Professor Heather McGregor

28 November 2016



The November graduation ceremonies are well under way, with Edinburgh and Dubai now done and Malaysia (due for December 4) coming up soon. I am afraid that I was only present in Edinburgh, but next year I hope to be at every graduation.

My own preparation for graduation started the week before the Edinburgh ceremony, when I was sent the list of names that I would be reading out – 196 of them. This was to be the largest group that Edinburgh Business School had ever graduated in one group. From a very wide variety of countries! I would be reading out Russian names, Nigerian names, South African names, Chinese names….and that was just a few. 

I had the inspired idea of sending the list to the trainees who are currently working in the Taylor Bennett Foundation, the charity that I set up in 2007. They are from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds and I thought they could give me some training in pronunciation. They kindly recorded an audio file for me and when I caught the overnight sleeper train to Scotland, the evening before the ceremony, I sat in my bunk bed and listened to the audio file while reading the names out loud. Over and over again.

The next morning I awoke to find that we were nearly in Edinburgh. But there was a broken down train in front of us! It took well over an hour to move it, and all the while I was worried I would not make the ceremony. I was not the only one – another passenger on that train, also anxiously wondering if we would ever arrive, was Eghosa Precious Igbinoghodua, a student from Nigeria who was graduating with his MBA. When we finally pulled into the station, I gave Eghosa and his wife a lift in the taxi and asked them to help me pronounce all the names all over again, as we sped towards the campus. We arrived with half an hour to spare… time I will make sure I am there the night before!

We held a reception in the business school for everyone and their families after the graduation and this was great fun, with a three piece band and lots of food and drink. I look forward to seeing more of you at graduations in the future.

Please see below some photos, including me shaking my train buddy Eghosa’s hand as he came up to meet the Chancellor on stage. Next week: I go to Johannesburg to give a party for students and alumni!

Congratulations EBS graduates!

Graduation ceremony and after party, 16 November, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University