Graduation Speech by Mr Jason Lim, Student of the Year, Strathclyde MBA Graduation 2019.
“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them”
“Prof. Peter McKiernan, Susan Frew, CDC Directors, Fellow Graduates, ladies & gentlemen. Good evening to all of you! To all my fellow graduates, this is our special day! We survived! We made it! Congratulations! It is my great pleasure to share the experience of my MBA journey with all of you.
So, what have we learned in the past 2-3 years? A great deal….from business fundamentals to strategic models. For me, the best word to sum up what we gained is WISDOM.
Confucius once said, there are 3 ways to gain wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the most bitter. In this MBA, we gained our wisdom through all the 3 methods and the one which had the most profound impact on me was the art of reflection. Throughout the course, we were encouraged to hone our skills in learning through reflection. Reflection is a discovery method that stimulates various insights and helps us to increase our learning potential. Reflection converts an experience into a learning event. The American philosopher, John Dewey said it best: We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience.
Embarking and finishing an MBA is no easy task and it requires a lot of sacrifice from us. But there is no greater sacrifice than the sacrifice of our loved ones. In my case, it is my wife, Hui Fang. Please allow me to share a snippet of our love story, as the MBA has been a constant presence throughout our courtship.
We met around 5 years ago and on our third date – we started the day…yup, attending the Strathclyde MBA preview at CDC! We were both intrigued and resolved to start saving up and sign up the following year. The next year, Hui Fang – who is definitely more capable than I am – was ready.. But I was not. I had tons of excuses – I just changed my job, I just bought a house. But she knew better – it was fear & laziness talking – I didn’t want to commit the next 2-3 years of my life studying for an MBA.
Somehow, through a stroke of serendipity, she found out that CDC was offering a scholarship and encouraged me to apply for it. Of course, the fear and laziness took over again – and believe me, I tried my best to miss the deadline for the scholarship submission. Hui Fang made sure I didn’t. A Disney fan, she constantly reminded me of Walt Disney’s wise words: “All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.”
I got the scholarship (Thank you, CDC and the University of Strathclyde) and right before the start of the course, I proposed, she said YES and I promised her that we’ll get married in 2 years’ time. That 2 years became 3 – as I took a little longer than expected with my theses. And throughout the journey, Hui Fang made sure I never walked alone. Whenever I had doubts, whenever my laziness strikes – she will be there – pushing me, encouraging me. She was there when the procrastinator in me dragged an assignment submission up until 6am. She was there (and always ready to reward me with food) when I burned the midnight oil preparing for exams and assignments. She sacrificed her weekends – running errands, doing chores – so that I could focus on my classes. She was truly the wind beneath my wings which allowed me to fly higher.
When my project submission was delayed, she sacrificed and offered to postpone our wedding to minimise my distractions. We finally got married 3 months after I submitted my theses. My biggest regret? Not being able to fully enjoy the experience of preparing for our wedding together – as she again did much of the work – to allow me to give my best to this MBA. Fang, my superwoman, I love you for who you are, for everything you’ve done for me and I’m glad that I will have the rest of my life to make up for all my shortcomings.
In this regard, I would like all the graduates to give a round of applause to all the people who have made our success possible – our spouses, families, counsellors, and our project supervisors – (a special thanks to Dr. Koshy for the support and guidance you gave to my group).
On a final note, while I am honoured to have finished as the 2019 Student of the Year, for me, the defining reward of this MBA was the relationships forged, the experiences gained, and the knowledge acquired. To my fellow graduates, I also wish to say that I am very proud that when the journey got tough, we dug deep and persevered on. While the MBA may have taken a lot from us, it also gave us much more in return. I truly believe that our investment can only appreciate in value, both in our personal and also professional lives.
And to all of you, I say – CARPE DIEM! Seize the moment, seize the day, take risks, do the spectacular, make your lives extraordinary. Thank you….”.