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Thomas Rajan Selected as 2009 Class Day Student Speaker

The Class Day Committee is pleased to announce the Class Day 2009 Student Speaker Winner: Thomas Rajan!

The Class Day 2009 Student Speaker Competition was held in early April. Twenty-eight contestants initially vied for the opportunity to present an inspirational and relevant message to their peers and guests at Class Day on June 3rd. The first round required each participant to provide a three minute flavor of the overall 10 minute speech. A panel of 19 judges scored each contestant based on content, style, relevance to the graduating class, family and friends, and finally overall impression. This resulted in six finalists transitioning to the final round:

Sumaiya Balbale (OA), Maxwell Anderson (OJ), Maureen Miller (OF), Paul Thomson (OC), Aduke Thelwell (OJ), and Thomas Rajan (OB).

In the final round, finalists were judged on the same criteria; however, they were required to present the full 10 minute speech they anticipated giving on Class Day. This gave rise to our Class Day 2009 Student Speaker Winner: Thomas Rajan.

Thomas came to the United States in 1999 after completing high school in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he spent his childhood. He earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Finance from Arizona State University in 2003.

A self-confessed “propeller-head,” Thomas had various roles in the aviation industry prior to HBS. His first job, at the age of 18, was as an airport customer service agent for British Airways (still his favorite job!). He also worked in Financial Planning for The Boeing Company, and most recently in Network Planning for US Airways. After his first year of business school, Thomas spent the summer with McKinsey & Company working on an aviation-related project in Malaysia. He thinks he may have come close to a record for distance traveled as a summer associate – logging over 100,000 miles in 10 weeks! He now counts among his good buddies the staff at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

At HBS, Thomas served as Co-President of the Christian Fellowship for the 2008-2009 school year, an organizer of the South Asian Business Association (SABA) India Trek in December 2008, and a student leader of the 2009 Portrait Project.

Thomas credits the development of his public-speaking skills to mentoring by his parents and the opportunities provided to him to speak in church as a lay preacher. It is a role he enjoys and that has provided many an occasion to speak in various churches across the U.S., India, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

Congratulations again, to Thomas Rajan!

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Deidre-Ann Perry (Senator OF)
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April 27, 2009
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