Campus - 28.03.2014 - 00:00 

401 Master’s degrees awarded

On 29 March 2014, 401 graduates were awarded the degree of a Master of Arts (M.A. HSG) at the University of St.Gallen. President Thomas Bieger spoke about how decisions can be made with discretion.


29 March 2014. On the occasion of the Masters' Graduation Day, a total of 401graduates received their degree certificates:

  • 39 in International Affairs and Governance,
  • 29 in Law,
  • 16 in Law and Economics,
  • 83 in Banking and Finance,
  • 45 in Business Innovation,
  • 8 in Management, Organization Studies and Cultural Theory,
  • 68 in Marketing, Service and Communication Management,
  • 7 in Quantitative Economics and Finance,
  • 83 in Accounting and Finance,
  • 13 in Strategy and International Management,
  • 3 in Business Management,
  • 7 in Economics.

Decision-making with discretion

Early this year, Switzerland was moved by the story of Police Captain Grüniger, who contrary to the rules and regulations applicable in those days enabled up to 3,600 Jews to enter Switzerland and thus to survive in the run-up to the Second World War. As a business economist, President Thomas Bieger was interested in the question of decision-making as such: When do we ignore given decision-making patterns? What are the prerequisites for discretionary decision-making, and when should such decisions be made?

"Specialists and executives constantly face decisions," said Bieger. By using their discretion, specialists and executives create value. Bieger quoted the example of a bond that was downgraded by a rating agency. A routine decision to ensure that the quotas of risky investment categories would not be exceeded would be to sell the bond – at a financial loss. A discretionary decision would be to analyse the general conditions and development potential of the bond and then, on the strength of this, decide whether to hold the bond to maturity or to outsource it.

Recognising scope for action
The fact that today, companies face international competition and react to disturbances within seconds, would confront graduates with great challenges: flexibility would be required to be able to cope with complexity. At the same time, there were more and more rules and regulations that would aggravate flexible action. Today's generation found it more difficult than earlier generations to use discretion.

Bieger gave the graduates a piece of advice as to how to create value in today's complex and fast changing world: "Use your competencies to identify your elbow-room and to exploit your scope for discretion."

Attractive social programme

Before the degree certificates were handed out, HSG Alumni President Urs Landolf welcomed the graduates. The musical background to the ceremony was provided by Malcolm Green, who also added his voice to the traditional Gaudeamus igitur. Before or after the official ceremony, guests were able to join a guided tour of the works of art on campus or have themselves photographed – with or without a gown – by photographer Hannes Thalmann. By way of a souvenir, the HSG Shop stand offered "Class of 2014" shirts. Sustenance was provided by the ad[hoc] coffee bar and by the bratwurst stand of Stiftung Suchthilfe St.Gallen. In the evening, HSG Alumni staged their traditional graduation party in St.Gallen.

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