BOSTON—Harvard Business School (HBS) held its 112th Commencement exercises yesterday with a diploma ceremony on its campus in Boston—the first in-person commencement in three years, as the previous two ceremonies were held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.
After an all-University celebration in Harvard’s Tercentenary Theatre in the morning, 770 students received their MBA degrees in front of the School’s Baker Library | Bloomberg Center.
The top five percent of the MBA Class of 2022 (39 students) graduated with high distinction as Baker Scholars (named after the School’s initial benefactor, George Fisher Baker). Sixty-five students earned their diplomas with distinction and 154 earned second-year honors.
Also participating in yesterday’s ceremony were seventy-four MBA graduates who were awarded their degrees this past March, with one student graduating with high distinction as a Baker Scholar, one with distinction, and six students earning second-year honors.
Also, this year the first-ever MS/MBA: Biotechnology: Life Sciences cohort of 11 students received their degrees; the program is a joint effort among HBS, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Harvard Medical School through the Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology. It also marked the first in-person graduation for 24 students in the third cohort of the MS/MBA: Engineering Sciences program, run jointly by HBS and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
In addition, 20 students in the Doctoral Program earned PhD degrees in programs offered jointly with the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the fields of business administration, business economics, and organizational behavior. In November 2021, two students earned PhDs in business administration.
In his remarks, HBS Dean Srikant Datar opened by saying, “Despite and perhaps because we endured limitations, hardship, and loss over the past few years, it feels all the sweeter to be together today, in person, to celebrate your academic achievements, and to unite as a community to mark what is truly a joyous time.”
Dean Datar also highlighted three qualities that are crucial for leaders today: the extent to which they can enthuse, enable, and empower others, and how those qualities can help create an environment in which every individual in their organization can flourish.
“As you begin your own leadership journey, I encourage you to think about how you will enthuse, enable, and empower those in your organizations,” he commented. “If you do so, I am certain you will experience a career filled with purpose and meaning, accomplishing things that you never thought possible, while learning from amazing people in ways that you had not anticipated. And when that happens, I am confident you will look back to your time here and appreciate all the things you gained—knowledge, skills, resilience, flexibility, resourcefulness, and an ability to accept challenges—while looking forward to the future with confidence and optimism.”
Dean Datar later presented the 2022 Alumni Achievement Awards to Patricia C. “Tosh” Barron (MBA 1972), former president of both engineering systems and the office products division of Xerox; Salman A. Khan (MBA 2003), founder and chief executive officer of Khan Academy; Naina Lal Kidwai (MBA 1982), former executive director of HSBC Asia Pacific, former chairman of HSBC India, and founder and chairman of the India Sanitation Coalition; Robert L. Ryan (MBA 1970), retired senior vice president and chief financial officer of Medtronic; and Robert B. Wilson (MBA 1961, DBA 1963), the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management, Emeritus, at Stanford University and winner of the 2020 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for improvements to auction theory and the invention of new auction formats.
Speaking to the graduates about the support systems that helped them along the way, Professor Jan Rivkin, senior associate dean and chair of the MBA Program said, “At your back, right behind you—literally today and figuratively every day—you have an incredible set of supporters: moms and dads, grandparents, stepparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, partners, kids, family, and friends. People who are here in person today and people here only in spirit. Many of them carried you in their arms in the past. All of them carry you in their hearts today and every day.”
“This is a class that had the fortitude and flexibility to navigate HBS in a pandemic, the worst public health crisis in a century,” said Jana Pompadur Kierstead, executive director, MBA and Doctoral Programs. “You took a leap of faith with us—accepting your admission offers in the spring of 2020, when no one knew what the pandemic HBS experience would be.”
“The experience was hard at times,” Rivkin continued. “You stuck with it, through Zoom school, lockdowns, and gathering-size limits. You immersed yourselves in classes. And together, we’ve arrived at this special day, when we offer you our deepest congratulations.”
Rivkin and Kierstead closed their remarks by stating, “[This is] a class that includes the full palette of human potential. A class that has thought deeply, worked hard, and even played a little during their time on our campus. A class whose MBA graduates have, by our estimate, prepared nearly 400,000 case studies. A class whose doctoral graduates wrote dissertations that run, in total, to more than 5,000 pages. A class that is ready to lead. A class eager and able to make a difference in the world. The HBS Class of 2022.”