It's business, but not as usual

Most promising MBA shows how entrepreneurs can serve the greater good

The Association of MBAs’ Gala Dinner, which took place on 19 October, is always a momentous date in the business school calendar. Not only did the event, which is supported by The Independent, provide a chance for institutions to come together, it also named this year’s most promising student while launching two new awards for innovation and entrepreneurial ventures.

This year’s winner, Alex Dalley, is the 14th recipient of the MBA Student of the Year award, which attracts entrants from business schools worldwide. The title aims to recognise “exceptional achievement in MBA students and the combination of an excellent academic record, an active community spirit, ambassadorial power and the use of the MBA to benefit the greater good”, explains Tina Vifor, marketing manager at the Association of MBAs.

Previous winners believe it has a value beyond bolstering their CV. “AMBA is leading the way in encouraging innovative notions of value creation – ways in which business and business skills can address society’s economic, social and environmental challenges, beyond a narrow preoccupation with the bottom line. I find that very inspiring,” says Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke, the 2009 winner who went on to found the successful Women’s Worldwide Web platform.

The four finalists for this year’s award have extremely diverse portfolios, highlighting the wide-ranging appeal of the competition and the diversity of those studying for the MBA qualification worldwide.

Dalley attended the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. He is seeking to create business opportunities by sourcing sustainably and ethically produced food from small farmers in developing economies and connecting those communities with global companies.He believes these farmers can help address consumer demand in Europe and North America.

Allen Manser is president of his MBA class at Saïd Business School and previously worked in West Africa for the Clinton Foundation. While at the school, he acted as portfolio manager for its venture fund, and is an associate fellow of the Skoll Centre.

Before taking up her MBA at Hult International Business School, Julie Brown’s career began in the White House. A senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, she took on the Hult Global Case Challenge during her studies, directing volunteers bringing water to underdeveloped regions.

Dr Thomas Maddox, from Judge Business School, specialises in the delicate balance between business and the environment. He has a special interest in Indonesia’s Sumatran tiger and has previously focused on developing innovative conservation finance to help preserve the species.

On the panel of industry judges deciding between the finalists were: Lord Michael Hastings of Scarisbrick, CBE, global head of citizenship and diversity at KPMG; Chris Russell, chair of the Association of MBAs; and Gerry Gaffney, the MBA account manager at The Independent.

The two new awards introduced this year recognise very different aspects of the MBA, and were judged by a panel from the academic and commercial spheres.

The Entrepreneurial Venture award recognises students and alumni in recently founded businesses. They pitched their companies to a panel of entrepreneurs on the day of the Gala Dinner. The winners were Wolfgang Kalthoff and Jörg Wiemer of Germany’s Mannheim Business School.

The Innovation Award is aimed at business schools, and hopes to see them “promote their innovative and inspiring practices,” says Vifor. The finalists included the Lisbon MBA programme, and initiatives or courses from Insead and Nyenrode business schools. The winner was Waikato Management School’s MBA programme.

Many MBA students of the year have gone on to achieve great success in their fields, and organisers hope the same will be true for Dalley and the winners of the new categories. Nefesh-Clarke believes the awards play an vitalrole in promoting MBA education, and the creative ways it can drive innovation.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn