Jan Novotny’s ‘Alumni Speech’ at the 2014 Graduation Gala

Dear fresh graduates, students, professors, honourable guests and alumni, welcome at the second Graduation Gala at our beautiful Schebek Palace.

This is a second year, we all meet here and we can proudly say we have all together established an amazing tradition at CERGE-EI. This event gives us an opportunity to celebrate fresh graduates, for some of you to get a new push to keep the pace towards your future graduation, and for some of us time to recall our memories, when we were graduating. We can just envy that the Graduation Gala was not already back in our times, when we were receiving our diplomas.

With graduation, part of the life ends but a completely new and exciting part just starts. What I have seen around me, many of us started to explore new countries, competing on new markets, exploring completely unimaginable career paths full of uncertainty. After the graduation, we have gone all over the world. Colleagues I was meeting in hallways ended up in the United States, various countries in Europe and even in Asia or Africa. In my case, I got to Cass Business School in London. London is a terribly big city.

I do not have to write a thesis in Game Theory to understand that it takes teamwork and cooperation to survive anywhere in life. Therefore, one of the first things, I have asked myself, was about CERGE-EI alumni in London. It would be great to meet in such a big city someone who shares common memories. I requested a list of alumni abroad and suddenly realized that really a huge community of CERGE-EI people is abroad. Yes, I was told that before, but during those times I realized that. I immediately tried to approach all of them in London and surroundings and go with most of them for a coffee or beer. One of the alumni even lives few blocks from me. It is a quite unlikely you found a fellow CERGE-EI alumni nearby, isn’t it?

This was actually a main driver behind our CERGE-EI alumni meeting in London. To truly realize how many alumni are around you no matter where you are.  It was really exciting to meet those who graduated during different times at one place, to compare what remained the same and what changed over time. We enjoyed really great time there and we already plan another meeting this year again.

Having events like Gala or our London alumni meeting stresses the fact that we should not forget there maybe alumni close around you where ever you are. If you get after you graduation to a new place, I encourage you to reach all alumni nearby. Do not just try to search for people you know, go for everyone from CERGE-EI community. And, more importantly, if anyone connects to you, respond. We are a huge community out there and we should know about each other much better.

Thank you

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