Dear Graduates, honored guests, Mr. Zirkler, faculty, and friends, it is an honor for me to hold a speech here on this very special day!

Many days, weeks, months, semesters, years – for some of you more than for others – have passed since you first entered the LBS campus. You all hoped to reach this day, you were all optimistic that the day will come, however, some obstacles were in the way of the one or the other … still, here we are. Congratulations to all of you.

Where are you going from here now … business, post-grads, family … zillions of possibilities and expectations out there are waiting for you. Who should you listen to? Who will give you good advice? Who won’t? It was Joseph Campbell, a US-professor excelling in myth and George Lucas’ Star Wars, who originally said: Follow your bliss. Put simply, do what makes you happy and own it. Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks. There was a moment during studies when I decided that this is a rule worth to live by. I told myself: “If this doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it”. I always tried to follow this bliss. Choose your own happiness, be responsible for what you do, live your life for yourself.

Have a purpose in life. Always continue learning. You will not be able to find answers to everything, but try – and make mistakes. That’s ok. It’s ok to be vulnerable. Be aware that at any given time, everything can change. Don’t give up, keep trying. Some things simply take time. You need confidence to live according to your own rules. These rules should live up to society’s expectations.

Life is hard, and it isn’t always fair, but it’s good. And don’t forget LBS – be an active and participative alumnus. Register on GRADAWAY – you will find a description under the title “Don’t be a stranger” as to how to do that in your diploma. Being in touch with your alumni may be important for your personal careers. And our alumni are very important for us, for the improvement of our studies, our reputation, and for the sake of keeping in touch with the international world “outside.” Because that’s where you are going to be – most probably spread all over that world. And that’s exactly how it is supposed to be. But your future is always built on your past – and let us, LBS and its staff, its faculty, always be a part of your present.

We would love to know where live takes you to, which mountains you are going to climb and which successes you are going to have. GRADAWAY is our way to keep in touch with you, so please register and let us know! It will also support your networking from here – an old saying goes “you always meet twice” … and you will see how helpful your connection to your former classmates and co- alumni may be for your future careers. The big advantage is: you don’t have to get to know your former class mates, the first step is already taken, you just need to keep in touch …

As you leave this school … this city… as you face new choices … new challenges…new successes and setbacks you don’t need to remember my speech, but remember LBS and what you have learned here at LBS. I cannot wait to see what you choose to do next.

Prof. (FH) Mag. Julius Dem, MBA (Director of Studies IBA, Lauder Business School) – Graduation Speech January 2016

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