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Commencement Address: Nunzio Quacquarelli, Founder of QS Quacquarelli Symonds

Commencement Address: Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder of QS Quacquarelli Symonds main image

To the class of 2020, I want to offer my congratulations to you for your educational achievements up until now. As the founder of QS Quacquarelli Symonds, it is my privilege to help provide students from around the world with the tools they need to find the right institution. And today, I would like to continue offering my support to you. Through my work with QS for the past 30 years, I have witnessed many changes in the world of higher education, but nothing has prepared me for the disruptions that I have seen as a result of the coronavirus. I can only imagine what you are feeling in this moment. The reality is that it is challenging to find a job, or the right postgraduate program, under the best circumstances. Now, under a global pandemic, these challenges must seem innumerable. You are a part of a social experiment that you did not ask for, and the path forward is not always clear.

Yet unforeseen circumstances such as these are what define us all. As you stand on the threshold of your career or higher education journey, you are in a unique position to take control of how this moment in history will define you, and how you will bring about the change you wish to see in the world after this global health crisis has abated.

Nunzio QS graduation

In times when you are feeling defeated by these challenges, I encourage you to think back to what drew you to your quest for knowledge in the first place, what passion brought you to seek answers and immerse yourself in the wider world. That part of yourself that wakes up in the morning excited to dive deeper into new concepts and ideas; the part that enjoys piecing those ideas together in a way that makes the world a little less complex and intimidating. I would also like to encourage you to have patience and think to the long term. Your educational disruption will be short lived. The benefits of your education will live with you for the rest of your life 

We are all experiencing restrictions on social interaction, but we are finding new ways to create a sense of community. New developments in remote learning, virtual meetings, and events give us new habits and new rituals that may even help us grow as individuals. Wherever you find yourself in this new, remote way of life, I encourage you to seize the opportunity to be defined by these circumstances. What you are experiencing right now is part of your story, how will you tell it? I grew up in England and worked hard to be the first person in my family to attend University, completing my degree in Economics at the University of Cambridge. I then set my sights on achieving an MBA at The Wharton School in the US.

My application to Wharton was predicated on my goal to set up my own business, supporting international students in selecting the right path to achieve their career ambitions. Wharton provided me access to professors and fellow students who helped turn my dream into a reality. QS was founded as a student project during my two years as an MBA student. More than anything else, it was the enthusiasm and support I received from my fellow students which convinced me I had a viable business concept.

Thirty years later, QS is a global leader in higher education services. QS World University Rankings guide 70 million people a year to make the right educational choices to meet their career goals. 

I am filled with gratitude to those students and professors who helped me on my journey. I know that you will find unique individuals on your path that will help you as well. Whether your next step is to enter the job market or embark on further study, I encourage you to develop a strong set of life goals and look to your fellow students to help you achieve them. You’ve achieved so much just by graduating, now it is up to you to create your story and share it with the world.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

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Written by Nunzio Q.

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