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12 Nov 2007

Open University graduate wins MBA Student of the Year award

MBA student of the year, Bart Knols

MBA student of the year, Bart Knols

Bart Knols, a graduate of the OU Business School, has won the prestigious MBA Student of the Year accolade from the Association of MBAs, sponsored by The Independent.

At the age of nineteen, Bart spent a year in Africa studying sleeping sickness in a Kenyan Maasai community. Since then he has devoted his life to finding solutions to combat insect-transmitted diseases, particularly malaria, and now works as an Assistant Professor in Medical Entomology at Wageningen University and Research Centre in The Netherlands. Bart’s MBA study led him to pioneer a new method of mosquito control and obtain $2 million in research funds for projects in Africa.

Collecting the award at a ceremony in London on Thursday (8 November), Bart said: “Whilst on a very healthy career path as a biologist, it dawned on me that management skills were equally, if not more important, than biological knowledge. My MBA has given me the tools to fine-tune my argument that scientific skills only will not deliver a healthier world. I am proud to represent The Open University, and particularly its Austrian branch in Vienna where I conducted all my studies over the last three years. I am delighted to win the award and will use the achievement to open up doors to further my work.”

James Fleck, Dean of the OU Business School, said:”I am delighted with Bart’s success. He exemplifies the best of what The Open University stands for, especially with regard to our mission in Africa. As a working scientist who undertook our MBA programme to ensure he could be as effective as possible, Bart demonstrates the power of our specific world-class approach to management teaching: the OU Business School takes the ideas to where they can be directly and immediately put into practice.”

This is the second time in five years that an OU Business School graduate has won the award; two other finalists have also been from The Open University. The MBA Student of the Year competition is now in its 10th year. It rewards the achievements of outstanding MBA students from accredited business schools around the world.

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