If the students graduating from Alfred University on May 18 are expecting a world-is-your-oyster type speech from speaker, AIG CEO and Alfred alumnus Robert Benmosche, then they may want to put on headphones during his portion of the ceremony. Or they may want to listen to the tough love speech he’s got planned.
“They want me to talk to the students and give them a sense of encouragement, especially with the high unemployment,” Benmosche tells Bloomberg News. “My advice will be, whatever opportunity comes your way, take it. Take it and treat it as if it’s the only one that’s coming your way, because that actually may be the truth.”
And he might be right, with the unemployment rate for recent college grads higher than the overall unemployment numbers.
Benmosche will likely be speaking about his own work experience, driving a Coca-Cola truck to help pay for school and then serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps before eventually getting into finance and insurance, eventually becoming CEO of Met Life insurance. He was brought on board a flailing AIG in 2009 when it was bailed out by U.S. taxpayers.
“You have to accept the hand that’s been dealt you in life,” he explains. “Don’t cry about it. Deal with it.”