Sandwiched between the two undergrad/grad convocations was the MBA graduation ceremony. At 2:30 pm, in the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 250 MBA students received their degrees. James Kackley, managing partner of the Chicago office of Aruthur Andersen & Co. was the featured speaker. Kackley has combined a distinguished career with a commitment to philanthropic and civic actives. Governor Edgar recently appointed him to the "blue ribbon" committee, chaired by retiring UI president, Stanley Ikenberry, created to address the issues of equity and fairness in funding elementary and secondary education in Illinois.
James Kacley joined Andersen in 1964, became a partner in 1974, and was named to his present position in 1987. His commitment to community and civic affairs spans a wider range of activities. He was the 1994 campaign chair of the Chicago United Way Metropolitan Crusade of Mercy, is co-chair of Chicago United, and sits on the boards of the Alder Planetarium, Chicago Urban League, and the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club.
In his address to the students, Mr. Kacley focused on the world the graduates would find waiting for them "out there" and the qualities needed to succeed in that world, now and in the future.
Since the beginning of recorded history, business can be divided into four periods: the Agricultural Age (until the 1700s); the Industrial Age (1700s to the 1900s); the Service Age (mid-1900s to 1990s); the Information Age (1990s onward). The last three changes, he noted, have taken place during the lifetime of many present in the audience. Change is omnipresent and comes at an ever faster pace.
He characterized the current business worlds as competitive, global, and fast paced. Using Arthur Andersen as a model, he said that the greatest asset a business can have is intellectual capital, and the only competitive advantage now and in the future is the ability to learn faster. TO SUCCEED, EVERY GRADUATE MUST PURSUE LIFE-LONG LEARNING.
Because business is global, the fortunes of a company follow those of the word economy. Because there has been a steady dropping of international barriers, people, goods, and money all move faster, speeding the flow of business. Barriers to entry used to control competition, he reminded; but today, as they disappear, competition has increased. "In the era of hyper-competition people can go around or over you, and they'll take your business away if you're not careful." This leads to a high level of insecurity, but it is also exciting.
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