CEO Wisdom, Class of 2011

John C. Cushman III
Chairman, Cushman & Wakefield
Marshall School of Business, USC
May 13

"On behalf of every-one born before 1975, I want to express my sympathy for the hand you've been dealt. Who ran up global debt imbalances and the U.S. federal debt to the tune of 100 percent of [gross domestic product]? We did. Who has to pay it off with interest? You do."

Henry Kravis
Co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR)
Columbia Business School
May 15

"Bad news and criticism deserve more attention than compliments. We live in a world of fierce competition, and arrogance will kill you."

Andrew N. Liveris
CEO, Dow Chemical (DOW)
Broad College of Business, Michigan State University
May 7
"Today, most of our top business talent seeks to be in finance and capital markets. If that's the only role we play, providing capital to other nations, sooner or later they are going to cut out the middleman. Countries can and must do both: finance and build."

Steven Ballmer
CEO, Microsoft (MSFT)
University of Southern California
May 13
"You get some success. You run into some walls. It's how tenacious you are, how irrepressible, how ultimately optimistic and tenacious you are about it that will determine your success."

Ellen Kullman
CEO, DuPont (DD)
Lehigh University
May 23

"Your career, if it is to be a successful one, will be a series of collaborations as a member of many different teams. And the secret to being a valued contributor to those teams will be your development as a lifelong learner."

Biz Stone
Co-founder, Twitter
Babson College
May 14

"Opportunity can be manufactured. Yes, you can wait around for the right set of circumstances to fall into place and then leap into action, but you can also create those sets of circumstances on your own. In so doing, you manufacture your opportunities."

Sheryl Sandberg
COO, Facebook
Barnard College
May 17
"A world where men ran half our homes and women ran half our institutions would be just a much better world."

Vikram Pandit
CEO, Citigroup (C)
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
May 15
"More ideas to choose from means more complexity—and more opportunities to choose wrongly."

James Rogers
CEO, Duke Energy (DUK)
North Carolina State University
May 14

"The best graduation gift that I—or any of us—can give you is the copyright to your own story. Begin writing it today. Write it with passion and purpose. And write it without limits."

Rex W. Tillerson
CEO, ExxonMobil (XOM)
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
May 14

"Like no generation before you, more of you—more likely all of you—will be required to consider the entire world clearly, and understand how your life and your abilities can help meet shared global challenges. We must now see the present and the future in a global context."

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