MSM Graduation Day 2021 – remarkable in many ways

Thursday 16 December 2021 marked the day for MSM’s annual Graduation Ceremony. A remarkable day for our graduates, as they finally received their well-deserved degree after a long period of hard work. A period that was even more challenging than ever because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This same pandemic also put its mark on this year’s celebrations. Not only did the Covid-19 regulations and situation in the Netherlands force us to limit the festivities to the graduates of MSM’s residential programs, but the graduates could also not bring their loved ones to celebrate their achievements together.  

However, already used to the vagaries of the pandemic, the graduates positively embraced their degree moment on stage, knowing that their family and friends would be witnessing this special moment over the livestream.

In his opening speech, Mr. Meinhard Gans, CEO/Dean a.i. of MSM, recognized the challenges the graduates went through during their study period: “We realize the added complications, studying under Covid conditions and the resourcefulness and stamina it required and also, in particular for our international student community, at times being in lockdown in the Netherlands, away from family and friends and the various uncertainties that this brings to all.” Mr. Gans also expressed his hope that MSM’s Master programs provided the graduates with the core assets to unlock their leadership potential: “We trust that MSM, once more and this time under challenging conditions, has graduated a cohort of students that will become part of the new generation of leaders, able to face new, uncharted sets of leadership challenges.”

Different than other years, the graduates were addressed by speakers through video messages.

In his video address, delivered from Kenya, Dr. Kevit Desai, Principal Secretary, State Department for East African Community (EAC), addressed the current uncertain times and global challenges, and the contribution the fresh graduates can provide towards transformation and innovation: “Greater equity and the potential of inclusive development, as well as resilience is an issue of global magnitude, and I believe that within the context of your education, your research and your onward engagement in life, you will be able to create many of the solutions, that are much needed.”


Prof. dr. Rianne Letschert, President and Rector Magnificus of Maastricht University shared ‘Rianne’s Top 3 on Inclusive leadership” providing the graduates with valuable advice on how to increase diversity and inclusiveness in organizations. In the Top 3 she encouraged the graduates to invest in their personal development, to have an open mind and to admit their own bias: “We all suffer to a greater or lesser degree from implicit bias. We can only move towards more diverse and inclusive organizations, if responsible professionals – and that means all of us – recognize their biases for what they are and take steps to correct them.”

The last video message came from Hoda Mansour, Head of Business Process Intelligence - EMEA South, Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa Region at SAP. As MSM alumna, Hoda explained how the MSM MBA shaped her way of thinking. Reflecting on the qualities, she learned during her time at MSM, she encouraged the graduates: “…to be  empathic, to be multipliers in every aspect of work and life, and to create a long and lasting impact behind you, to be change agents, and an icon going above and beyond in this very busy world, to create a positive impact on your families, your colleagues, and the environment around you.”

Recognizing the graduates of MSM’s Global Partners, who could not join the ceremony due to the Covid restrictions, Master of Ceremony Oliver Olson paid tribute to them through presenting the graduates’ names on the big screen in MSM’s Conference Hall.

Live on stage, the representatives of the different programs delivered their valedictory speeches - Ms. Angela Athella on behalf of the Master in Management graduates, Clinton van der Schyff on behalf of the Full-time MBA, Evalyn van der Laak on behalf of the Executive MBA and Winnie Chelimo for the Online MBA. Common threads in all speeches were hard work, resilience, accomplishments, recognition to loved ones and fellow students, friendships, and last but not least a legitimate feeling of pride!

Dr. Stuart Dixon, Academic Director at MSM, had the honor to dismiss the Class of 2021 for the very last time with the long-awaited words: “Class of 2021, you are dismissed!”

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