The Open University Business School celebrates the exceptional achievements of its high calibre students and alumni annually. The awards, now in their 10th year, are held to commend some of the highest achieving students from the past academic year, and alumni members who have made an outstanding contribution to an organisation or society.
Vote – Alumni Award 2013: Outstanding Contribution to an Organisation or Society
Vote for your fellow alumni who have been shortlisted for this year's Alumni Award: Outstanding Contribution to an Organisation or Society. Please email Janet Barker to submit your vote.
Founder and MD of Trans Capital Associates, John has been a business owner, a business developer, a manager, an advisor and a consultant in the UK during a period that includes three major economic downturns and recoveries. He has accumulated significant experience of managing businesses during difficult trading periods and finding creative finance solutions that preserve and create value.
I finished studying in November 2006 and graduated with an OU MBA in 2007 and took up my current post with Simon Hegele. I arrived at Simon Hegele with an unhappy customer banging on the table, a failed quality audit, a high turnover of staff and a loss making business.
I moved from Austria to Germany since 2001, after completing my A levels in Austria and then two years study in Vienna. After several years in management for Marketing Asia and Europe for Mori Seiki, a Japanese machine tool manufacturer, I was promoted to General Manager of Global Marketing in 2011.
My MBA helped me lead my award winning company Shark Group into a new phase in its development, significantly increasing our sales. In 2006 I won the North East Rural Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award and a UKTI award for achievement in export. In 2007 I sold the company and in 2009 moved on and set up a new business.
Feeling a compulsion to expand his horizons, in his 20s, Philip enrolled on a BSc course with the OU and achieved an upper second. This qualification enabled Philip to progress quickly within local government and helped him gain sponsorship for the postgraduate certificate, the diploma and finally the MBA. Philp said, the MBA enabled him to switch careers and became a charted town planner.
Basil is a Chartered Architect and, at the time he embarked on a MBA, he was already a Director when he commenced his MBA. The MBA gave Basil the knowledge and skills to better understand his clients thinking process. This in turn enabled Basil put together a consultancy package which reflected his client’s needs and circumstances.
Heather is an entrepreneurial nurse and senior manager who values and appreciates the founding principles of the public sector and seeks to connect people back to their communities and their public services. Her interests include addressing health inequalities, promoting wellbeing and helping other clinicians to lead in a more creative and innovative way. Currently she is launching a social innovation competition on behalf of the city of Salford.
The shortlist of highly commended entrants was selected by a panel, including members from The Open University Business School and industry representatives. The winner will have the opportunities to be invited to share their story and inspire others at our face-to-face or virtual events.
The winner must demonstrate the application of theory and knowledge gained from an MBA, Diploma and Certificate in a professional capacity to make a difference (increased sales, lowering cost, impact on culture/change etc.)
Voting closes on Friday, 7 June 2013.
The success of the 2012 award winners and highly commended individuals was celebrated at an event held at The Open University campus in Milton Keynes last July.
Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Rebecca Taylor, Dean of The Open University Business and Law Schools, commented:
"Being 'open' does not mean easy; we offer a rigorous education and qualifications that are recognised across the globe. It means commitment and sheer hard graft on the part of our students. Our students and alumni are special: determined, resilient and focused on success."
She also paid tribute to the families and friends that support OU students on their journeys towards their qualification, thanking them for their part in the success of all those present.
Watch the acceptance speeches from last year’s award winners and nominees:
Caroline, a registered pharmacist, was an MD at an independent day hospital in Birmingham when she commenced her studies, but moved to a health charity as a commercial director and is currently deputising for the CEO. She feels more confident as a leader and a manager as a result of her MBA.
Watch Caroline's acceptance speech below:
Darren currently works as an IT project manager for AAH Pharmaceuticals and took the course to improve his management skills. He found the practical learning enjoyable and particularly valued an introduction to new areas such as finance and marketing.
Watch Darren's acceptance speech below:
Neil started studying in 2006 for personal development and to consider a possible career change. He found that he not only enjoyed it but truly excelled at it, achieving a first class law degree in 2011, gaining distinctions at each level. He is undecided at present but may continue on to LLM or LPC study.
Watch Neil's acceptance speech below:
Unfortunately, unable to attend on the day, Charmaine took the course to gain the knowledge to set up and run a business – which she has now successfully done with her husband, running a garage together. She plans to continue studying with the OU to enable them to expand the business further.
Elizabeth is currently taking a career break from financial management following the birth of her second child, planning to return to work in 2013. Having chosen the Open University Business School because of its reputation and triple accreditation status, she found the flexibility to study around a growing family, as well as the breadth of industries represented by her peers, particularly beneficial. Elizabeth plans to continue studying with the OU to achieve her ambition of attaining an MBA.
Watch Elizabeth's acceptance speech below:
Unfortunately Francesco was unable to attend in person to receive his award due to work commitments in Brussels.
Unfortunately, Jamie was unable to attend the ceremony. He was awarded an MBA in Technology Management from the Open University in 2010 and applied his learning in 2011, when the computer game development studio he worked for closed, to set up a company offering contract group-programming services to the game development industry. Employing some of his former colleagues, awards ceremony MC Terry O’Sullivan commended him in absentia for providing work for others and keeping a specialist area of expertise within the UK economy. Jamie believes his MBA gave him confidence to bring d3t to life and ensuring the on-going success and stability of d3t Ltd in otherwise uncertain economic times.
Following completion of her MBA, Shayesteh founded her own business and has used the knowledge gained to build it into a successful growing organisation in a relatively short space of time. She is Managing Director and founder of SFL Regulatory Affairs & Scientific Communication Ltd, leading the team at SFL and providing global strategic support for the development of healthcare products.
SFL has already been recognised for it's entrepreneurial prowess and was awarded the second prize in the 2010 North-West Switzerland Young Entrepreneur Competition (Jungunternehmerpreis Nordwestschweiz). Recognised and nominated by her fellow alumni in Switzerland, Shayesteh has been an inspiration to others – particularly as she had to overcome the challenge of studying in English. Born in Iran, and speaking fluent German, when Shayesteh started her studies she did it with a dictionary in hand – a challenge at the time, but a very worthwhile one!
Watch Shayesteh's acceptance speech below:
Working for BP, as a Retail Duty Manager, Rakesh identified two challenging areas that needed improvement – staff satisfaction and staff communication – and related these to the Service Profit Chain Model he had learnt on the MBA to support the business case to address these. He engaged the team through formal channels, but also introduced team building activities to promote better understanding and a more collegial atmosphere. Rakesh also added an external driver for these events; raising money for a children’s hospital. The following month not only did the Mystery Shopper score increase, but in-store sales increased by over 13%. The team have won many awards since Rakesh initiated the programme and Rakesh has also been recognised personally by being asked to run with the Olympic flame in Bexley this month.
Watch Rakesh's acceptance speech below:
Keith believes that the OU has provided great value to him over the years and has often looked to see how he can give something back. Through 5 redundancies Keith has kept his MBA in mind as the achievement that would carry him through anything life threw at him. He now runs a scheme through his work with Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society (Launchpad) to help people get their lives back on track after redundancy or long-term unemployment. Keith spoke candidly about his personal journey and how this resilience and openness allows him to support others in a way that empowers them to move on.
Watch Keith's acceptance speech below:
Emma, was appointed a UK Female Entrepreneurship Ambassador (UKFEA) in 2011. As part of a wider EU-funded ambassador network spanning 22 countries, Emma and her colleagues provide a high-level network of 250 role models who act as ambassadors, sharing the message about the benefits of female entrepreneurship across Europe. Emma was nominated for the role as a result of her work for the Enterprising Women network, providing practical and strategic advice on digital marketing for businesses and generally being a source of inspiration for businesswomen by encouraging them to shed negative attitudes.
Emma spoke eloquently and movingly as she accepted her award, articulating the impact studying for and achieving her MBA has had on her as an individual, a mother and a business woman.
Watch Emma's acceptance speech below: