Nisha Dugar

Master of Science, Information Technology and Management

President Daniel, Provost Wildenthal, Dean Cunningham, Dean Pirkul, distinguished guests, professors, families, friends and Class of 2014: The first thing that I would like to say is thank you. I have been invited to four commencement ceremonies by my friends in the past two years, and I don’t remember a single thing the speakers said. Keeping that in mind, I have kept my speech short.

First things first. Graduates of the Class of 2014, take a deep breath. We have finished, we made it, and this is our day!

Profile Photo of Nisha Dugar

For many of you, earning a degree from this great university represents the most substantial achievement thus far in your life. Graduation is a time to celebrate the hard work, dedication and perseverance all of us have endured to reach this commencement ceremony. Today, we are all experiencing feelings of pride, exhilaration and gratitude, but remember, none of us made it here entirely on his or her own. We had the help and the encouragement of our friends and families. I would like to take an opportunity on behalf of all the graduates to thank our parents, siblings, spouses and friends who were always there to listen to us complain, worry and talk about our accomplishments. Your support throughout this experience has led to this day!

Sir Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen a little further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Education is a collective effort. In order to achieve, we require support from those who came before us. At UT Dallas, our degree programs put emphasis on the development of relationships between teachers and students. Even though our professors are a part of our academic journey for a short period, they teach us lessons that stay with us for a lifetime. We have incredibly helpful faculty at UT Dallas. How many times have the faculty gone above and beyond to help us decide which course to enroll in, or stayed late after class to answer questions, or motivated us to apply for internships/jobs, or just share their experiences?

Today we will leave UT Dallas with more lasting memories than this speech. Remember getting free food from student organizations during our first month here, standing in long queues at Starbucks even when we were running late for class, how hard we struggled to get a parking spot through many construction projects?

“Even though our professors are a part of our academic journey for a short period, they teach us lessons that stay with us for a lifetime. We have incredibly helpful faculty at UT Dallas.”

We have had enormous opportunities to prove ourselves, and don’t forget those challenging projects, never-ending assignments and nerve-racking exams. Every effort the JSOM Dean’s Council made during exams days, brewing coffee for us or serving popcorn or candies, that was a comforting feeling! I am sure each one sitting here is going to miss that. But of all of your experiences here at UT Dallas, none is more meaningful, of course, than the education that you’ve received in one of the nation’s most highly respected institutions.

From our first semester at UT Dallas, much has changed. Waterview Apartments became University Village, we’ve seen a new JSOM building and several residential halls constructed, and numerous groundbreaking ceremonies. We have started new JSOM traditions. Have you heard about our JSOM owl named Pat, whom if patted, brings you luck? Or a new MS degree in business analytics, new food facilities in our new building, of which a few are open till 2 a.m., and believe it or not, more parking spaces? How many of you remember those recognition walls in the JSOM hallway? Each of us has worked hard to gain recognition in many ways: the annual poster competition, the case competitions, the group project, the endless hours spent preparing presentations and taking exams, not to mention working hard at an internship. Yes, our school has given us all these rich experiences. If I could, I would bleed orange and green.

I started as a blank piece of paper and have ended up a prepared and successful person. UT Dallas has taught us to stand by our decisions and lead by example. We are perseverant. We pay attention to detail in an age in which corporate responsibility is becoming more significant. We are charged to uphold and uplift the reputation that we are graduates from the Jindal School of Management at UT Dallas, and we are well-equipped to do so.

I once read a quote, “If you don't make any impact on Earth, you will die before you die. But if you impress hearts with what you do, you still live even after you're gone.” A couple of months ago, I interviewed with Deloitte at its headquarters, and based on my discussion with the interviewers about the talent that UT Dallas holds, they decided to contact the UT Dallas Career Management Center to hold on-campus interviews for current students at UT Dallas. I felt ecstatic when I heard this news from Tom Kim, the center’s leader, and felt –Yes! I have definitely done something for the school. I felt the satisfaction of giving something back.

Class of 2014, on closing, I would just like to leave you with these thoughts – We are now alumni from UT Dallas – in my opinion the most innovative and nontraditional school. It is we who have the obligation to take all our new-found wisdom to make the Jindal School of Management very proud. But, my fellow graduates, always look back at the school that developed us as individuals in every respect and remember to give back to the school in every possible way.

Congratulations to us all as we embark on the next stage of our journey.

Nisha Dugar graduated with a master’s degree in information technology and management. She was a teaching assistant for five courses and has been a repeat dean’s list honoree. She has been involved in a number of campus organizations, including the Dean’s Council, SAP User Group and MIS Club. After graduation, she plans to join Deloitte Consulting as an SAP business consultant.