When Panos Tzivanidis embarked on his studies at Les Roches in the summer of 1991, he couldn’t have imagined quite where life was going to take him in the years to follow. But what is certain is that everything he gained from his studies played a pivotal role in his many career accomplishments so far. We were proud to invite the current Director of Corporate Events and Services at the International Olympic Committee, to greet the class of 2019 with a speech full of inspiration and confidence for the future!
Panos began by introducing the audience to a short film showcasing highlights from the Winter Games of PyeongChang 2018 and the spirit of the athletes who took part. He then spoke of his experiences during his time at Les Roches and provided many words of wisdom for our young graduates.
“This is one of the key milestones amongst many milestones in my life.”
Our students come from all over the world; all with the desire to develop what is required to thrive in their future careers. Panos was no different. “I could never imagine that from a small island of Corfu in Greece, I would end up working for the International Olympic Committee, and for the Olympic Games,” he states.
He recalls his first experience of arriving in Switzerland and the feelings that he had at that time. “Arriving at the campus, arriving at Bluche, and not really knowing necessarily what will happen in your life and what you will experience in the years to come.” Panos definitely has not forgotten what his student experience at Les Roches provided him with and how it still holds resonance today. “I know that a lot has to do with Les Roches,” Panos mentions. “With the foundation, and with the whole network that I created. This is one of the key milestones amongst many milestones in my life.”
The people that you meet during your time at Les Roches all have the potential to have a positive impact on your studies. The networks you develop will be professional and personal, and both will have a profound impact on your life during your program of study as well as in the future. “Our professors, the campus, your friends, your colleagues, they gave you all the right ingredients,” Panos mentions. “You basically have everything you need to go out and take a shot in the dark. You’re ready, everybody is waiting for you, and the only thing you have to do is to bank on everything that you learned.”
The connections you make have the potential to last a lifetime, and your connection to Les Roches is something that you will always be with you. “The people that are today your friends and that will become forever your friends,” Panos remarks. “They’re people amongst a huge network of alumni and of Les Rochians that are everywhere.”
Panos also spoke to the value of these networks and how they can be leveraged for the benefit of the graduates in attendance. “Don’t underestimate the power of this network. Use it,” Panos states. “When you start working for companies, you will need this network, and this network is not a network that will help you advance but it is a network that will give you advice whenever you need it.”
Treating someone the right way rarely costs that much, but the positive residual benefits can be felt long into the future. On his professional ascent, Panos has learnt that such a simple gesture is worth investing time in for a successful career. “Respect everybody and every situation that you will be facing. Because what goes around comes around, and life will teach you this,” Panons mentions.
“Respect the people. Respect the job that you are doing. Respect the opinions of others. Respect is something that will eventually help you to move forward. It might not be immediately but trust me, respect will be recognised.”
“You have the talent, you have the ingredients, you’re literally what the market is looking for.”
Three final words of wisdom
There were three points that Panos wanted to leave our graduates with before the end of his speech, specifically what students should be looking to harness in the years ahead. “Time has become a commodity,” he says. “So please use your time as wisely as possible.”
“Technology is moving extremely fast, and this something that you will need to keep up. You have the talent, you have the ingredients, you’re literally what the market is looking for.”
Panos’ concluded his speech with a line that essentially sums up what it means to be a past, current or future Les Roches graduate. “It is absolutely essential that when you go out, you are you, you are true, and you stay Les Rochian.”
It would be hard to sign off on our Graduation Ceremony with anything more pertinent as our class of 2019 gears up for an exciting future ahead!