Campus - 09.10.2023 - 10:00 

HSG Master's Celebration: Ambition as Inner Drive

President Prof. Dr. Bernhard Ehrenzeller explained why being ambitious in a healthy sense brought the graduates to their Master's degrees in his speech on the topic of "Ambition." On Saturday, October 7, 2023, 602 graduates received their Master of Arts (M.A. HSG) at the University of St.Gallen.
On October 7, 2023, 602 graduates received their Master of Arts (M.A. HSG) at the University of St.Gallen. President Prof. Dr. Bernhard Ehrenzeller held his speech on the topic of "Ambition."

The graduates received their Master's diplomas in the following majors:

  • 103 in Business Innovation (MBI),
  • 64 in Business Management (MUG),
  • 23 in Strategy and International Management (SIM),
  • 58 in Banking and Finance (MBF),
  • 123 in Accounting and Finance (MaccFin), and 7 in Accounting & Corporate Finance (MACFin),
  • 18 in Management, Organization, and Culture (MOK),
  • 11 in Economics (MEcon),
  • 13 in Quantitative Economics and Finance (MiQE/F),
  • 49 in Law (MLaw),
  • 29 in Law and Economics (MLE),
  • 15 in International Law (MIL),
  • 1 in Marketing, Services, and Communication Management (MCS), and 50 in Marketing Management (MiMM),
  • 37 in International Affairs and Governance (MIA),
  • 1 first student in Computer Science (MCS),
  • also, 4 additional education in Business Education.

Speech by President Bernhard Ehrenzeller

Graduates and guests in the Olma Hall

Musical accompaniment by RE Moesli

"The best is yet to come," greeted President Prof. Dr. Bernhard Ehrenzeller the latest graduates of St.Gallen. "You can be proud of what you have achieved and look forward to what's to come." And until graduation, there have surely been moments when the graduates have doubted whether they would make it: "from the hurdles found in their basic studies that sometimes seemed insurmountable, to the not-so-easy decision to pursue a Master's degree, to the numerous exams and papers of the program, and finally to the Master's thesis, for which you had to first find a topic, then a supervisor, and finally the energy to put down the desired forty to fifty pages on paper," the president reminded those present.

On Strengths That Serve Us

For a successful completion of their studies, graduates needed various strengths: teamwork, responsibility, reliability, resilience, tolerance for frustration, and the willingness to go the famous "extra mile" in peak times.

But one trait is often avoided by practically all applicants – "I am sure that you are all ambitious," emphasized Eherenzeller. It's not surprising that this trait is not listed because the term has a negative connotation, especially in the German language. "Ambition is composed of the terms honour and greed." This is how the Italian Renaissance philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli described the character trait of ambition in his poem "Dell'ambizione" as a lowly force, focused only on self-interest.

"We all want recognition, but the question is, what do we want it for?" continued the president. "Ambition that aims only to 'be the first' and takes away the joy of what has been achieved and the ability to rejoice in it – such ambition is not only unhealthy but also doesn't move us forward."

On Ambition That Propels Us Forward

Conversely, ambition directed toward a noble goal, "that drives us, that makes us fair competitors but also motivating team players, the kind of ambition that you should not hide but proudly embrace," the rector encouraged the graduates.

President Bernhard Ehrenzeller found the best advice in the farewell speech of the first black judge at the United Nations Supreme Court. When Thurgood Marshall was asked how he wanted to be remembered in his retirement, he modestly replied, "He did what he could with what he had." Ehrenzeller encouraged the graduates to make this their motto as well: "I have done what I could with what I had."

Images: Lautenschlager GmbH