer.

Another special feature of this year’s ceremony was the attribution of three 65th Anniversary Awards for outstanding academic achievement to the best papers from the Master in Management, residential MBA and DBA programs. The winners were respectively Mr. Duc A.Hoang from Viet Nam, Ms. Phoebe Carrera from the Philippines and Ms. Shohreh Parham from Iran, whose accomplishments were highly praised by their supervisors and warmly applauded by the audience.

What makes MSM different from other schools and what I have appreciated the most during my year here is the fact that from the very first day we felt part of the same family,” said Mr. Duc A. Hoang, who came to pursue his Master in Management in Maastricht with his wife Anh Hoang.


In her speech as class representative of the Master in Management program, Ms. Despoina Polyzoidou (Greece), stressed the same idea: “In this school, we were not treated as a number or one more student. We had a name, a story, and we were encouraged to embrace it and to share it. Our differences did not divide us but united us.”

As the afternoon drew to a close, the Master of Ceremony Mr. Oliver Olson, MSM Director Global Education Operations, emphasized that Graduation Day was “not the end of something, but just the beginning.”

The final words of the day: “Class of 2017, you are dismissed!” were pronounced by the six-year old Rianka Stuszinska, who put a smile on everyone’s face when just like the little girl in Banksy’s iconic Balloon Girl image, she released MSM’s 65th anniversary orange balloon as the students happily threw their caps up in the air.

Congratulations to all!

Please click here for a full photo impression of Graduation Day.

[photos by: Brian Megens photography]

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