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Master of Science, Supply Chain Management

President Richard Benson, Provost Hobson Wildenthal, Dean Hasan Pirkul, distinguished faculty, families and fellow graduates, good afternoon. My name is Komal Singh, and I represent one of the many voices of this graduating Class of 2016.

We finally made it. I still remember the day when I landed at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, all anxious and worn out from a long flight from India and in utter need of rest. But waiting for me — and I’m sure for many of you, too — were friends from the Indian Students Association who helped me feel at home in a new country, out of my comfort zone, among people from so many different countries and with so many different accents.

For my fellow international students, our first days here would have been chaotic if it weren’t for the generosity of our peer students guiding us.

“The power of our differences combined has given us the freedom to understand more and connect with each other and our professors.”

I remember vividly staff from the International Student Services Office reassuring us about our English skills. I remember Welcome Week. We had so much free food and danced at block parties and silent discos. Oh, and yes, the free T-shirts. Trust me, every time I got one I was elated. Collectively, we must have hundreds. Maybe more. We were welcomed by our University and our school in a splendid way, and they made us all feel so important. 

We have been so fortunate to attend the Jindal School. The terrific courses, committed faculty, practical knowledge and in-class activities — all delivered in one impeccable package. I represent the international student perspective, but our student body comes from all over the United States and the world; and it is our differences that have helped all of us manage the stress, meet the deadlines and work together on teams. The power of our differences combined has given us the freedom to understand more and connect with each other and our professors.

As we walked in the halls of JSOM, we learned quickly that networking is the key to our future. We heard it directly from the mouths of our faculty, our peers and visiting employers. JSOM helped us create our network. Personally, I benefitted from organizations like the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, and Supply Chain Leadership Council … initially because of free pizzas. But over time I benefitted because I enjoyed the sessions and found value in learning more. Like you, I became more refined and a more powerful version of myself.   Even when I failed, I learned much because of incredible faculty who always had more faith in me than I had in myself.

Experiences in JSOM mattered to my development and I’m sure yours, too. For instance, I was involved in the Dean’s Council. I wanted to wear one of those green shirts and be a part of helping to grow and build the Jindal School brand. The JSOM coffee chats, the council meetings, the peer-to-peer mentoring program and the OWLIE Awards gave me opportunities to make a difference. I thank Dean Pirkul for that opportunity, and I hope you will thank those who helped you grow as a student in the Jindal School.

But remember, despite the work and the fun, this journey has been all about creating our futures. The JSOM Career Management Center helped us network successfully at career fairs, taught us to dress in suits and formal wear, taught us to deliver effective elevator speeches, and prepared us with mock interview sessions, LinkedIn workshops and professional development. If it weren’t for these opportunities, we wouldn’t be half the people we are today.

Today, as we turn the tassels, let’s take a moment to thank this school and our University for giving us rides from the airport, a platform to excel, teaching us to be innovative and nontraditional, giving access to health facilities and recreation, for being at our service day and night, for organizing career fairs, for giving us numerous opportunities to network, and, last but not least, for making us so proud to be UT Dallas Alumni. Also, let’s not forget to thank our support networks — our families and friends who were there even when we were not watching.

Now, it is our challenge to take these two years — the connections made, our knowledge, drive and passion to innovate — and make something of ourselves. And, we need to remember to give back to this school. I want to leave you with that thought in your minds and share these words from Mother Teresa:

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

We have spent two very important years of our youth in this University making good memories, learning great lessons and gaining lovely friends. Thank you, good luck on your endeavors and congratulations, Class of 2016.


Komal Singh graduated with a Master of Science in Supply Chain Management. She was an active member of Dean’s Council, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, Supply Chain Leadership Council, and Lion’s Club. She also served as a teaching assistant and was an intern at Nike. After graduation, she plans to join IBM as a senior smarter commerce consultant. 

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