As I begin to write this, I know I should be doing a hundred other things. At least. I should be studying for my accounting final tomorrow, writing the marketing paper that is due on Sunday, or even sleeping. But after the last class of this semester, I feel compelled to write a tribute to the moment I shared with my classmates today.
Today, we witnessed the retirement of a remarkable professor who taught thousands of students at Berkeley over the last two decades. He has become part of the institution and is remembered by every alumnus I have ever spoken to. In typical Haas fashion, we sent him on his way with standing ovations, a student singing his favorite song, and lots of heartfelt speeches. It was one of the defining moments of my first semester and I will remember it for the rest of my days.
In a striking coincidence, that class was also the last for my cohort. For the last few months, I have spent hours each week with the same sixty people developing relationships, forming bonds, and sharing the classroom experience. We have had more than a few great moments. I feel a real connection with this group and sadly, we’ll never all be in the same classroom again. After our professor left the room for the last time, we had our own farewell ceremony for the Oski cohort. It was a great way to end the semester, and it was so typical of us. It couldn’t have ended any other way.
These words do a poor job of conveying our experience at Haas. Together we’ve survived midterms and group projects while letting loose at Cohort Olympics, consumption functions, and a dozen other events. We’ve faced enormous stress, attained amazing success, and have been humbled on occasion. Together we’ve laughed, cried, and celebrated this experience we share. When you come to Haas, you become part of a wonderful, vibrant community. You’ll learn life lessons, form friendships that will last, and embrace new ideals. After two years, you’ll leave Haas a changed person.
Today, I witnessed the end of a wonderful teaching career. Professor Glazer impacted the lives of thousands and enjoyed every single moment of it. He felt no greater joy than imparting knowledge on a generation of business leaders, and he left us with words of wisdom and encouragement. But in a way, we’ve all been teachers this semester. We teach each other by relating past experiences, collaborating on tough projects, and pursuing mutual interests in extracurricular clubs. I thank our professors for all they’ve done this semester, but I also want to say thank you to my classmates.
As our time as a class comes to a close this semester, I realize that we’ve all been changed by this experience we share. I’m sad that I’ve completed almost a quarter of my MBA experience, but I really shouldn’t be. These last few months have been glorious.