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By Brent Chrite, Associate Dean and Director of Eller MBA Programs

chrite_sm.jpgThis weekend saw the successful matriculation of an exceptional group of Eller MBA graduates.   I know that our graduates, their families and friends each found the celebration to be a wonderful affirmation of their achievement.  As for my Eller colleagues, while we were obviously happy to be a part of the graduation celebration, we’re also exhausted and very much looking forward to some small bit of respite that inevitably avails itself at this time of year.  More importantly, we look forward to preparing for the new incoming class this fall. 

We’re very proud of each of our students and wish them success in all their future endeavors.
Speaking of the future and our graduates’ matriculation into a market unlike anything they’ve seen or even anticipated, I was struck by some of the comments from our commencement speaker, Louise Francesconi, the recently retired President of Raytheon Missile Systems.  In her remarks, while acknowledging the extraordinary challenges of today’s current state of the market, Ms. Fransesconi implored our students to recognize this volatility as a unique opportunity to more directly and profoundly shape their own futures… in other words, create their own order out of the current chaos.

I think that’s an important lesson in the current economic landscape for all MBA graduates.  MBA programs provide students with a comprehensive set of tools to forge their own paths including the tools to assist them in conducting rigorous economic analysis.  Our graduates can easily calculate the cost of capital or determine the viability of a project through NPV analysis.  Those skills are taught explicitly.  The other skills that Eller imparts – perhaps more valuable than tools of economic analysis – are those required to solve problems of non-economic origin.  These skills, focused on human interaction, motivation, inter-cultural communication, are precursors to effective leadership, regardless of industry.   They require deftness, sensitivity, insight, and confidence. And they reflect the kinds of contributions we know Eller MBA’s will bring to the market. Congratulations.