NYU Stern Graduate Convocation 2019: Andre J.L. Koo

NYU Stern Graduate Convocation 2019: Andre J.L. Koo


(electronic music) – Next, I’m going to
introduce the new Chair, incoming Chair of our Board
of Overseers, Andre Koo. Andre Koo, after whom our
Tech MBA program is named, is one of our most
remarkable alumni. His family has been at Stern
for several generations, Andre’s father went to Stern, Andre himself is celebrating the 25th year of
his MBA at Stern, and Andre’s son graduated from the undergraduate
program last year. Andre and his family
are very deeply involved at Stern and NYU in many ways. Apart from being a generous
donor to the university, Andre’s also a trustee
of NYU, as I mentioned, he’s the incoming Chair of
the Stern Board of Overseers. He’s a member of Stern
Tech MBA Advisory Board, he’s also a member of NYU
Shanghai, the Stern NYU Shanghai MS in Data Analytics
and Business Computing
Advisory Board, amongst many other things
he does for Stern at NYU. Somewhere along the line, Andre also finds time to
have a professional life, an extraordinarily
successful professional life. He is the Chairman of
the Chailease Group, which is comprised
of Chailease Holding, the gold Taiwanese
financial services company with global operations, and Yellowstone Holding
with subsidiaries that engage in a number of
diverse business activities including equity investment,
industrial equipment sales, polymer processing,
real estate construction and development, interior
design, private security, property management
and hospitality. Andre? (cheering applause) – Thank you Raghu for
the warm introduction. President Hamilton,
esteemed faculty, staff, family, friends, Stern Class of 2019, welcome. On behalf of Stern
Board of Overseers, and as a fellow alum
with family ties that spans three generations, I’m honored to address
all of you here today. And having attended my son’s
graduation just last summer, I know that most popular remarks
tends to be the shortest. So I’ll try to
keep things brief. (audience laughing) Thank you. (audience laughing and cheering) It was only 25 years ago that
I was sitting in your seat as a fellow Stern graduate. While many things
are still the same, some things are a bit different, such as nicer graduation venue, (audience laughing) and me having more gray hairs. However, these
wisdom highlights, as I like to call them, are all well worth it. As they symbolized
the many decisions that I have made in my life. So today I would like
to share with you a few stories highlighting
the importance of making decisions. When I was 15, I knew I wanted to come
to New York for school. Therefore, I made the
decision to travel 8,000 miles from
Asia to New York, to enroll at the New
York Military Academy. I loved what I saw
in the brochures of smiling students
dressed in sharp uniforms riding horses in
the lush valley. They left out the
fact that you also need to wake up at 6:00
a.m. morning calls, cold shower on frigid
winter mornings, and unending drills. Life was not good. (audience chuckling) However, I’m glad I made the
decision to stick with it. Because the training taught
me strong work ethics, self-discipline and
grit which reflects the Academy’s honor
code that states a cadet will not
lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do. In my 20s, I made the
decision to enroll at the greatest graduate
program, NYU Stern. (cheering whoo
hoos from audience) Right off the bat, I
knew I would acquire the same quantitative
skills to help me make calculated
decisions in the future. Even more importantly,
I made lifelong friends over Stern time-honor
tradition, beer blast. (cheering from the audience) This decision taught
me how to lead with strategic thinking
(audience laughing), better at communication
and a broader world view. (audience chuckling) In my 30s, I assumed the helm of my family business,
Chailease Finance. I was now waking up at
7:30 taking hot showers, and managing a company with 50%
of leasing market in Taiwan. Life was good.
(audience laughing) But know that complacency
is the enemy of success, I made the decision bringing
in outside consultants and spearhead the
re-engineering of the company’s products, services and systems. This decision helped
Chailease double its asset base in four years. And now it compromises of over a hundred subsidiaries globally. The common theme here is never
be afraid to make decisions. Only with decisions can
you continue to grow. Teddy Roosevelt once said, “in any moment of decision, “the best thing you
can do the right thing. “The next best thing
is the wrong thing. “And the worst thing
you can do is nothing.” (audience clapping) Making decision is
right and is great. But even if it was wrong, you will build character
and enhance skillsets. As long as you make decisions, you can’t lose either way. Before I let you get
back to your selfies, (audience laughing) I want to share
one final thought. Never forget those who
help you along the way. First, you have your
parents and families who has been there
for you, emotionally, and just as importantly,
financially. (audience laughing) Let’s give them a
round of applause. (cheering applause) Then you have the school
that has provided you with this unforgettable
experience. Make sure to contribute
so that future Sternies can enjoy the same
opportunities as you have. As I promised at the
start of my talk, I will keep things short. I wish all the best of you, develop your own
wisdom highlights. Congratulations
to Class of 2019. Thank you so much. (cheering applause) (electrical music)

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