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Speeches Reflect Optimism, Reality

For the B-school graduating class of 2011, commencement is a time both to fear and embrace the future. The global problems that graduates are inheriting are bigger than ever. So too, are the potential opportunities.This year's crop of commencement speakers touch on both themes. John Cushman III, chairman of the commercial real estate powerhouse Cushman & Wakefield, reminded MBAs at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business about the federal debt and the dire condition of Social Security.

Far more common were sentiments such as those expressed by Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, who told undergraduates at Babson to manufacture their own opportunities and create their own destinies.

What follows are excerpts from recent business school commencement addresses from figures in the fields of business and government, including Vikram Pandit, chief executive officer of Citigroup (C), Bob McDonald, CEO of Procter & Gamble (PG), and Henry R. Kravis, founding partner of KKR (KKR).
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