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A Monster Day :: Video

5/8/2013 --

Jeff Taylor, founder of Monster.com and Eons.com, tells 2013 Ross graduates to go to the noisy places.


Jeff Taylor's commencement address.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — It's not often business school graduates get a dose of Dr. Seuss, Woody Allen, Daniel Boone, and a return chorus of the Haddaway song, "What is Love."

But that's the score when Jeff Taylor, founder of Monster.com and Eons.com, is your commencement speaker. The University of Michigan's Ross School of Business Class of 2013 conferred its degrees May 3 at Hill Auditorium, a day that marked the first graduating class of the Master of Entrepreneurship program.

"I spent my life trying to figure out how to have fun in everything I do," Taylor said.

That was clear from his address. Part quote machine, part revival preacher, Taylor wove in plenty of life and career advice for graduating BBAs, MAccs, MBAs, MsEs, and PhDs.

Graduates should be feeling a little bit of fear, he said. Not panic, but the kind of fear that pumps the adrenaline.

"You're between the fear of failure and the fear of success," Taylor said. "Attack your fears. If you fall down, you can get back up, but you have to have the experience."

Taylor founded Monster first as a job board when the World Wide Web was in its infancy. It became one of the first dot-com companies, survived the dot-com bubble, and changed the way people navigate the job market. Today, Monster.com is the world's leading online career site and serves 30 million visitors a month.

He said being an entrepreneur isn't limited to those starting a business.

"Engage like an entrepreneur," said Taylor. "You can be entrepreneurial in your job."

Among his other bon mots:

  • After quoting Dr. Suess' Oh, the Places You'll Go: "Go to that loud, noisy place."
  • "If I'm going to a meeting, I might as well run it. I figured that out at 19."
  • Quoting Daniel Boone: "I have never been lost, but will admit to being confused for several weeks."
  • "We all coast sometimes. But how do you make that move to break away from coasting?"
  • Quoting Woody Allen: "Eighty percent of success in life is showing up." He added, "If you show up, everything happens."
He also urged graduates to take control of their lives and not be deterred by circumstance.

"You cannot blame the economy," he said. "It's all about you. You are the CEO of your whole life."

MAcc student speaker Rajat Wali, MAcc '13, said a bingo game with classmates in his first days in the program quickly dispelled any accounting stereotypes.

"What you never expect a Masters of Accounting student to be is also a master in Jujitsu," he said. Wali also learned that compassion and ethics are as big a part of accounting as numbers.

"MAccs represent dynamism, compassion and, above all, integrity," he said.

Charity Tarn, AB/BBA '13, spoke for the undergraduate students and said she was struck at how students from different backgrounds came together to form a community.

"We will face challenges," she said. "It's all right, because we are prepared for them. It's all right because we will always have this community of Wolverines with us."

MBA student speaker Jamee Pearlstein, MBA '13, said one thing a graduate business student learns is the value of the "thank-you" note. She offered a series of thank-yous from her class' time at Ross, including one to strategy professors:

"To strategy, for teaching us what it's like to have 79 pairs of eyes staring at you, waiting for the right answer when there is no right answer." And she told the world to look out.

"To the world out there, you'd better get ready and bring it on," she said.

— Terry Kosdrosky



For more information, contact:
Terry Kosdrosky, (734) 936-2502, terrykos@umich.edu