01 Sep 2010
School’s 100th MBA Class GraduatesRe: John Coleman (MBA 2010); Zeynep Ton-Gonzalez (DBA 2002)Topics:
On a hot, steamy afternoon in late May that saw most of the audience forsake the folding chairs on Baker Lawn for the shade of its tree-lined margins, some 900 HBS students celebrated Class Day with a special distinction: Theirs was the 100th MBA class to graduate from the School.
The day’s principal speaker was Sir Ronald Cohen (MBA ’69), a widely recognized father of the European venture capital industry who now devotes his time to social enterprise in England and the Middle East. Cohen (center), chairman of The Portland Trust and of Bridges Ventures, and cofounder and former chairman of Apax Partners, shared three central lessons with the graduates and their assembled families and friends. “The world runs away from danger,” Cohen said, but there is value in uncertainty: “Risk is your friend; the trick is to exploit it.” Second, Cohen observed, “Everything is trial and error; entrepreneurs are those who can turn unavoidable setbacks into advantages.” Third, he concluded, “Principles often have a cost, but it’s always a bargain in the end” because principled companies outperform others.
Earlier, student speaker John Coleman (MPA/MBA ’10) told his fellow graduates, “We’ve been blessed or cursed to leave this place in the midst of interesting and urgent times. But despite the very real pain and difficulty of the current environment, it is an opportunity.”
Five professors were honored by the students for teaching excellence: Clayton Christensen (Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise); David Moss (Creating the Modern Financial System); Tom Nicholas (The Entrepreneurial Manager); Thomas Piper (Financial Reporting and Control); and Zeynep Ton (Coordinating and Managing Supply Chains). The next day, May 28, in the last such ceremony he would preside over, departing Dean Jay Light presented 901 MBA diplomas and 6 DBA degrees, as well as 8 Ph.D.’s in several fields, earned in conjunction with the University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Read a profile of Class Day speaker Sir Ronald Cohen.
Class of MBA 1969, Section F