General
27 Jun 2016

Exceptional student and alumni achievements honoured at The Open

The highest achieving students and alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to an organisation or society have been commended at the 13th annual Open University Business School awards. Among the winners were a publishing manager, retail banker, civil servant and an independent public nurse.

The winners were congratulated by Professor Rebecca Taylor, Executive Dean of The Open University Business School for their commitment, dedication and unrivalled determination: It was a privilege to meet so many of our talented students and alumni, and to celebrate their successes and achievements during the Awards ceremony. With over 27,000 students per year, in over 80 countries across the world, our winners are the highest achievers in their qualification which is an exceptional reflection of their calibre, their hard work and their determination. I wish all the winners my warmest congratulations on their achievements”.
The award winners were:

MBA Student of the Year was awarded to Giles Nightingale. After 16 years in the Civil Service, Giles joined ‘Metro’, the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority in Leeds, to lead its business planning, HR, health and safety and other corporate functions relating to organisational development. He found the MBA course immensely fulfilling, particularly in the application of management concepts to real-world management situations.

The BA (Hons) in Business Studies Student of the Year was given to Louise Rowllings. Louise commenced her degree course in 2009, supported by her employer who agreed to provide financial sponsorship, as well as study leave for exam preparation. At the time, Louise was working as an internal audit manager, which gave her exposure across a wide range of departments in her organisation and also involved a degree of travel around the UK and Ireland. Using the distance learning materials and online forums, Louise was able to fit her studies around her busy work life.

Professional Certificate in Management Student of the Year was received by Eve Stewart. The knowledge Eve gained from her study allowed her to better manage and understand workplace situations throughout her career. She says that colleagues have noticed a change in her since starting studying. She is more confident in putting ideas forward and making decisions.

Professional Certificate in Accounting Student of the Year was presented to Rachel Falkus. Rachel currently works in finance team for Wiltshire Council. She said that the Professional Certificate in Accounting has significantly helped her in her current role. Rachel graduates at the OU degree ceremony in Exeter on 24 June.

Heather Henry, received the honour of Alumna of the Year Award for her contribution towards society. Heather has focused on social innovation and new approaches to help the most disadvantaged in society. She works in partnership with communities across the UK to build community spirit and help local people to help themselves.Heather is a trustee for an award-winning Greater Manchester charity CALLPlus.

Rachel Blackburn, founder of business consultant us2u was ‘Highly commended’ in the alumni awards category. Rachel started her career in the Financial Services industry. Having found out she had a flair for coaching and that there was life after pensions she moved into Management Consultancy. Reflecting on her time as a student she said the MBA taught a lot about herself in terms of time management, project management, prioritise and personal determination.

Others who were highly commended included Nils Clausnitzer, helped develop his organisation to become a profitable company in their field of healthcare; Julian Elliott, Operations Director at Gold-i Ltd. and Roy Harold, Assistant Director for Fire & Community Resilience at Norfolk County Council.

Previous award winners have included Group Managing Editor at the Press Association, Managing Director the UK Branch of a German high-tech logistics company and the first female General Manager in the history of Mori Seiki the Japanese machinery company.

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