IE Brown EMBA: Class of 2013 Graduation

Written on June 10, 2013 by Vani Nadarajah in News

Kudos for this post, to our guest bloggers from Brown University: Caroline Steinfield ’14 and Lauren Clarke ’14

Friday June 7th, Segovia, 10:30am.

BROWN IE GRADUATION 2013 017A total of 27 soon-to-be alumni and their families disembark from the buses that shuttled them from the capital. The air is crisp, and the campus, set in the property of the reformed  Convent Santa Cruz la Real exudes a sense of gravitas . “Did you know that this was where the Spanish inquisition started?”– interesting pieces of trivia are tossed around as the families gather in the shelter of these old stones.

At the start of the graduation ceremony, deans, rectors and program directors walk up the chapel’s aisle in their academic robes and hats. Such outfits are not usual in European graduations,we are told, and this newfound custom can be attributed to the partnership with Brown University, which conserves strong academic traditions. The song of a violin echoes through the walls of the monastery as the names of the students are called one by one.


The solemnity of this graduation is accompanied by a deep sense of intimacy, and a streak of unconventionality. Both of these aspects come across very clearly from the speeches given by students and professors. Inside jokes abound, and speakers often name individual students of the program to illustrate their points. It is impossible not to share the feeling of accomplishment of these graduates and their families as they recount the hardships of the program and express their gratitude for all of those that helped through.

BROWN IE GRADUATION 2013 021There is also a certain bravado to the traditional academic message and a real emphasis to real business challenges as the keynote speaker Arpad von Lazar gives advice to the class, hitting key points of how to strive in the world they are about to enter.  His last point is for the students to gain a sense of humor and optimism about anything they do, and about the different people and cultures they are bound to interact with. If they do not, he jokes, they will have the “cardiovascular nightmare of constantly being surprised.”  His core message is : “Stay attentive. Pay attention. Talk less, listen more.” And he ends he ends his speech on an unmistakably entrepreneurial note, as he mentions a quote from Steve Jobs, “stay hungry, and stay a little bit foolish.”

Sitting through this ceremony, we can feel the emotion, the personal relationships, and all of the effort put in this program by the students, the professors, and the institution.  Within the walls of the Convent Santa Cruz la Real tradition and innovation, academia and business, intimacy and achievement blend seamlessly. Most of all, there is a sense of family throughout — and not just because of all of the family members there to support the graduates – but because it is evident that this class, and its organizers, have become a family.

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