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10/31/2023

An Extraordinary Journey Comes to an End

Participants of the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA Program celebrate receiving their degrees

In the festive ambience of the Electoral Palace in Koblenz, 43 participants of the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA Program enjoyed their graduation ceremony on Friday. A total of 48 participants from different cohorts graduated this year. After two years of hard work, completed while maintaining their professional careers, they have now received their well-deserved recognition from the leading international EMBA network of the Illinois-based Kellogg School of Management. "In times of economic uncertainty and crisis, the skills you have acquired in the EMBA program will help you to better master the challenges you face as managers," said Professor Christian Andres, Dean of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, during his speech in recognition of the graduates' achievements.

On behalf of the Kellogg network, Professor Thomas F. O'Toole, Associate Dean for Executive Programs at Northwestern University (Evanston, USA), conveyed his congratulations to the alumni via video message. He praised WHU as one of the oldest and most important partners in the international Kellogg network. Likewise, Professor Jürgen Weigand, Associate Dean Post-Experience Programs at WHU, and Hanne Mai, Program Director EMBA, congratulated the alumni on their outstanding achievement and thanked the entire EMBA team for their incredible show of commitment.

"Make sure your impact is always aligned with your intent," said Thomas Kraus, President and CEO Europe of Geodis (provider of supply chain optimization, freight forwarding, and logistics services) and this year's guest speaker.

Indeed, the alumni demonstrated their "impact" right then and there at the graduation ceremony, donating €5,500 to a project of the Lions Club Vallendar WHU. Fittingly, this money will now be invested in a school in Rwanda to give children there access to education.

The program participants then bestowed the Best Teacher Awards (EMBA) to Professor Karl Schmedders and Professor Yuval Kalish. Notably, the latter had completed his first turn as an educator for the school's joint EMBA program and was immediately well received by the students.

Another highlight took place for EMBA participants Lama Yammine-Hocks and Sebastian Nerz over the past two years: They met during the program and have now founded their fintech start-up OPTO together in Berlin.

At the end of the ceremony, and after receiving their certificates, the alumni were given the floor once again. The cohort's spokesperson Ioana Paraschiv thanked everyone who had made the extraordinary journey possible and was pleased to have met such unique characters in the program. "We strive for innovation and excellence, but always want to stay true to our motto 'low ego, high impact,'" said Paraschiv. And Wim Fonteyn, another one of this year's EMBA alumni, added, "Being surrounded by such impressive individuals, working as a team, and hearing and sharing their experiences is invaluable as an executive and helps you be a better leader." The special achievements of the EMBA alumni were then duly celebrated in the joyous atmosphere of the Electoral Palace together with friends and family.

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