The International University of Monaco (IUM) is thanking the inspiring words of the valedictorian student of the MSc in Finance class 2017!

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.

These opening lines of the famous novel – A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, perhaps rightly sums up my journey at the International University of Monaco.

best student of the MSc in Finance class 2017I want to take this opportunity to say – Thank You. It has been an immense pleasure to be a part of the MSc in Finance class 2017  at IUM. The road to get there was not easy and did entail the sacrifice of many people. When I did start the program, I wasn’t entirely sure of how adept I could be and match up to the skills of my fellow cohorts – people with experience in the financial services industry, people having completed a previous Master in Finance and people with the relevant skills and mindset to take up the challenge that this MSc program provided.

As I reflect on my journey of the last two years, I started the program with the objective to gain knowledge, learn different skill sets by applying myself and walk away, feeling content that I had given it my best. What I did not expect was the honor of scoring the highest GPA, in a class of brilliant minds and having the honor of being the Valedictorian for the 2017 class. (I guess I may have also made a new record of being the first Indian to be at the top of the Finance class at IUM!)

All of this would not have been possible without the excellent teaching staff we had. Professors who were there not to just simply part instructions, but had the passion and energy to take us on the journey of their subject, give us deeper insights into how the world runs and share a perspective with us that otherwise, we may not have had the fortune of. I remember at the time of my interview I mentioned – Knowledge without Perspective is Bias. This belief of mine could not have been truer through the knowledge we have received. Knowledge that can either last a few years, a few executive positions in companies and a few millions of dollars that we will earn OR rather last us a lifetime and become that guiding light. I would like to thank each and every professor who has walked in through those doors and entered our classrooms, and not just the Finance professors, but also of the other programs and faculties. I am sure that they have equally imparted knowledge and perspective with fellow cohorts which has perhaps made our interaction and discussions enriching. Therefore, a kind and warm-hearted thank you to the entire teaching and support staff at the IUM for trying to make this journey as smooth as possible.

I would also like to thank my fellow cohorts of the MSc in Finance class 2017, without whom this has not been possible. It is so important to challenge, discuss and engage each other and not just simply agree to what one says. Everyone’s capability has increased mega-fold and each has shown the spark in specific subjects, which has perhaps been one of the motivating factors for me. Abraham Lincoln once rightly said –

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.”

He always referred to action of rising with the occasion and not to the occasion, indicating that once man has had the courage to cross his fears, he raises his level and ability to challenge and conquer the difficulty in front of him. But it must not stop there and he must not lose that ability. I hope I have been able to rise with the occasion and this has been possible only because I saw the need to improve myself while studying alongside some brilliant minds.

I know a lot of us are simply going to move on and carry forward with their lives not holding to look back at this place and that is fine. It is a choice that people will make. But I also understand that this is not simply your place of work. The staff does this because they care, because it matters to them (in their own ways). Perhaps, it is their passion. And it is so important for us as students today to find our passion – to find meaning in every step we take – to outdo our present selves in the future.

There is a philosophy I believe in –

“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful”. But, this wasn’t the philosophy I worked with through the program, instead realizing that I had to give my best, which has now produced some honors in different capacities. Therefore, thank you very much for the kind honor you have bestowed upon me.

Manan Mehta, Valedictorian MSc in Finance 2017

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