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The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Speakers encourage GWSB graduates to seek solutions, give back

Daniel Heuer | Assistant Photo Editor
School of Business Interim Dean Vanessa Perry shakes a graduate’s hand.

Students from the School of Business crossed the Smith Center stage Thursday to receive bachelor’s degrees in business-related majors or their master’s degree in business administration.

Keynote speaker John N. Roberts, student speaker Anna Shah and GWSB Interim Dean Vanessa Perry congratulated 371 graduates as they embarked on their next journeys in business. Perry said the Class of 2024 has shown resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused graduating seniors to spend their first year at GW online.

“Unlike any graduating class, it is your resilience, your ability to handle change, that sets you apart,” Perry said in her speech.

Roberts graduated from GW with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 1989 and said he returned to the business school Commencement ceremony to cheer on and congratulate the class of 2024. Roberts is the senior portfolio manager at Corient, an asset management firm, and serves as a member of the GW Investment Advisory Board.

Roberts said graduates should challenge conventional ways of thinking and find a mentor early on in their career. He added that his generation was forced to find mentors early on because they didn’t have access to the internet to ask questions.

“This is even more important today as we spend less time in the office surrounded by things ,” Roberts said. “And know that some of these coworkers are really eager to help and that there’s no substitute for human interaction.”

Roberts said students that reach success should find ways to share it with others for their contributions. He added that giving back opens doors of opportunity for other people, which he said will also open doors for students.

“Work hard, give back, raise high and remember, it’ll all work out,” Roberts said in his speech.

John Roberts, the senior portfolio manager for Corient, an asset management firm, addresses graduates. (Daniel Heuer | Assistant Photo Editor)

Senior Anna Shah, an international business major and founder of POP! Thrift — an affordable second hand thrift store on campus — encouraged graduating students to make an impact on the world amid global problems like climate change and economic recession. She said graduates are not too young to ignite change, but are better equipped to solve the world’s challenges through agility and innovation.

“As business students, we don’t see a world of problems, we see the world of opportunities,” Shah said in her speech.

Shah said students should strive to achieve their individual “mission statements” like she did through POP! Thrift by making sustainable fashion more affordable for college students. She added that her small business has saved nine million gallons of water and 12,000 gallons of carbon dioxide.

“We are already revolutionaries for the change we wish to see in our areas of the business world,” she said in her speech.

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