My Attempt at a Valedictory Speech

Written by Masaki V. Mitsuhashi, MScIB CIP

I was asked by the send-off organizers to make a valedictory speech on behalf of the Master of Science in Innovation and Business Class of 2020.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine myself giving this valedictory speech. Surprise. I was actually the lazy guy who slept through most of his classes in undergraduate and medical school. So this is a total culture shock for me. I’m usually a funny person but maybe let me take something seriously. Just this once. 

To make this speech, I actually went online and looked at “How to write a valedictory speech.”

I noticed that a lot of valedictorians start their speech with I, me, my, or mine. So let me tell you something about my story.

My childhood was a story of a typical Asian kid. I studied very well, did a lot of extracurricular activities, and was a student leader. 

I told myself, I always wanted to be a doctor. For that, I did my best to make sure that my dreams came true. I studied harder and made sure that I was at the top of my class.

True enough, I eventually studied in Manila Science High School, got in the University of the Philippines – Manila, and later on to Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health. Found a calling, left medical school, and went to study at the Asian Institute of Management while doing several consulting work on the side. Sounds like a story of a child who fulfilled his dream right? 


There’s always another side to that story.

Despite the smiles that I had, I was bullied and isolated from some social circles. My high school wasn’t a completely happy memory. I almost failed some subjects in college. I left med school. In reality, my childhood dreams didn’t come true. I watched as my vision in a white coat shattered like broken glass. I had sleepless nights worrying about my future. I had moments of depression. I wasn’t perfect as people projected me to be. In reality, I was as human as everyone was. 

But there’s actually another side to that story.

While I was studying or working, I met friends and loved ones aside from my family that continued to inspire me to be better. I told myself “maybe my childhood dream wasn’t a complete picture”. “Maybe, I lacked a few puzzle pieces that can make it complete”

In my failures and successes I had people to constantly remind me of three things:

  1. It’s okay to not be okay
  2. Fall down once, stand up twice, and most importantly
  3. I am not alone.

Through the people that I met and even for the friends I haven’t met yet, I realized so much:

1.   That’s it’s possible to be successful and remain kind and loving towards your peers

2.   That failures aren’t the only thing that should be accepted by people, your success should be accepted too, and lastly

3.   No two journeys are the same. True. But we share the same universe and that makes us naturally connected with each other.

Which brings me to my conclusion. This story isn’t simply about I, me, myself, or mine. This is our story. So let me start with my real speech which is about you, you who made this story the best one so far.

My fellow MSIB 2020 classmates.

We made it. It wasn’t too long ago when we were just innocent, fresh, good looking people that stood in the lobby waiting for us to start our 15-month journey. Not saying that we aren’t anymore. But hey, we stepped out 16 months later much wiser and maybe a bit more VUCA-proof.


  • I recall talking with Lorrs and told her how stressed I already was and we haven’t even started yet. Surprise. She was my LT mate and seatmate. Thank you for your positive energy that made MSIB 2020 a much better experience. Eventually I also met my LT mates.
  • Thank you Raja for being a devil’s advocate (mostly as a devil. Haha. Kidding) in times when we are so swayed by groupthink.
  • JC, thank you for always infecting us with your smiles and laughs that made us realize that everything’s going to be okay.
  • Thanks to you and Mitch for helping us remember what genuine love is.
  • Gepo, thank you for the many laughs we shared together especially for the jokes we shared with Carlos that we can probably never ever share in a public domain.
  • Mon, I wouldn’t probably survive graduate school and achieve this “achievement” without your constant support. Thank you.
  • Michelle, meeting and becoming friends with you has been a great source of joy for me. Happy Birthday. Remember that I am always here for you as well.
  • Cristine, thank you for bringing me down to reality when I am too emotionally attached to certain issues and for being my devwork buddy.
  • Shanice and Ram, thank you for the close friendship that we shared even if we became close during the latter part of our journey. I may have gotten Rank 1 this time. But you’re always “the one” for each other.

Despite our doubts, questions and heightened stress levels. We had each other. MSIB 2020. Allow me to thank you guys.

  • David, thank you for leading us. Hardship or not.
  • John, thank you for always taking time to help us out despite your toxicity in work.
  • Junver, thank you for showing us devwork can be fun to do as well
  • Pampam, thank you for your positivity and smiles that can brighten up our day.
  • Allen, thank you for being the kind person that everyone can approach
  • Ed, we miss you. Come back soon! Thank you for being part of our journey as well.
  • Lei, we also miss you. Thank you for being so motherly and loving to all of us.
  • Neil, corner boy! Thank you for your gift of positivity and innocence.
  • Jazel, thank you for being that radiant person that we can all depend on.
  • Joenil, thank you for your wisdom and for being our beacon of knowledge. Sana all may 4x job multiplier. Joke
  • Emman, thank you for being such a nice person and for always sharing what you have including food, I mean especially food.
  • Oleg, thank you for showing us what a picture of a loving father is.
  • Joseph, thank you for being with us during our first step.
  • Sir Rafi, thank you for being a beacon of knowledge as well. We appreciate your advice especially those based on your experience
  • Tito Jun, we will always remember you for pre. But most importantly, thank you for being so dependable and loving the batch.
  • Mar, thank you for finally telling people about us in MSIB. Haha. Kidding. Thank you for being our go-to person for KPop and gaming stories aside from Shanice.
  • Arnold, thank you for showing us your genuine you and innocence. Congratulations on your marriage!
  • Rommel, thank you for your data-driven insights and visualized support for the class. Hope you can tell us stories too 😉
  • Remil, thank you for the small talks and stories you share with everyone.
  • Gingin, thank you for being so positive. It is very contagious
  • Noni, thank you for being my econbuddy but thank you for reminding us along with you Gelly, that love is a journey worth experiencing together. Healthy Hubeat! Subtle promote ahha.
  • Betts, thank you for your warm smile! It’s contagious
  • Jaycee, thank you for your funny banats, beats, and wit. Go DJ Kazwalllll
  • Philip Moris, thank you for your positivity and for being organized.
  • Philip Palafox, thank you for always making time for the batch despite not having social media. We appreciate your dad stories with your kids.
  • Emil, thank you for your gift of music. Thank you for reminding us that we always have to reevaluate ourselves to see if things should be a go or a bo-go. Congratulations on your engagement.
  • Rudy, thank you for your support for everything. Despite being work-toxic, you’re always there for everyone.
  • Serge, thank you for being so dependable. You always seem to make things work!
  • Mikey, thank you for your wisdom. It really helps us view things in different perspectives.
  • Madz, thank you for being so approachable. We know you wouldn’t shut us down when we talk to you.
  • JM, thank you for always helping out. You’re so dependable and you really go the extra mile for your team.
  • Art, thank you for the walks home. I get to see how much of a strong person you truly are in and outside of work.
  • Neo, thank you for your witty comebacks! It always makes us laugh.
  • Mina, thank you for always being there as a friend. We appreciate your “kaya mo yan” lines when we have problems.
  • Arvin, thank you for making us laugh with your stories. Thank you also for being a fitspiration to all of us
  • Gille, thank you for being motherlike to all of us. You came in as a mom, you went home with 51 new children.
  • Ainah, we miss you. Thank you for staying with us on our journey outside MSIB. Happy Birthday!
  • Diana, thank you for your warm smile. Congrats in advance for your ME degree!
  • Cams, hey hey! Thanks for being so strong for everyone. We appreciate your being there to help all the time.

While this is a tribute to the outgoing batch, I’d like to thank the Master of Science in Innovation and Business Class of 2021, our sponsors (Mr. Dana Leong, TEKTONIK, Palafox, iAcademy), our professors present tonight (Prof Albert, Prof Lally, Prof Becca, Prof Sandeep, Prof Richard), our mentors (special shoutout to my innovation mentors Prof Nicole, Prof Manuela, Prof Maoi, and Prof Felipe), our MSIB Program Team (Prof Luisa, Doc Jay Anne, Mark, Dave, and past team members), our school ASITE (Prof Chris, Giselle, Cherrie, Reyn, Bekah, Gino, Ache), our institute (Prof Jikyeong and the whole  Asian Institute of Management community and family)

We took classes together, wrote WACs together, joined competitions together, traveled together, and survived together with everyone. But most of all, we learned together.

And with that. This chapter of our story is done. As we take on different new chapters in our own lives, let us remember that we all wrote one beautiful chapter together. Our MSIB journey. 

Thank you very much, good luck, and congratulations to us my fellow dreamers – the Master of Science in Innovation and Business class of 2020.

Cheers to the MSIB 2020, the MSIB 2021, the MSIB Program, ASITE, and AIM.

#MSIB2020InnoVision #LivinLaVidaVUCA

With that, I’m signing off:

Masaki V. Mitsuhashi, MScIB CIP

High Distinction Awardee, TEKTONIK Scholarship Recipient

Master of Science in Innovation and Business Class of 2020

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