Binghamton University School of Management celebrates the Class of 2018
Speakers encouraged graduates to look into the future with optimism at 2018 Commencement ceremony
The Binghamton University School of Management celebrated the Class of 2018 and encouraged graduates to look into the future with optimism, even in the face of uncertainty.
Over 450 students were awarded their bachelor’s degrees at the School of Management (SOM) Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 19. Around 200 master’s and PhD students received their degrees a day earlier at the Graduate School Commencement.
Dean Upinder Dhillon congratulated the Class of 2018 and touted their successes and accomplishments.
“We are extremely proud of you and hope you will find continued success. Your continued engagement and support will help us fulfill our vision of being the premier public business school,” he said.
Dhillon said that even though graduates would be entering a rapidly-changing world, they should embrace the new opportunities.
“Never stop learning,” he said. “The most successful individuals are those who examine future trends and learn ways to succeed.”
Alumni award recipient Marc Dieli ’89, recalled why he decided to pursue an education in accounting at Binghamton University in the first place.
“I was good in math and terrible in English, but most importantly, the accountant for the deli where I worked dressed impeccably and drove a really nice car. That’s all the motivation that I needed!” he laughed.
After four of what were some of the best years of his life, Dieli landed a job at EY, where he’s been for nearly 30 years. Now an assurance partner, also he serves as the Northeast area coordinating partner in charge of campus recruiting for Binghamton University. He said what sets outstanding potential hires apart from others comes down to soft skills.
“I truly believe your level of success is directly tied to your attitude, how ambitious you are, your willingness to learn, your ability to listen and how well you manage expectations,” he said.
Dieli focused in on those last two – listening and managing expectations – and said they are “woefully underrated” skills.
“Tonight at dinner, I want you to try three things. Avoid finishing someone else’s sentences. Avoid the urge to share your own version of someone else’s experience. Lastly, but most importantly, just listen,” he said.
Dieli also discussed how important it is to manage expectations in both your personal and professional lives. Whether it’s telling a significant other that you’ll be home from work earlier than you really will be or over-promising what you can actually deliver to a client, Dieli warned that these situations can lead to disappointment and mistrust.
One way to avoid these kinds of scenarios is to simply learn to say “no.”
“There comes a point where you just have to say ‘no.’ Don’t commit to something that you’re not sure you’ll be able to accomplish. It’s okay to say ‘no’ every once in a while – just make sure that your ‘no’ is justified,” he said.
For the things that are most important in life though, student speaker Keivyn Reyes emphasized the power of saying “yes.”
“I want to empower you all with a very simple message as we embark on a new journey. We all understand that physically, you become what you eat. But what many of us forget is that mentally, you become what you think,” said Reyes, who received his bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Reyes, a first-generation college student, said he found motivation in the positive energy of his parents, who immigrated to the United States from Ecuador. When he was 7 years old, his mother, who didn’t speak English and worked over 12 hours a day, would use a pocketbook thesaurus to help him with his English homework.
“Every night, I was stuck in the same cycle, but vaguely remembering a spark of positivity that my mom said to me as we started the homework. She’d say ‘Sí se puede’ – yes, we can,” said Reyes.
This phrase stuck with him as he attended two different colleges before Binghamton University, and at one point was living with his father in a small garage during the wintertime. Despite the hardships, he said his father’s positive affirmations resulted in Reyes working even harder in college.
“We all go through challenges. But if you can carry a small piece of the same optimism that drove me and many immigrants in this country for years by simply affirming ‘Sí se puede’ at every stage of your life, trust me on this – you will make it,” he said.
Reyes encouraged his fellow classmates not to focus on the challenges that came before and the challenges to come, but to instead focus on the opportunities ahead.
“Class of 2018, let’s create momentum. Let’s create success. Let’s ignite our drive and celebrate as we walk down this stage,” he said.
“¡Sí se puede!”