University of Southern California

Graduates Gather for Spirited Commencement Ceremony
July 25, 2013 • by News at Marshall

Family, friends, faculty and department leaders gathered at Town & Gown on July 19 to mark the commencement of the 35th IBEAR (The International Business Education and Research) MBA class. This year’s class of 57 came from a diverse set of countries, as always, drawn to the high-ranking accelerated one-year MBA program to propel their careers to the next level.

Shiro Naba, senior managing director of Japan Airport Terminal Co., Ltd., and IBEAR ‘12 gave an inspiring commencement address following introductions from James G. Ellis, dean, USC Marshall, and Fernando Zapatero, vice dean for Marshall’s graduate programs.

Naba, who formerly served as president and representative director of Salvatore Ferragamo Japan and representative director/senior vice president of Daimler Chrysler Japan Co. Ltd., among other senior executive posts, gave graduates three pieces of advice.

First, Naba said “be positive, seize the opportunity and, most importantly, enjoy the ride,” before recounting the impact IBEAR had on his own career, with lessons including how to communicate with top management in the United States, how to assess needs and how to analyze a business solution and how to propose a solution to stakeholders.

“I think all these tools and many others learned here at USC,” he said, “especially the chance to join in an international consulting project, made for quite an impressive experience.”

He went on to advise cultivating and protecting the valuable network gained through the intensive MBA program.

“The IBEAR network has a huge significance in my career,” said Naba, recounting challenges he faced from the global recession and Eastern Japanese earthquake while he headed Ferragamo, which required both reducing costs and strengthening the brand.

“In this trying period, many of my friends and colleagues provided me with timely and reliable information. That information gave me the tools to overcome these two big challenges. The Internet has allowed us to obtain information quickly and easily. The amount of information is outstanding, but you have to ask yourself, as an accountable leader in the future, is all this information, good, true, reliable? It is important to be able to confirm these things,” said Naba. “I was fortunate to build a great network at IBEAR. So this school has been a big part of my life even after graduation as a source of guidance and counsel while growing my businesses. I feel a tremendous connection with this university even now.”

Lastly, he advised graduates to sharpen their senses and follow their hearts. “As you stand here tonight, you are at a starting point of an exciting journey. You may not feel it yet, but the good news is that your IBEAR education has prepared you well and you have great prospects. Your time here has helped sharpen your sense of discovery so I advise you and I ask you to take advantage of this competitive edge you have. Seize the opportunity to pursue your dreams. Take chances. Draw your own map with your heart,” he said.

The ebullient tone continued as graduates received their degrees, several carrying their young children up to the podium to share in their accomplishment.

IBEAR graduate Chinmaya Dharmadhikari MBA ‘14, who hails from India and whose new career will be in business development for the high-tech industry, said going for a second MBA after eight years of industry experience was an incredibly rewarding step for himself and his family.

“I found IBEAR an extremely intense and intellectually challenging program. The high point of the program for me was the International Business Consulting project, where I got an opportunity to work closely with the CEO of a company on a critical problem and apply all the learning of this program in a real-world global situation, with a truly diverse team of six classmates from various backgrounds and from six different countries,” said Dharmadhikari. “In the end, I got rewarded with unbelievable friendships, a worldwide network, and a new career in the United States. I am a proud IBEAR Trojan!”

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.