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MBA News: Commencement Speakers Shifting Tones?

The New York Times‘ popular Deal Book e-newsletter explored the changing tone and nature of the commencement speakers invited to address top MBA programs this year. Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, a pioneer in the field of micro-credit, addressed Wharton grads this week and optimistically argued that global financial turmoil provides the ideal opportunity to reinvent business. Stephen Ross, benefactor of the Ross School at the University of Michigan, joked that he had once been fired by Bear Stearns but is now the last one standing. In the meantime, many are looking forward to JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s commencement address at Harvard this week. HBS has taken its fair share of shots for having produced many of the CEOs who caused the financial crisis, but Dimon (HBS ’82) steered JPMorgan clear of the worst of the financial turmoil.

A sampling of other MBA programs’ speakers follows:

  • Chicago Booth (faculty speaker): Raghuram G. Rajan, former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund and an advocate of reining in executive compensation
  • Columbia Business School: Robert Friedman, president of Global Entertainment at @radical.media
  • Duke-Fuqua: Harsha V. Agadi, chief executive of Church’s Chicken
  • University of California Berkeley-Haas: John Woolard, chief executive of BrightSource Energy
  • Northwestern-Kellogg: Miles D. White, chairman and chief executive of Abbott Laboratories 



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