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Former Yahoo!, AutoDesk CEO Shares Lessons in Leadership with 2012 Grads

by Staff Monday, May 21, 2012

"Hang with the right people, learn how to communicate, and accept failure and learn from it," Carol Bartz, former CEO of Yahoo! and AutoDesk and alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, advised graduates from the class of 2012 during spring commencement ceremonies at the Kohl Center.

Bartz spoke about her love of her alma mater as well as her experience graduating with a bachelor's degree into a tenuous job market. She exceeded her own expectations and ensured the graduates that they will be able to do the same.

A total of 863 business students earned their degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison last weekend. The graduates include 117 full-time MBA students hailing from 10 different career specializations, 62 Evening MBA students, 80 Executive MBA students, 90 Masters of Accountancy students, five Global Real Estate Master (GREM) students, and more than 504 BBA students. Another five candidates received their Ph.D. during a special hooding ceremony in Grainger Hall on Friday, May 18.

Family and friends gathered to cheer on business graduates over the weekend at the Kohl Center and at myriad other celebrations throughout campus and Grainger Hall.

Graduates' sentiments were captured from Twitter as part of the #ForeverWisconsin campaign, which encouraged the sharing of thoughts, advice, pictures, and other media on graduation day. Bernadette Long, who earned her brand and product management MBA, joined in the enthusiasm by tweeting, "Tomorrow is GRADUATION! Great day ahead. There is a whole new world waiting for me on the other side."

Senior class treasurer and commencement speaker, Katie Lorenz (BBA 2012), had the proof of numerous tweets, Facebook posts, photos, and videos when she said, "Here at Wisconsin, there is no shortage of passion!" 

A record number of full-time MBA and BBA graduates were compelled to give back to their alma mater through student-led commencement campaigns. The BBA Make a Statement Campaign yielded 44 percent participation while 100 percent of full-time MBA students pledged a gift to the Wisconsin School of Business.

"Working on the campaign was a great experience,"said Alex Neubauer (BBA 2012), chair of the Make a Statement Campaign. "The plan was to educate seniors before they graduate on the importance of giving back to the program. Once students understood what exactly private gifts mean to the WSoB in the long term, it was much easier to convince them to make a 'pledge.' To now turn around to older alumni and be able to say that over 40 percent of graduating seniors pledged to donate before they started their careers is something that we hope will truly change the culture of giving for years to come!" 

"I was thrilled by the support of my classmates throughout the Campaign," said Sarah Michael (MBA 2012), graduate in the Bolz Center for Arts Administration.  "It was clear that we understood the importance of investing in the future of the WSoB and wanted to give back as a way to celebrate our two years here. It was an honor to serve as one of the Co-Chairs and to support the school in this way."