As I get ready to walk across the stage later today, I feel honored and privileged to be a member of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School’s graduating class of 2019.
While today is all about looking to the future, think back to the time when you were applying to Johns Hopkins. What were you looking for? A second chance? An opportunity to grow personally and professionally? A career change? A chance to step out of your comfort zone? A new experience? Your life and decisions systematically led you to that monumental decision. Now imagine if you had done things a little differently. Imagine that instead of pursuing a graduate degree, you had taken that job offer or internship, or stayed at your old job, then all these people may still be strangers. Talk about fate, huh.
For years, my life emulated a cloud’s journey. I was floating along, going wherever the breeze took me. But fate had other plans. An untimely death set me on a path of self-discovery. A field change from engineering to business and a brutal business school environment resulted in three years of chaos and soul searching. My junior year of undergraduate study gave me hope in finding a career path, but my journey was far from over. Not content with the ceiling that my two years of professional experience had resulted in, I decided to venture into very unfamiliar territory to my immediate family by pursuing a graduate degree abroad in the United States. For my first flight, which was over 26 hours, I was flying to live alone for the first time.
What followed was a year of immense learning and growth through Carey’s academics and professional network. Beyond the professional development, however, Carey has propelled me forward by giving me a crash course in adulting. The journey was full of culture shocks, from the tipping culture to the drinking culture to business shops closing down at around nine, to the biggest shock of them all, the food. Whenever one of my colleagues asks me how we celebrate some of the festivals in Pakistan, my answer always is, we just hang out and eat. Given this fervor for food, moving to the U.S. made me miss those Halwa Puri’s on Sunday mornings, those Kheers at Eid and those Niharis and Haleems at celebrations. And if you are wondering what those are, perhaps we can discuss them later over a plate of Biyani and some sweet Gulab Jammans.
My mentor used to advise me to be patient whenever I was faced with internal dilemmas. Well, thanks to this year of experience, I have definitely developed patience and comfort with ambiguity. The Carey community, with its tremendous support system, has been instrumental in helping me achieve this.
I want to thank the admissions committee whose job is often thankless, for taking a chance on us.
Most importantly, I want to thank Carey for restoring my faith in business schools. My previous business school experience painted a grim picture of the business world as a world filled with competitiveness, selfishness, and hypocrisy. Carey has changed all that. Never in my life have I met more people who have so much trouble saying no, who are willing to grow collectively rather than by putting someone down, and who do all of this with a big smile on their faces. I have never been more comfortable and happier visiting a career coach or reaching out to alumni or asking for help from my classmates. Thank you, Carey, for fostering an environment of collaboration, something that is often taken for granted. For creating an environment that is instrumental in creating leaders of the future
As I look back at my time at Carey Business School, I am taken over by a strong sense of nostalgia. The experiences, friendships, the school itself, the food, maybe not the weather, I’ll miss them all. I wish I had one more year here. I wish that we continue to learn and grow. I wish that we stay in touch. I wish that all of us keep the spirit of collaboration. I wish that years from now when a Carey student reaches out to us, we won’t hesitate to help. I wish that we carry forward the spirit of business with humanity in mind. I wish.
Best of luck!