Louica Unger, a graduating BA (Hons) Global Management student in 2019, gave an honest and inspiring speech at the first of Regent's graduation ceremonies, reflecting on her memories at Regent's and enlightening her fellow graduands on the life lessons she'd learned along the way.
'To begin, I believe it is important to recognise that each and every graduate sitting here in these first rows today has had a very unique and exciting journey through business school that we are here to celebrate. However, we all have one thing in common - we made it to this day.
'For me, moving to London three and a half years ago was a big decision that quite frankly changed my life. During the first few months, I was lost, didn’t really know anyone and needed to get used to the fact that it takes you at least 30 minutes to get absolutely anywhere in this city. When my friends or family asked me if I could see myself living in London longer-term my answer was no, I will do these three years at University, but that will be it.
'Today, London’s home, thanks to Regent’s and the connections and friendships the University gave me. Because of its family feel, programme possibilities, amazing campus and ability to combine social and academic aspects through offering practical experiences, and be the host to top level guest speakers from a variety of industries.
'I think I speak for all graduates when I say that the life at Regent’s is incomparable. We surely were frustrated at times, annoyed and stressed. But walking through the hallways or into the quad, there would very rarely be a time when you didn’t stop and chat for at least a minute, because you’ve run into someone you know.
'Besides being the most social I could imagine an educational institution to be, something else stands out to me when I think back to the three years I spent on campus - the opportunities this city and Regent’s itself offer, which allowed me to write my own story.
'The constant buzz around London - the constant come and go of new restaurants, retailers, businesses everywhere - made me realise, that university is more than just studies and fun. It’s a chance to shape our future into what we would like it to be.
'Oscar Wilde said that “You can never be overdressed or over-educated.” The first part is nothing that we, as Regent’s students need to be told. The second part - about never being over-educated - has a little more to it.
'As if exam season wasn’t stressful enough already, we as final year students are exposed to a fast-paced and constantly changing socio-cultural as well as professional environment, which we are expected to step foot in. The sooner the better.
'Many of us came to business school with some kind of plan - whether that be a certain professional direction, a family business to go into or building a start-up. But despite what that plan was, it’s not a secret that over the past few years, the circumstances under which graduates enter working life have changed a lot, making it harder to succeed.
'In a time like today, where technology threatens human capabilities and puts increasing importance on transformational skills, we all have to prove ourselves constantly and be open minded to what life throws at us.
'At the same time, headlines paint a daunting picture of an employment wasteland, mentioning massive skill gaps and speaking of an economy in free-fall - not to mention the cloud of uncertainty around Brexit.
'All of what’s in the news every day gives us every right to question what we even went to university for. Whether or not it was enough to study for three years, if during that time other skills or subject areas have already become more important and technology took another leap into automating workflows.
'On one hand these headlines make it sound easy to get a job, because clearly, there is a need for people. But what is it that firms are looking for these days? Communication, social fluency, and critical thinking are considered to be the top three employability skills today. But these are nothing you can learn; they are skills that are developed and refined throughout a lifetime.
'Regent’s made sure to teach us the relevant soft skills around creativity, consideration and open-mindedness in Global Perspectives, Creative Behaviour and all those other courses we saw absolutely no sense in at the time. But they matter. And even more so, we did things and learnt what we can actually utilise in life like writing a business plan, do a company valuation or a strategic market analysis instead of just learn what’s in the books.
'I remember coming to London for a weekend to attend multiple open days at universities around the city, as I’m sure many of you have. But I didn’t want to be one of thousands of students without a real connection to most of my peers and teachers.
'I wanted to run in to a group of people or sit with them at lunch even if I only really know one person at the table. And many times I finished my meal, having had a variety of conversations, met new people and learnt about them and their perspectives. I wanted to be able to knock on my lecturers door at any time I had a question, which is something I know many of us value most about Regent’s.
'And these abilities, these conversations are why we can never be over-educated. The fact is that no matter what we want our future to look like, we need to be individual, independent, strong and willing to learn to make it happen. But today, we celebrate the milestone we have already accomplished.
'On behalf of all of Graduates - thank you to our teachers, our personal advisors, our dissertation supervisors and the entire BaM (Business and Management) faculty for supporting us academically and always being there to answer any questions we might have had. Thank you to the Careers and Business Relations Department, for advising and supporting us with our career choices. Thank you to the rest of the Regent’s staff for taking care of everything we would often forget is a big part of our everyday life on campus.
'Personally, I would like to thank my friends for making every day at Regent’s a great one. And most importantly, I would like to thank my mother for doing everything in her power to make my dreams come true and the rest of my family for always believing in me. Thank you to all our families and everyone here today for sharing this special moment with us.
'This leaves me with only one thing to say - Graduating class of 2019 - WE DID IT!!!'