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NISHITA SHETTY

Master of Science, Information Technology and Management

President Wildenthal, Provost Musselman, Dean Underwood, Dean Pirkul, distinguished guests, professors, families, friends and the Class of 2016:

It’s a great honor for me to have received this opportunity to stand in front of you and mirror the views of hundreds of my classmates. Two years ago, we were blessed with the opportunity to join this unique institution. I mention "unique" because not every institution offers what UT Dallas does — a magnificent team of faculty sharpening our business acumens and personalities at every step to ensure we are ready for the corporate world, a diverse and extremely avid network of alums who have groomed us by sharing their experiences and learning, and last but not least, our fellow classmates who bring in diverse experiences and help share the path toward each other’s success. Today, on behalf of the Class of 2016, I would like to express our gratitude to all the professors and friends at UT Dallas, not only for imparting knowledge but also for showing the significance of stepping on the right path; the need for erudition and the desire for edification.

A walk down memory lane will help us embrace the changes instilled in us by our experiences at UT Dallas. Every lesson learned has fine-tuned our professionalism and inculcated maturity in us.

The primary lesson we have learned at UT Dallas is to look at success beyond the mirage of grades. At the Jindal School of Management, it was always beyond scoring a 4.0 GPA. Emphasis has always been placed on all-around graduate excellence and the impact that we create for the school. The zeal to be a leader of student organizations, organizing guest speakers and networking events by inviting alums and professionals, and participating in case competitions have helped us groom our overall personalities. The peer-to-peer student mentorship program, an initiative by the Dean’s Council, has helped hundreds of new students with real-time in-school experiences through mentorship and guidance from their peers.

The second lesson we have learned at UT Dallas is to never fear rejections and rather take them as opportunities to rise again. We have hurdled our way through hundreds of job applications and countless interviews, even witnessed rejections within 10 minutes of filling out a job application. Trust me, we all will make it to our dream jobs, but it’s the journey that got us there that we will remember and cherish the most.

"Today when we receive this prestigious degree, we are bestowed with a greater responsibility to take care of the people who are yet to achieve their dreams."

I believe no champion was ever made without a coach. If our school is a boxing ring, our professors are the coaches who have helped us sustain every blow hurled at us and motivated us to hold our ground after every bout. Our professors have always traveled an extra mile to provide us a quality education and left no stone unturned to make us realize our potential. I remember several instances when professors spent time post-lecture or during weekends to help students with their academic projects and queries. Their idea was not to give a direct solution but to point the way and let us make our own choices, our own mistakes and design our own paths toward glory.

I would like to make a mention of the staff at the Career Management Center, who have worked tirelessly, critiquing our résumés, organizing mock interview sessions and preparing us before our big job interviews. They have functioned round the clock to hone our professionalism and competency to take on any challenges.

Also present in the crowd are the proud smiles that may not get the limelight for our success, but they have always been our backbone in this amazing quest for knowledge. On behalf of the Class of 2016, I would like to take this moment to thank our parents, families and friends for their countless sacrifices and unconditional support. It is because of your belief and faith that we stand here today, with our heads high and ambitions unleashed to conquer the world. Thank you so much for being the crux of our lives.

Today when we receive this prestigious degree, we are bestowed with a greater responsibility to take care of the people who are yet to achieve their dreams, people who are still looking for that single ray of hope to make a stride toward their goals. This is not only an obligation to act as a good Samaritan for society but also a responsibility to uphold the spirit of UT Dallas by living up to its core values of collaboration and empowerment by coaching.

In some corner of our hearts, each one of us wants to give back to our school and our society, but somehow months down the line as we become busy with our day-to-day lives, the enthusiasm fades out. But what we shouldn’t forget is that it has taken a lot of effort from a lot of people to get us here. So, the spirit of giving back shouldn’t be for a few moments or months but should live with us for a lifetime.

As we embark upon unexplored territory and begin our journeys toward our ultimate goals, let us make a commitment today:

  • To embrace the obligation of being responsible alumni by providing assistance in every possible manner to new cohorts of students.
  • To uphold the integrity of our school and be the proud and responsible ambassadors of
    UT Dallas.
  • To contribute to the development of our society by harnessing the moral values inculcated
    in us by UT Dallas.

Once we enter the competitive professional world, we will be used as a prism to view our university. The spectrum of colors that we diffract will reflect the image of our university across the globe. The time has come for us to make a difference for this school and this society at large. And, as Steve Jobs said: "We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?"


Nishita Shetty graduated with a Master of Science degree in information technology and management. She works for McKinsey & Company as a business technology consultant.

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