Manol Peykov (’95, EMBA ’08): Commencement Speech 2008

May 12, 2023
Manol Peykov (’95, EMBA ’08): Commencement Speech 2008

The AUBG EMBA Class of 2008 student commencement speaker was Manol Peykov from Bulgaria. Read his speech below:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

We live in the Age of Information. There’s no way of knowing what sort of knowledge will come in handy tomorrow or the day after.

We live in eccentric and eclectic times. In an age when poets turn to businessmen and businessmen become poets (though less frequently).

We live in irreverent times. I recently found out that someone had made William Wordsworth’s famous poem “The Daffodils” into a rap song.

Can you imagine? The beautiful 19th-century verses recited to a hip-hop rhythm?

Well, I hope you can. For what I – a poet turned businessman – have prepared for you today is equally irreverent. It’s that selfsame poem; or more precisely, the music of the words is the same, but I’ve altered the libretto. This “new version” is dedicated to Cohort 6., which – for those of you who do not know – is the official name of my graduating EMBA class.

I beg you to listen with condescension.

(poem follows:)

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I joined a crowd,
That’s better known as Cohort 6.
We worked in groups of twos and threes,
And fours – as many as you please.

Continuous as the graphs that climb
The book of Alf and Jan, no less
Was our trip through space and time
Along the margin of success:
Twelve thousand lost I at a glance.
For what? For corporate finance?

John Groth is great, no doubt, but then
The only difference between
The littlest and the greatest man
Are but the members of his team.
We fought, and laughed – and little thought
What wealth this MBA to us had brought:

For oft, when on my desk I sit
And then a problem blocks my view,
And I am not prepared for it –
Then I remember one of you.
And then – behold! – the problem’s fixed,
For I have danced with Cohort 6.

Dear cohort mates, you are a great bunch and I’d like to thank you for being by my side, for helping me be a better man, and for carrying the fire with dignity.

Ladies and gentlemen, here and now, I’d like to make a confession. I have to admit that in my days as an undergraduate student here, I never missed an opportunity to criticize AUBG’s clueless administrators and inept policies. More than one former president and provost has enjoyed the fortitude of my arguments and the unpleasantness of my company on every imaginable committee. I was at the forefront of every student protest and was one of the instigators of the first – and perhaps the only – student strike in the history of that school.

Notwithstanding, when it came to choosing a graduate program twelve years later, I didn’t hesitate for a second.

As the graduate program unfolded I realized not without astonishment how attached I am to that school. I’m attached to it because it has integrity. I’m attached to it because it respects you as a human being. I’m attached to it because it cares.

This toga party that we have here today reminds me of another one that took place some thirteen years ago on that same square. I look back and I realize that my relationship with AUBG has been a veritable love affair. And I finally have an explanation for my ungodly behavior all those years ago. AUBG cared for me, and I cared back in the best way I could. All the criticisms, all the collisions, and all the battles I fought were acts of passion. For is it not true that we’re always harshest towards those who we love most dearly? We simply judge them by different standards – standards that are imposed not only by the mind but also by the heart.

Thank you AUBG for being the decent school that you are. Decency is a precious commodity in this eccentric, eclectic, irreverent age.

Keep up the good work, AUBG. And I’ll keep snapping at you when I don’t like what I see. For
“love is not love,
which alters when it alteration finds,
or bends with the remover to remove…

…If this be error, and upon me proved
I never spoke, nor no man ever loved.”