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B-School Life

B-School Commencement 2013: US Airways' Doug Parker

B-School Commencement 2013: US Airways' Doug Parker

Photograph courtesy of Vanderbilt University

W. Douglas Parker, the chairman and chief executive officer of US Airways (LCC), delivered the commencement address for Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management on May 10. Parker, a 1986 MBA graduate of Owen, used a not-very-flattering anecdote from his own commencement 27 years earlier to illustrate his main theme, which is that relationships matter.

“As simple and straightforward as ‘relationships matter’ may seem to you, there is still a perception by some that successful business leaders need to be cutthroat and heartless,” he said. “The reality is that type of behavior does not work in business. It may work for some people for a while, but eventually they will be pulled down—and pulled down hard—by the weight of unhealthy relationships.”

For the rest of Parker’s speech, click on the video below.

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Lavelle is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek.

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