Graduation Speech Maria Gheorghe, Valedictorian Executive MBA 2023,

IT Lead at INGS Hubs Romania


Esteemed professors, dear colleagues and guests, it is truly an overwhelming honor to have the chance to give this speech today at our graduation ceremony.

I don’t know what the protocol is, so I will just speak from the heart. A little bit different set-up compared to the sports bar in Atlanta when everybody had the chance to say a few words, but I think I will find the courage to do it.

2 years ago I wouldn’t have guessed the richness of information and experiences that the Executive MBA would bring to me. Every studied subject had its own bright moments and it is when faced with complexity of running a business I realized how useful the tools are and how they all come together to give structure and assertiveness instead of gut feeling and simple common sense. I could even understand better what gave me energy to go thru some very intense periods packed with classes, exams, work and family: the core value of continuous learning and self-improvement.

This is a journey that never stops, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have the guidance of such experienced professors and inspiring colleagues. As I have learnt just as much from the life lessons that can’t be graded from 1 to 10 as academia performance:

  • the passion for own profession
  • the joy of discovering new concepts and connecting the dots,
  • the courage to follow a career change,
  • the discovery of entrepreneurial energy.

Corporate and business life can be treacherous, especially nowadays, and I am grateful for the strong anchor that Asebuss gave me: it is not the diploma as sometimes was implied, although proud to post it on my linked in account 😊, it is a more the strategic and integrated way of understanding how value is created and how leaders can be effective.

Because “there is nothing more permanent than change”, I would like to mention other anchors that give me balance and energy: the continuous support and trust I receive from my manager and the love and understanding I get from my son and husband. All three are in the room and I didn’t want to waste the chance to thank them in public for giving me “their” Fridays and Saturdays to be able to join Asebuss. It would be great if my son would understand English better and would remember that part with “continuous learning”, but at least I hope he is impressed to see me all dressed up and giving the speech 😊.

Before I get too emotional I would like to mention a few other things I’ve discovered and were not part of the curricula and maybe it is good to be known by the professors as well. Disclaimer – this list is not complete:

  • there is an entire library of jokes about tequila and apparently the lawyers are the librarians;
  • the success in corn breeding is strongly linked to statistics and good wine;
  • the project managers are the most creative storytellers… probably because of writing too many status reports.
  • there is a cold war going on between marketing and audit departments;
  • knowing what Weighted average cost of capital is, can make the CFO your best friend;
  • there might be a strong correlation between number of tests performed and verbosity of quality managers
  • one good marketing person and a brilliant operations manager are the recipe for successful business. And then Audit comes along 😊
  • people in aviation are the best at scheduling and organizing events
  • The number of CEOs in a cohort increases during EMBA program, with a boost in the second year of study
  • Even the most introvert people give in to enjoy working as part of a team
  • Learning creates addiction, up to a level that some felt the need to continue with a PhD
  • Last, but not least, sometimes, you just create connection and make friends in the most unexpected ways. I think “serendipity” describes it better than the corporate term of “networking”… although networking is not bad either.

I will conclude with the last item that I take away and move forward from my Asebuss experience: the mission of passing forward the core values of “continuous learning” and “team work” so other good professionals can be formed and bring change in the business and public sectors of Romania as I think that year after year Asebuss, with the help of American professors as well, has contributed significantly to the maturity of professional environment and hence a slightly better country for us all.

Thank you!