Rector’s Remarks
ADA University School of Business
January 28, 2017
Large Auditorium

Dear graduates,
Honored guests,
Families and friends,
Welcome to the 2nd Commencement Ceremony at ADA University’s School of Business. 
Thanks to you, dear graduates, today our hearts are filling with warmth and pride on this January afternoon,  as we all join in congratulating you on your accomplishments.  We all wish you good luck wherever life may take you next.
ADA is one of those unique places, where the student’s experiences are shaped not just by classes they take, but by the entire University community.
Ours is a community of academic excellence, integrity, diversity and collaboration, which empowers individuals to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of new ideas.
That is why, when we admit our students, we take in those, who are ready to polish their talents by working side-by-side with peers, who have the same aspirations –to best serve their country and their communities. Looking at you today, I am realizing that we did a good job from day one. And part of this credit goes to our master of ceremony Gunay Ziyadova and her admission team.
When we started ADA as an educational institution our goal was precisely that- to aspire! Particularly, in the School of Business, we did not want this to be a place where young people would come just to master their skills of management. But rather, take them through a personal transformation. Cultivate them into innovative global leaders with a set of values and principles.  
 Managing this mission may sound like a tall order. But, I believe, we have done it.  And we’ve done it together with you. Your determination and perseverance to complete this academic journey no matter how hard it got at times, deserves a special recognition.
Last year, after the inaugural commencement of the School of Business, I remember, some graduates approaching me to thank the University for their time here. One of those voiced sentiments was  “My life is divided into two parts now: prior to ADA and post-ADA”.  I only hope that this cohort will have similar sentiments about their experience at ADA.
This moment today also celebrates your readiness to have a positive impact on the organizations you will manage. Your work will directly affect the communities you serve.  As Azerbaijan goes through the current economic rediscovery, the likes of ADA graduates will be much in demand. Young people with fresh perspectives and new ideas, who will be able to change conventional approaches. Sometimes, even a small technical interference can affect the entire industry. For example, like we witnessed last summer: an obviously needed adjustment- easing visa procedures –brought a notably bigger tourist stream to Baku from the surrounding countries, especially  the Gulf region.
The sustainable development the country is trying to achieve through a strategic roadmap it has adopted will require more than structural, monetary and financial reforms. It will require people with high skills and equally high sense of responsibility and ethics to shape the business environment. We very much hope that 70 of you, who will march shortly onto this stage, will lead the ranks of those people.
I understand, that in the short-term you may all have your goals right now. But I would like to state, that in the long run, all of you have a role to play in building a stronger and more prosperous Azerbaijan. As you enter the new page of your professional lives, please, remember, that you are a part of the mission to write the history of this country. I want you to pursue it with a sense of hope and spirit. Because this is what true leaders do—they not only spark hope in themselves, they instill hope in others.
Our commencement speaker today, Dr. Emin Huseynov is also alumnus of ADA. It is true, he did not graduate from our academic program. But he is a graduate of our community of values and principles. We are happy that he embodies those values while leading important efforts in the economic transition of this country.
Next to me on the stage is a group of faculty, who have been your teachers, coaches, mentors, study trip companions, career advisors, and more. They are a big part of why ADA has turned into a center of excellence in teaching and learning. I would ask Dean Delener and the Faculty to stand so that your students can express their appreciation to you.
Dear graduates, each of you have been supported by family and friends. They were there along the entire ADA journey giving encouragement, easing stress, adding validation, and, sometimes financial support too. Diplomas may have your names down. But, I think, the names of those who have supported you along the way also belong there.
I also would like to convey my special gratitude and greetings to our partner school in Netherlands - Maastricht School of Management- and its representative Ms. Katalin Kovacs, the Associate Dean of Global Education programs, who is here today to join our celebration.
We are grateful for the continued support the Executive MBA program receives from the government of President Aliyev. This program has a great contribution to the training of high skilled managers for the modern economy of  Azerbaijan.
Before I announce the important part of this afternoon, I want to leave you with this final thought. May be in no other field people are so driven toward tangible results than in business. Life may look like a sprint in pursuit of gains and profits.  But, I encourage you to consider it as a marathon, not a sprint. Prepare yourself for a long journey and keep investing in your self-knowledge and capabilities – both professional and personal – so that you are increasingly equipped for many years ahead.
Stay connected to each other and stay connected to us.
You take a part of us with you, as you embark upon new endeavors and we keep a part of you with us in our enriched community.
Thank you for making ADA University your home, your passion and your success story!
And now by the power vested in me, I hereby declare Class of MBA and Executive MBA 2016 graduated!