Gilbert Laporte, a Canadian professor in operations research, is now a honrary doctor of Molde Uiversity College. Photo. Arild Waagbø

Guest speaker to class of 2023: – Soft skills is becoming core skills

Friday, PhD- and MSc-candidates, and professor Gilbert Laporte, were honoured in Haavelmo hall at Molde campus. 

Canadian Gilbert Laporte, an expert in the field of mathematical programming/operations research, was the academic star of the graduation ceremony. He was conferred as honorary doctor of Molde University College.

Julie Gulla-Pettersen, head of people operations in Maritech, was guest speaker at theh graduation ceremony. Foto: Arild Waagbø

HiMolde alumni Julie Gulla-Pettersen, now head of people operations in Maritech, made this speech at the ceremony:

«Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed faculty, proud parents, partners, family, and most importantly, our accomplished graduates:
Today we gather here to celebrate the years of hard work, dedication, and intellectual growth. Congratulations to each and every one of you on this milestone in your lifes. As I stand before you, I am reminded of all the possibilities that lies ahead for all of you newly graduated master’s and doctorate students.

You’re about to embark on an adventure, and I want you to remember this: Your hard-earned knowledge and expertise are like superpowers. You’ve spent countless hours studying, researching, conquering exams, with some skippertaks along the way. Now it is time to take that knowledge and turn it into real-life magic.
As you embark on your professional journey, there’s one crucial thing you are going to need in your toolbox: adaptability. The world is spinning faster than ever, with new technologies popping up left and right. Embrace them! Learn from them!

Julie Leirvåg has earned an MSc degree in logistics. Photo: Kelvin Prince Arthur

You have learned so much during the last 5-7 years. If you are like me, you will probably not remember everything. As a new young professional, you might have days where you are seriously concerned that you don’t remember anything of what the faculty here has thought you. That’s normal. Turning knowledge into real-life magic takes time, so give yourself time to adapt, to grow. And don’t waste energy beating yourself up for it. It’s all part of the process.

THE CEREMONY: See more photos here!

THE CANDIDATES: See them in this Facebook album.

The timing for entering professional life could not been better: the war on talent is real. Companies, like us, are investing heavily to attract and retain talent. That doesn’t mean that we hire everyone that raises their hands. We all want the best ones, right? So how can you ensure that you are one of the best? What I see more and more, when we are recruiting at Maritech, is that what was previously known as soft skills, is becoming core skills.

Okey, a show off hands here: how many of you have used Chat GPT as an associate in your studies or work life?

Well, I get help from Mr. GPT daily. It wanted me to tell you to have confidence in your abilities, to embrace your quirks and to remember the following: You are not just another fish in the sea: you’re a magnificent, one-of-a-kind unicorn ready to conquer the world. Yeah, he can be a bit dramatic sometimes. So, your ability to think critically, to act with integrity and have your ethics in line, to maintain and develop relationships and effective teamwork will be more important in the years to come than ever before.

Statistically, the majority of everyone in this room has secured a job now, or in the following six months after graduation. From now on, and until you retire, you will spend about 70 000 hours working. That’s a significant amount of your time. So don’t waste it on a job you don’t love. Find your passion and make your mark.

By that I don’t mean that you need to cure cancer, negotiate peace between Russia and Ukraine, or be the next Steve Jobs. Even though that really would put Molde on the map, and Molde University College would be forever grateful!

Life is about connecting with people, both in your professional and personal life. So, ensure that you have enough good laughs, create memories, and remember that the graveyard is full of people that thought the world would stop if they missed a day of work.

So. find a job that ignites your passion, find good solid friends that make you laugh without requiring too much maintenance, be present enough in everything you do. Build your life, the way you want it, the way it works for you.

Anno 2023. Photo: Arild Waagbø

And be sure to be generous – towards yourself, your family, your friends, your colleagues, and your community. It doesn’t have to be money; it doesn’t have to be time. Sometimes – even the smallest signs of appreciation and encouragement can make a bigger impact than you think.

A lot of pretty inspiring words, right? Everything sounds so much grander in English! So, let me give you a live example. I have this friend, that from my point of view has superpowers. She brings her passion to everything that she does. Her laugh is contagious, and her ambitions are high. During Covid she took her two beautiful kids and moved to France to work alongside the best researchers in the world on cervical cancer. Now she spends her free time educating everyone that will listen about what we can do as individuals to do our part to prevent it, and to throw some kicks at the ones in charge because they are not doing enough. Being allowed to be on the sidelines to follow how she makes her mark, is truly a privilege.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you would be so kind to help me give her some much-deserved appreciation: Dr. Thea Brevik!

Do you see what that meant to her? Does she seem extra happy now? Are you good enough at telling the people in your life, both personally and professionally, that you admire and appreciate them, and care about them? If the answer is no, well as my final advice: start practicing now! In the age of technological advancements and rapid changes, mastering the soft aspects of life is everything!

So dear class of 2023: congratulations on your graduation! I can’t wait to see how you will make your mark.»

Photo: Arild Waagbø