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Graduation Reflection Speech by Samantha Iris B. Ui, MBA

Sam Ui


09 December 2018


Reflection Speech

Samantha B. UI, MBA Regis Program


Our guest of honor and Commencement Speaker Mr. Manolito T. Tayag;

Mr. Ernesto Tanmantiong, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ateneo de Manila University;

Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin of the Society of Jesus, President of the Ateneo de Manila University;

Dr Maria Luz Vilches, Vice President for the Loyola Schools;

Dean Rodolfo Ang of the Graduate School of Business;

Dean Manuel Dayrit of the School of Medicine;

Dean Ronald Mendoza of the School of Government;

Mr. Rey Reyes, Registrar of the Ateneo Professional Schools;

AGSB Administrators, Faculty and Staff, honored guests, and my fellow graduates:

Good afternoon!

There are two reasons why I found myself applying for an MBA program. The first is the constant reminder from my mother that I am the only “undergraduate” in the family. The second reason being I initially wanted to take the CFA certification exams, but a month into studying for the first exam, my mother told me to just take my MBA as I may not be able to pass the CFA as it required me to study on my own.

So why did I choose Ateneo? I did not want to leave my job just to pursue my MBA. That was one thing I was very adamant about. Other schools were either too far or too time-consuming which left me with two choices – La Salle or Ateneo? Tough choice but being able to speak to the former AGSB registrar, Mr. Jayjay Agtarap, and knowing Dean Rudy Ang as the Dean of Ateneo School of Management during my time in Loyola helped humanize AGSB for me.

I was skeptical at first, I thought that this MBA would just be a repeat of college but with a higher degree. Beyond this, some would question the purpose of going to school and paying thousands per term when there are so many e-books, self-help books, and other resources available all over the internet.  But I kept an open mind as Dean Rudy Ang shared something that struck me during the orientation seminar in AGSB. Dean Ang told us that there are some things you just cannot not learn from books as you learn it from the people in your classes.

The AGSB professors I encountered throughout my stay were seasoned professionals in their own industries. They taught us lessons and insights based on actual experience and real-life situations – things we would not have been able to learn just by reading books. Our professors – who sit with us here today – It is their knowledge, patience, and unselfishness that provide us the medium to grow.

Professor Balgos is one example. Rather than merely having us learn about leadership from books, he wanted to nurture the leaders in each of his students during the semester. By the end of 8 weeks, he wanted us to realize why we are who we are and make us aware of our passion. Upon finding this passion, he further pushed us to think of how this all goes together, to find our own purpose. While very short, this had a tremendous impact on me and his students, as he kept reminding us to find our calling and to use this to make a difference. I hope your MBA journey helped you discover your passion and with this opened your eyes to your own purpose and calling.

With Professor Ante, while his subject was marked as the hardest subject (other than Strama), he always tried to lighten the stress and tension in the class.  Whenever you ask him a question be it Quanti-related or not, first thing he will ask you is “ano ba ang objective mo?” He always focused on the end goal. He made sure to always challenge his students and of course kept on reminding us of our mission to foster nation building, after all, we are Ateneans. Knowing your passion and calling, we must always keep this as our objective in life, and let this be our driving reason, how to put these together to find your purpose and how to make a difference and foster nation building.

These were just some of the lessons that have profoundly contributed to my learning in AGSB. But it was not only the professors who made the experience richer. My classmates also made the 3 years worthwhile. A group of guys that started out as my Infotech groupmates when they decided to be nice and adopt me as I did not have a group remain to be my support system even beyond MBA. While all very different in terms of career, they remain to be my goons who each share their time, knowledge and experiences.

I cannot imagine going through Leader without our classmates sharing a part of themselves every session to provide more concrete examples and lessons. Each person opened up their lives and shared their own passion and purpose, helping us further realize our own.  Learning from each person helped me further grow into the person I am today. This is something books cannot replicate.

Quanti would not have been the same without the classmates who always made sure to provide more tangible applications on how the models taught can be used in real-life. How each model can be applied to different industries is something that made the lessons more understandable. Also, what started out as an assigned group, coupled with the weekly reports and requirements plus the final project forced us to spend road trips, days, and sleepless nights together just to get our project completed. Other than the discipline to be able to focus on completing our projects in a short span of time, the friendship built is something that I am very grateful for.

I hope that we all took the extra step to make this journey worthwhile by meeting people, making friends, listening to what each one has to share, and most importantly helping each other out. It is through these people, our professors, classmates, AGSB administrators and staff, that we truly are able to magnify our learning professionally and personally. This Jesuit education teaches us to be men and women for others – more than an Ateneo tagline, I see this deeply fulfilled in AGSB in how we learn from each other.   I hope that this education pushes us to open our eyes to what is going on around us, and to become the man or woman for others this institution hopes us to become. I hope we all have it in our minds to actually act on the call that our Leadership classes and interactions with the people throughout tried to make us realize.

To my AGSB classmates, friends, and goons, who helped make this journey worthwhile, thank you for sharing your time and experiences. Thank you for being my support system throughout.

To the AGSB professors, Professor Lansang, Aracid, Ang, Palo, Consunji, Ng, Mina, Tanchangco, de Ungria, Bulaong, and Surtida, as well as the other professors here, thank you for continuing to impart your knowledge and experiences with your students, and for taking time to be part of our MBA journey. Thank you as well for welcoming me into the AGSB faculty.

To Professor Mars Balgos, thank you for reminding me and the rest of your students of the importance of introspection and finding our passion. Thank you for disturbing us and reminding us that we all have a purpose and a mission as a man or woman for others.

To my AGSB mentor, Professor Ralph Ante, thank you for the lesson of simplifying everything and focusing on keeping in mind our main objective, and always reminding us of the importance of fostering Nation Building. Also, thank you for giving me the chance to join the AGSB faculty.  Thank you to my DOIT colleagues who have warmly welcomed me into the group and further provide support.

To my sister, thank you for being the diligent achiever you are as you in a way pushed me because I had big shoes to fill as the younger “undergraduate” child. To my husband, thank you for supporting me throughout my MBA journey, and for being my Strama paper editor. To my mother, thank you because I will not be here in front of the graduating class of 2018 if you believed that I would be able to pass the CFA exams. Thank you for ensuring that I push myself and thank you for inspiring me to teach just like you do. More importantly, thank you for being very strong in your advocacy as seen in your volunteer work in the Child Protection Network. You are my constant reminder that I too need to find my purpose in life, and to help in my own way and give back.

I would not be here today without the support of the people throughout this MBA journey. I am a product of all the effort, knowledge, and time that these people entrusted to me. We all have a support system that we sometimes take for granted – our parents, siblings, friends, classmates, professors, and mentors – I hope we all take time to thank them that we are here today. Looking at the past 3 years, the journey would not have been complete without the people who shared themselves with us and enriched our classes with their own experiences. It’s the people you meet and come across that make the MBA worth it as e-books and Youtube cannot replicate what you learn from each person you meet along the way.

As Dean Ang told the graduating batch yesterday during the rehearsal, as our time in AGSB is already over, now it’s time to make the Ateneo proud of us. May we, armed with our brand-new MBA titles and the journey we went through, make a positive difference in this world and find a way to serve as a man or woman for others.



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