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What I Learned From 27 Commencement Speeches

What I Learned From 27 Commencement Speeches
Illustration by 731

When he was about to speak at a graduation ceremony at the Wharton School’s executive MBA program, California gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari asked his staff if they could remember the speeches at their graduations. Almost none could. “I hope five years from now or 10 years from now, maybe I’ll leave you with something you remember,” he told the new MBAs.

If retaining one commencement speech is a challenge, maybe you have to consume them in bulk to fully appreciate their impact. Over the last three days, I watched, read, and listened to more than two dozen (mostly) business school commencement speeches to see what the future leaders of the corporate world might be missing.