A New Horizon for the Future: Bologna Business School’s Graduation 2023

15 September 2023

In a bustling Piazza Maggiore, with the sunset over the city of Bologna serving as a backdrop, the BBS’s Master Class Graduation 2023 l took place. The event marked the end of an academic journey and the beginning of new professional and personal adventures for over 800 graduates from Professional and Executive Masters programs.

This year’s most essential and anticipated event for the entire School community featured an extraordinary guest who enriched the ceremony with a memorable commencement speech full of stimuli, insights, and inspirations: Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, entrepreneur, visionary leader, philanthropist, and a global reference for all things innovation and new technologies. During his address, Hoffman explored various topics, from the formulas for success to artificial intelligence, concluding with reflections on the future. At the end of his speech, the University of Bologna, represented by Rector Giovanni Molari, awarded him the prestigious Sigillum Magnum. But let’s go in order, outlining an event that, once again, found a stronger and more present community than ever.

The opening was traditionally entrusted to Romano Prodi, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Bologna Business School. Prodi emphasized the importance of education and continuous training as pillars to face future challenges. Following him, Max Bergami, Dean of BBS, spoke with his address titled “Earth, Wind and Fire.” The Dean evoked the emotion of seeing students, united and enthusiastic in their robes, launched towards the future. He then invited students to thank those who supported them, emphasizing that community is a fundamental part of the School’s identity. Bergami also discussed future challenges, such as climate change and war, and urged students to use technology, particularly artificial intelligence, always putting humanity at the centre. This theme also resonated in the words of Reid Hoffman, who spoke after Ana Marinovic and Massimo Accoroni, student representatives, and after the laudatio by Professor Claudia Manca.

Reid Hoffman took the baton with a compelling speech. “You are the AI generation,” he declared, emphasizing how technology is becoming an extension of our intelligence and capabilities as human beings. Hoffman spoke about the history of technology and its impact on society, from the Italian Renaissance to the modern era. He urged the new generation to use artificial intelligence as a tool to “amplify and define the future of humanity.” “AI should be an acronym not for artificial intelligence but for amplifying intelligence,” said Hoffman, who then posed three fundamental questions to ask oneself to become an active part in building the future: “How can I create better tools?”, “How can I increase beauty in the world?” and “How can I do both for the benefit of my fellow human beings?”

In a world increasingly dominated by technology, the messages from Bergami and Hoffman serve as reminders that humanity and technology are not in conflict but can coexist and enrich each other. Demonstrating this, a surprise that involved and moved the audience of Piazza Maggiore: the Solistinsieme Ensemble of the Fondazione Musica Insieme performed a musical piece created with artificial intelligence by the startup Purilian, dedicated to the special guest of the ceremony.

With the power of these intense and profound stimuli in mind and heart, the community moved to Romagna to kick off the final phase of an unforgettable weekend: the 15th BBS Alumni Reunion, an opportunity for networking and exchange among Alumni, Faculty, and friends of the School, a momentous event that continued in the beautiful setting of Villa Guastavillani, further consolidating the sense of community and belonging that characterizes Bologna Business School.


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