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Yashna Hemrajani

Master of Science, Information Technology and Management

We came, we saw, we conquered. Comets, we are done!

President Benson, Provost Musselman, Dean Pirkul, distinguished faculty, families and Class of 2018 — we all stand here today, at a milestone that would not have been possible without the immense support of faculty, family and friends. On behalf of all the graduates, I would like to take a moment here to thank you all for your constant encouragement and guidance.

Why are we here?

Some might say, “I always wanted to get a master’s degree.” Others might mention, “I wanted to get paid more.” The rest might comment, “I was just following the trend.” But there might have been something that pulled each of us out of our comfort zone to start a new journey all together. And here we are, all part of the same puzzle, but yet different shapes and sizes.

So, why are we really here?

It is because we not only had the courage to dream, but to make that dream a reality. There must have been something that each of you craved, that made you leave all hold of stability — whether it was driving 40 miles every day to get to school or traveling across the seven seas and not seeing your parents for months at a time. It is because we wanted something with all our heart. So, we don’t just leave turning our tassels, but hope to change our lives for the better. Kudos to that courage — after all, it’s our day.

As Ben Franklin has said, and my mom always says — and we all know moms are always right — “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” What you make out of it is your return, which is entirely in your control. Be it getting into the Big Four, starting a food truck or making a noteworthy impact in someone’s life.

My journey with UT Dallas began with the first course I took during my undergraduate degree. Yes, the diversity, flexibility and well-rounded faculty of my alma mater brought me back to pursue a specialized degree — one which makes me truly relate to both the undergraduate and graduate life at JSOM. I wanted to give back and make a difference to contribute to the growth of our school. JSOM has not just taught me what Big Data can do, but has also demonstrated the phrase “grow through what you go through.” It gave me a platform for introspection, to meet the true me through various opportunities for campus involvement. With over 300 student organizations present at UT Dallas, one is bound to find another soul with the same passion for a subject. We have the best career consultants at the Career Management Center to guide us through our job search and help brand ourselves better in the market.

The Naveen Jindal School of Management taught us that nothing comes without perseverance and hard work. Those umpteen networking sessions you attended, long queues at the Career Fair, missing the last bus for the night to stay late on campus planning an event, days of internship searches, project meetings — all these instances prepared us to be moldable yet with a goal and strategy in mind.

Our biggest takeaway from JSOM is that we must thrive to keep learning to keep growing, but also pause once in a while and appreciate where we are in our lives. Take criticism the same way you would take compliments. Most importantly, don’t forget to constantly thank the people that have helped you in any course of life. With passion, good intentions, hard work and humility that UT Dallas has imbued in us, we are ready to get out there and succeed.

“We must thrive to keep learning to keep growing, but also pause once in a while and appreciate where we are in our lives.”

I would personally like to thank my parents, my partner and my family, for being the pillars of strength throughout this roller-coaster ride. I would also like to extend a special thank you to Dean Monica Powell for being an inspiration — the kind you see not on TV but walking down the hallways, and Judi Umali-Rajkumar for being the right definition of a mentor: genuine yet positive.

Class of 2018, congratulations on the beginning of a new journey we are about to embark. Thank you for this incredible honor. Good luck!

Yashna Hemrajani BS'14 graduated with a master’s degree in information technology and management. She plans to get back into technology consulting and product management.