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MBA: Student of the Year Award

FOUR STUDENTS have been chosen as finalists for the Student of the Year Award run by The Independent and the Association of MBAs. This is the second year this prestigious award has been given, and business schools are again being asked to nominate their best all-rounder - rather than just their top academic achiever.

This year, for the first time, there will be an overall winner, whose name will be announced at the Association of MBAs' annual dinner on 11 November. She or he will be chosen from the four finalists. This year, for the first time too, students from overseas business schools are eligible.

Last year women excelled by gaining four our of the five prizes. This year three of the four finalists are women. Two of them have juggled their studies with looking after small children. During the first term of Susan Young's Cranfield MBA, her first child was born, and Gill Hall has single- handedly looked after a young daughter (see page 8).

Gill Hall won Lancaster's tenth anniversary scholarship against 50 other candidates, after eight years working at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and taking law degrees at Kings College London and L'Universite de Paris.

Leigh Bolton received his MBA with distinction in February this year. He continued in a demanding full-time job while studying for it, so he chose the Kingston Open Learning MBA, which requires weekend attendance.

Joanna Martin has a degree in geology and a PhD in experimental petrology, and worked in environmental management before starting her MBA course at Bradford Management Centre. From 1996 until 1998 she was chief executive of an agricultural college, Kirkley Hall College, in Northumberland.

A pounds 500 prize is at stake, as well as plenty of profile-enhancing publicity. Schools are asked to nominate people who have excelled at working in a group, have been a good ambassador for the school and are committed to the future development of the MBA.