Dear class of 2021,
My name is Sharon Sun. I am the Trade Policy Economist at Canada West Foundation and it’s an honour to speak to you at your graduation today as a proud alumnus of UPF Barcelona School of Management.
Looking back in my journey since graduating from the international business program, I want to share three takeaways:
Don’t be afraid to create your own opportunities and pursue your goals!
Eight years ago, I approached Mercè (our Director of MSC IB) with the idea of the HultPrize business competition. At the time, I didn’t know what to expect since it was something the program has never done before, and it was literally my first day Barcelona – so not only did I not have a team to do this business competition, I didn’t know anybody. But I knew I wanted to do this and so I created my own opportunity. I presented the business competition and my idea in front of the faculty and the school. I presented my idea in front of my class in hope to find teammates that would join me.
To my surprise, our school not only supported our participation, it provided us with a full funding to do so. I was proud to represent our school when we presented our business plan in front of investors from all around the world at the regional finals in Dubai. I am ever so grateful for the networks and connections I’ve made and that I am still in touch with today, and I would not have done this without BSM.
So, Create your own opportunities and pursue your goals.
Remember to leverage your experiences at UPF-BSM
When I was graduating from the program 7 years ago today, I was asked where I saw myself in the next 5-10 years. And I said that I wanted to get my PHD. Here I am today, approaching the end of my PHD in international trade policy on China in Ottawa, Canada. In addition to my position as Trade Policy Economist at Canada West Foundation, a policy think tank located in Calgary, I became the youngest Distinguish Fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation in Vancouver, where I conduct trade-related research to help inform, bridge and facilitate trade between North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific.
IT was my experiences at UPF-BSM that led me to my career path today. By leveraging the international experiences gained through the program, by leverage the business analytics experiences I’ve gained from my internship with the Chamber of Commerce in Belgium as well as working in the private sector, it paved my path to pursuing what I love to do – providing trade and economic research in order to help more businesses, industries and governments to better understand China and the Asia Pacific market.
So, remember to leverage the knowledge you’ve gained at BSM, the challenges you’ve overcome – especially during this unusual covid pandemic, and the skills you’ve developed to help pave your way forward in your career.
Lastly, I want to welcome you to the alumni family.
As of today, you become part of a group, a group that is much more than just people who studied together, but rather a vast group of professionals, of resources, of expertise, of people that carries the values of this school with pride.
So don’t be a stranger. Maintain your networks and keep your connections here at UPF. We are here for you. I found that the people here will always be an abundance of resources for you to tap into. You may not know this now or find this right away, but you will find yourself connecting with alumni and the UPF-BSM network no matter which part of the world you will be in.
Congratulations to the class of 2021 and best of luck in your new ventures!
With that, I’d like to give the floor to our former Dean of UPF Barcelona School of Management and the new rector of Pompeu Fabra University, Professor Oriol Amat.