06 Jun 2014

Open University students celebrate their success at annual awards ceremony

The CEO of an advice and counselling charity for young people, the Director of Finance of an international engineering company in Germany, and the founder of a machine engineering service were amongst those who collected awards at the 11th annual Open University Business School (OUBS) Student and Alumni Achievement Awards ceremony last night.

The winners attended a ceremony at The Open University’s Milton Keynes campus hosted by Dean of the OUBS, Professor Rebecca Taylor and Associate Dean, Curriculum, Mike Lucas.

Professor Taylor praised the students and alumni for their exceptional achievements and dedication during their studies, saying:
“Celebrating both the academic achievements and career successes of our talented students and alumni is something I am very privileged to be a part of each year. Our students at The Open University Business School are exceptional in their ability to balance rigorous academic study with demanding careers. It’s wonderful to meet such a passionate group of people and share in their successes.”

Among this year’s award winners were:

Julie Duffy, 58 – CEO, The What? Centre
Alumni of the Year Achievement Award 2013-14
As CEO of an advice and counselling charity for young people in the Dudley borough for over 20 years, Julie completed an MBA with the OUBS at the age of 53. Now 58, Julie said:
“I realised that, although I had been a manager in my organisation for more than 20 years I had no formal qualifications in management. The MBA has really developed my business confidence and I have a firm belief that you are never too old to study and it’s never too late to start something new.”

David Kowatsch, 42 – Director of Finance, Lindauer DORNIER, Germany
Professional Certificate in Management Student of the Year 2013
As Director of Finance for a machine engineering company employing over 1,000 people, David decided that, whilst confident and happy in both his personal and professional life, he wanted a new challenge. Having had to cope with the loss of his mother whilst studying, David has some advice for other students:
“I think every student has his/her life and responsibilities to consider; the normal work and life routine already demands a huge part of one’s time. When deciding to do part-time study, you first need to reconcile the time you have to allocate to this with your personal and professional life.”

Gavin Richardson, 39 – Founder of OPUS Building Services and OPUS Green
Alumni of the Year Achievement Award 2013-14 – Highly Commended
Since 2006, Gavin has been running two businesses based in Boldon and Newcastle, undertaken and completed an MBA with Newcastle University and also holds two executive roles for the Chartered Management Insititute’s (CMI) board of trustees and specialist insurance company ECIC & ECIS. Gavin attributes part of his success to the skills and tools he gained from completing the Professional Certificate in Management with The Open University Business School:
“My main reason for choosing the qualification was for professional development and flexibility – it was essential to balance my personal life, professional development and work. However, completing the qualification was the stimulus that has supported me in progressing to where I am today.”

There were seven award winners this year, nominated in the following categories:
BA (Hons) Business Studies Student of the Year 2013
BA (Hons) Leadership and Management Student of the Year 2013
Professional Certificate in Accounting Student of the Year 2013
Professional Certificate in Management Student of the Year 2013
Diploma Student of the Year 2013
MBA Student of the Year 2013
Alumni of the Year Achievement Award 2013-14 (four alumni were also Highly Commended for this award).


Full case studies for those above and other award winners are available. Interviews can also be arranged with each of the students/alumni and a spokesperson from The Open University Business School.

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