A Farewell… and a Welcome!
This is my official goodbye as an Admissions Intern. I’m about to embark on a fairly big trip. In about two hours I’ll be on my way to Rwanda to start my new job as Co-Director of the Babson Rwanda Entrepreneurship Center. I’m taking a leap as an entrepreneur, as a brother, as a son and as a friend. The jump to the real world has reminded me of a speech I wrote last spring. I know it’s late but I wanted to share it with the class of 2012 as a bit of a farewell and to the class of 2016 as a bit of a welcome.
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In the Babson Admissions office a framed quote chronicles the words of George W. Coleman, words that he shared with the class of 1928, words I would like to share with you. President Coleman said:
“You are going to make a living. You are not likely to forget that. At the very same time you will be making a life. Very likely you may overlook that. You are bent upon business. What you really want is life. Business is only a means to that end. Make your business serve life: your life, the other fellow’s life, the life of society, and you will not only find the wherewithal to live, but you will also find life worth living.”
I came to Babson looking to make a living, but instead I found the inspiration to make a life. Coming in I thought that FME represented the first stop on the road to riches (and it did for Dinesh Whadwani) but looking back now I see that it was actually our first chance at failure. It allowed us to try our hands at balancing the personal and the professional and showed us that some people had no interest in separating the two. More importantly it helped us to realize that there was more to life than “the job” of running a business. Although some of us were very successful (SlickStick), the majority of us failed to live up to our own expectations in FME. But that first failure gave us confidence in ourselves. It showed us that we could bounce back from a loss and because of that we could give everything we had in the hopes that our next endeavors would end in success. This confidence has led to several world class entrepreneurs, a number of NEWMAC championships, and more than a few amazing events and performances here at Babson.
But FME wasn’t only our first opportunity to fail. It was also our first chance to build a community. By this time we’ve all realized that there is something that creates a spark in us—a passion that if we are lucky we can grow into a flame that serves as a guiding light that helps us set a course through life. Whether that spark is the arts, athletics, starting businesses, or serving others it’s likely that we learned about it as part of one of Babson’s many communities. Together with like-minded individuals we worked to build a BDE show, a musical production like RENT, or a special interest tower like ONE. It is through these experiences that we learned about our strengths and weaknesses, and more importantly we learned to couple our strengths with those of others in order to achieve our common goals and create something bigger than ourselves. It is through these communities that we begin to see what value we can provide to others and help to show them their own significance.
Not only do these communities help us to develop a sense of self, but they also help us to develop unforgettable memories—memories of late nights studying for the FME exam, Thursday nights chatting in Reynolds, endless nights rehearsing in Sorenson, and unforgettable nights celebrating in the suites. We must cherish these memories because they remind us that what people remember isn’t what you had or what you gave; it’s the way you made them feel. It’s the smiles you offered and inspired, the laughter you shared, and the experiences you provided.
I’ll always remember two groups of people, my graduating class in high school and Babson’s class of 2012. I’ll remember them because we grew up together; I’ll remember all of you because you’ve helped me to grow more in these four short years than I had in the previous 18. I’ll also remember them because they voted me “most likely to change the world”, a superlative I couldn’t see myself fulfilling and more importantly, a superlative I felt I was undeserving of. At the time I wanted to be most likely to succeed or most involved, that’s probably why I chose Babson. Thinking back on it now I think of the John Irving quote “Sometimes when we are labeled, when we are branded, our brand becomes our calling”. Whether or not I will be able to live up to the lofty goal my class set for me four years ago is unknown but I can say that I’m going to try. Similarly, we need to remember that as graduates of Babson College (and newly inducted members of the Babson family), we’ve also been branded. This is why I ask you to accept the label of entrepreneurs as a challenge. A challenge to not only be a leader, but to provide economic and social value—everywhere; for your neighbors and for complete strangers; for your family, friends, and most importantly for yourselves. It’s not very likely that I’ll change the world. But after four years here I know that if we leave Babson embracing the label we’ve been given. If we view the task of creating not only economic, but social value as our calling, we’ll change the world. So I ask you today, not to make your living by fulfilling a job description but instead by creating value—everywhere and for everyone. I ask you to do this so that you can not only make a living, but more importantly, make a life.
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Class of 2012- I can’t wait to see the impact you all have on the world. I wish I could be at Back to Babson to see everyone again! Make sure to have a few at the Harp for Haya and me. Also does anyone remember this?
Class of 2016- Make sure to take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way over the next four years. Don’t worry, you’ll make those memories I talked about soon. I can’t wait to see the way that you help to shape Babson; as Babson helps to define you.
If you’re interested in following Haya and me during our time in Rwanda follow us on Twitter: @halzaid16 and @RWinRWanda