Messages from SOM

As your studies come to a close, we offer messages from the SOM family of faculty, staff, and alumni.


THE STUDENT SPEECHES WILL BE POSTED FOLLOWING THE IN-PERSON CEREMONY ON MAY 24

Ana Victoria Gil
MAM ’21

Student Speaker

Rachel Gasana
EMBA ’21

Student Speaker

Joe Gramelspacher
MBA ’21

Student Speaker

Congratulations, graduates! The credentials you have earned and the diploma you will soon hold in your hands will open doors for you throughout your professional lives and you should have a deep sense of pride in what it represents. But your presence at Yale — certainly my own — is also a reflection of the privilege and good fortune that life’s circumstances have granted us. This sense of privilege will endure even though the pandemic has cast a pall over so much of your experience here.

In his Nobel lecture the writer V.S. Naipaul describes how, from the confines of his childhood in Trinidad, he came to be a writer. He quotes from an essay of Proust, “The beautiful things we shall write if we have talent, are inside us, indistinct, like the memory of a melody which delights us though we are unable to recapture its outline.” Naipaul then poignantly concludes, “Talent, Proust says. I would say luck, and much labour.” This epigraph of Naipaul’s has resonated with me. It is worthy of your attention as you celebrate your accomplishment: remain humble about the extraordinary talent you possess, be kind to those with harder luck, and never allow talent to substitute for labor.

It has been my pleasure and privilege to get to know so many of you and to witness your abundant gifts. I know that your involvement with the school will continue and your achievements will add further luster to the school’s reputation, which is now yours to nurture for the rest of your lives.

Anjani Jain
Deputy Dean for Academic Programs and Professor in the Practice of Management

Congratulations to the Class of 2021! We are so proud to welcome you to the alumni community. We wish you the best for the coming years and we can’t wait to welcome you to Evans Hall for future reunions and celebrations of your amazing class!

Margie Adler & Courtney Lightfoot
Alumni Relations Office

Congratulations on enduring such challenging circumstances. Wishing you all the very best, professionally and personally.

Jim Baron
William S. Beinecke Professor of Management

SOM Class of 2021: You have already learned one of the most valuable lessons in all of leadership: resilience. Few challenges in your career will match what you have already conquered. Congratulations to you all!

Matthew Broder
MBA ’87

My very best wishes to the Class of 2021! Congratulations are always in order this time of year, but you should all be especially proud. You have already proven yourselves to be a resilient group of leaders. I look forward to seeing where your career journeys take you!

Heather Tookes
Professor of Finance

Congrats and best wishes to the resilient Class of 2021! The road has not been easy; the decisions to make immeasurably hard. Yet your walk to graduation has not been in vain; it is a walk that will impact you for the rest of your life and the way in which you conduct that life and all it’s new possibilities and choices. It’s been my pleasure to work with and support so many of you. Three cheers for the Class of 2021!

Kit Heeley
Academic Affairs & Student Life

Congratulations to the Yale SOM Class of 2021! We all wish we could have spent more time together while you were here, and I hope you will stay in touch as you ascend your path beyond SOM. Best of luck with all the opportunities you will face.

Nathan Novemsky
Professor of Marketing

Exuberant and joyful congratulations on your amazing accomplishments! A well-deserved hooray for our 2021 graduates.

Sheri Scully
Academic Affairs & Student Life

Congratulations to all of you! We know how challenging your experience has been since COVID hit, and how you have soldiered through the difficulties. But for the rest of your lives, you will be Yale SOM alumni and we can’t wait to have you join our community, wherever your fortunes take you! Good luck and hope to see you soon.

Jon Rubin
MBA ’86

Congratulations Class of 2021! We look forward to your leadership as Yale Alumni.

Joseph Brandifino
EMBA ’18

Congratulations to the SOM graduates of 2021. You have survived and thrived in a most challenging period. And remember, whenever you grapple with a difficult management dilemma, you may have become the perfect protagonist for a future case study. Reach out to the case writing group!

Jean Rosenthal
Case Study Research and Development

In Review:
The Student Experience

Students from the Class of 2021 and faculty and staff share their thoughts on this extraordinary year and memories from the Class of 2021.

CONGRATULATIONS Class of 2021! While there have been more unexpected twists and turns (and devastating loss of life) along the way than anyone could have imagined when most of you began this Yale SOM journey, you’ve stuck with it and done so well as caring human beings and professionals. Wherever you’re headed (whether they already know you’re joining their team or you’ve yet to meet them and be hired), they’re so lucky to have you! Be well and stay connected!

Abigail Kies
Career Development Office

Dear Class of 2021, Congratulations on earning your MBA! The resilience, grace, and grit you have exhibited during the Covid crisis have been remarkable. The world needs leaders like you more than ever. We’re confident you’ll rise to the occasion. Wishing you all the very best.

Julia DiBenigno
Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior

Welcome to the Yale SOM alumni community. I think you’ll discover, as I have, how valuable your SOM degree is, and the camaraderie that exists among alumni no matter what decade they graduated from Yale. Congratulations!

Jeff Luger
MBA ’11

Having completed your degree under the most challenging of circumstances, I know you will all go so very far on your next journey. Congratulations!

Kristen Hammar
Academic Affairs & Student Life

Congratulations Systemic Risk class of 2021! You guys went through more than most classes had to but you made it. Thank you for a great class and a great year. It has been a pleasure getting to know all of you.

June Rhee
Lecturer, MMS Systemic Risk Director

Congratulations to the Class of 2021! Knowing you from prospective student to applicant to admit to enrolled student, it is always a special pleasure for the Admissions staff to watch the journey come full circle. I am so proud of all of you, and I wish you the very best as you begin the next phase of your life and careers; I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next!

Joanne Legler
EMBA Admissions

To the resilient graduating class of 2021, I can only admire your completion of such an important milestone. You have achieved, learned, and reflected on areas that close and open professional and personal possibilities for you. And all during this during a painful global pandemic. Knowing personally many of you, and seeing you not just survive but thrive in these turbulent time, I can only appreciate your example and rejoice with you this day. Congratulations!

Victor Padilla-Taylor
MAM ’15

Don’t gooooooooooo!!!!!! But if you must, go boldly And with love xoxoxoxoxox

Zoe Chance
Lecturer in Marketing

Congratulations to the class of 2021! You have had an SOM experience like no other and the entire SOM family is cheering you on as you start this next chapter.

Ben Freedman
MBA ’15

Congratulations Class of 2021! I look forward to hearing about the many ways you will all have Impact in your personal and professional lives!

Sue Carter
Lecturer in the Practice of Management

The world needs you, class of 2021, more than ever before. We’re confident you’ll rise to the occasion and wish you all the best for the journey ahead.

To the toughest, most challenge-ready class we’ve ever graduated, I congratulate you on your graduation and can’t wait to see how you use your hard-earned mettle and moxie to change the world for the better!

Amy Wrzesniewski
Michael H. Jordan Professor of Management, Organizational Behavior

Congratulations on your graduation!! This achievement is a great platform for you to continue to make an impact in society. As a Yale SOM Advisory Board member, I am very excited to welcome you into the Alumni Association and ask that you remain connected to our strong global Alumni network. I wish you the best in all your future endeavors.

Olabosipo Sawyerr-Bassey
MBA ’07

Congratulations to the Class of 2021!!! I hope you take a moment to reflect and celebrate this incredible achievement – especially in light of how challenging the past year has been. It has been such a joy to get to know some of you, and I’ll look forward to seeing you on campus at future events. In the meantime, my very best wishes for happiness, health, and success as you head back into your careers!

Lesley Meng
Assistant Professor of Operations Management

Congratulations to all of you brilliant and hardworking students! Wishing you all the best in your future conquests!

Taylor Dorsey
Events Department

Congratulations Class of 2021! My team and I wish you all the best with your future endeavors!

Shannan Foley
Registrar’s Team

Thank you for contributing so much to the Yale SOM community, and congratulations on your commencement! What an incredible achievement in a time of such uncertainty. It’s impressive to see how this class has persevered and adjusted while supporting each other through your journey. You all have bright futures ahead, and we hope to see you return to Evans Hall as alumni leaders in the future. Enjoy this moment – you’ve earned it!!

Kristen Beyers
Community & Inclusion

While graduating is definitely bittersweet, on the very bright side you won’t see any emails from me asking you to assist with admissions events anymore. It has been a pleasure to know and work with you all and I hope to see many of you at events in the future. All my very best and congratulations!

Kate Botelho
MBA Admissions

Congratulations on your graduation! The SOM alumni are supportive and can be helpful as you navigate your career. We look forward to welcoming you!

Claudia Stone Gourdon
MBA ’78

Congratulations to the new graduates entering the post-covid world! I wish you all the very best as you begin to make a difference and help shape the world into a much better place! May you find the courage to be leaders for these times.

Gilbert Santa Maria
MPPM ’91

Congratulations Grads! So proud of you. Onwards and upwards ⭐️

Manka Khanna
MBA ’18

To the Class of 2021 — wow, you did it! Without question you faced the most challenging circumstances ever experienced by an SOM class, and here you are at the finish line! Special shout out to the policy modelers among you — what a great group. Congratulations to all of you. Now get out there and make the world a better place!! Best, Ed K.

Ed Kaplan
William N and Marie A Beach Professor of Operations Research, Professor of Public Health, Professor of Engineering

Congratulations to the Class of 2021! Through this tremendously difficult period of time you have collectively and individually achieved something great – you have pursued lifelong learning and honed in on your leadership and academic skills. We all look forward to opportunities to celebrate your many successes and how much you will continue to achieve past graduation. Congratulations, again!

Colleen Phelan
The Broad Center

Never in history have our students had so much to offer at a time of such national urgency. Never has a class been better prepared to rise to the occasion and make an immediate positive impact.

You ARE ready, prepared to lead both when markets prosper AND in difficult times such as we have found ourselves throughout this pandemic. Your career will twist and turn, presenting both challenges and remarkable opportunities beyond your current imagination. As Yale SOM’s Career Coach for Alumni, I am excited to support you on that journey and to cheer you on! Congratulations!

Cindy Cornell
Career Development Office

Congratulations! Richly deserved! Such a difficult, difficult year! May the road rise up to meet you, …. Special thanks to – the SMF TA team (Aga, Arka, Ben, Cheng, Giancarlo, Jack, Leon, Mikhail, Richard, & Taiki); – the SMF discussion group leaders (Corey & Ed); and – the Case researchers (Allen, Leon, & Piyush). for the amazing support you provided!

Jake Thomas
Williams Brothers Professor of Accounting and Finance

Congratulations Class of 2021! Your bright future awaits you and so very excited for each of you!

Maya Sudhakaran
MBA ’14

Dear all, although I never had the chance to meet any of you in-person as I started my role during lock-down, every day during the past year; I have been truly amazed by all of your grit, stamina, determination and dedication. You all deserve the best in your future endeavors, wish you best of luck although you will not need it!

Nursen Demiroz
Employer Partnerships Manager

Dear Graduates, the time is finally upon you – the moment at which you become alumnae. Each of you has displayed tremendous resilience in the face of adversity and circumstances which you could not have imagined when starting your program. That resilience will carry you through adversity which everyone eventually faces. Count this time as not a period of loss but of gain in knowing you can and will get through.

Mandy Krumnow
EMBA ’18

Congratulations to the Yale SOM Class of 2021! Even though we had to endure difficulties this year that prevented us from doing many of the things we enjoy, it was still a great pleasure to get to know you, hear your stories, and learn from your insights. Best wishes as you begin your next chapter!

Thomas Steffen
Assistant Professor of Accounting

Congratulations! Well done, you made it through this tough time! Challenges give you opportunities to grow, be resilient and strong. I wish all the very best!

Sojung Lee
MAM ’13

Congrats on your big day, tough Yalies! You proved during this pandemic that nothing stops you from learning. Now get out there and show the world nothing stops you from making an impact.

Soheil Ghili
Assistant Professor of Marketing

We will miss you. But go with our blessing into the beautiful, tragic, miraculous, unfair, uncertain world.

Congratulations Class of 2021! It was a pleasure seeing you all in the AASL office and getting to know each of you as you would venture over to the candy bowl. I’m especially grateful that I was able to play in the Garstka hockey game with you all and represent the first year’s last year! You will all be very missed – but I hope to see you all again at Ingalls rink!

Marisa Berti
Academic Affairs & Student Life

Congratulations on your outstanding achievement! The SOM Alumni community welcomes you!

Ernesto Méndez Chiari
MAM ’19

Congratulations on joining the LIFELONG community of Yale University, not just SOM, alumni! Hopefully you will all find that, as I have, the Yale experience transcends your time on campus. The bond of the shared Yale experience is a powerful one throughout the world, and it has greatly enriched my life as I hope it will yours. And please reach out to me if you’re ever coming to San Diego!

Stewart Halpern
MPPM ’82

Congratulations to the Class of 2021! I am so proud of all that you have accomplished and can’t wait to see what the future brings. Please stay in touch!

Emily Donnery
Academic Affairs & Student Life

Congratulations to our graduating soccer captains!! Alyssa, Manny, and Teddy worked tirelessly to carry SOM United forward in the face of adversity. See you for Yale Cup 2021!

Rob Bartholomew
Imitative on Leadership and Organization

Congratulations Class of 2021! Just imagine, if you can do this, I really think you can adapt to any situation in the future. Have fun and so happy to have you as emerging leaders of business and society.

Teresa Chahine
Senior Lecturer, Social Entrepreneurship

As you step out into the world, just remember that everything you want is ahead of you. Even if you stumble or don’t make the right career decision now, there will be opportunities to course-correct. Value each experience and turn the learnings into nuggets for victory! All the best!!

Soji Maurice-Diya
MBA ’10

Congratulations to the MMS SR Class of 2021! What a crazy year this has been – I commend you all for your hard work, dedication, flexibility, and commitment to the program. Best of luck to you all!

Ashley Cumberledge
YPFS and MMS Systemic Risk Offices

To the class of 2021: congratulations on your graduation! I wish you all good luck and success as you move forward into your next chapter. Integrate your values, personal goals, and professional ambitions as you become leaders in business and society. Have fun, find happiness and fulfillment, and use what you learned at Yale to make your life and the world better.

A. J. Wasserstein
Eugene F. Williams, Jr. Lecturer in the Practice of Management

Best of Luck in the Future!

Liz Viloudaki
Faculty Support