Leadership Awards 2015

Student Leadership Award 2015

The winner of the 2015 GBF Student Leadership Award was Alexander Brown from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). During his tenure as President of the Tepper Graduate Business Association his team developed two initiatives called CMU Idea Market place and CMU Idea Space to increase the amount of collaboration and knowledge transfer among graduate schools at Carnegie Mellon.

The first initiative, CMU Idea Marketplace, was to develop a committee of two students from each graduate program. The committee acts as a graduate student think-tank, focusing to identify broad student and administrative level institutional changes that need to be put into place to increase interactions across programs, help implement cultural change and encourage collaborative behavior. Main goal is to develop a series of informational events throughout the year whereby student organizations and faculty are openly invited to present subject matters to the whole student body (grads and undergrads) at CMU.

The second initiative, CMU Idea Space, was to develop a campus-wide competition that brought together graduate students to compete by developing socially-motivated solutions to emerging societal issues. Teams had three days to form interdisciplinary teams and fully develop and present their issues and proposed solutions. The competition was judged by local professionals, government officials and university representatives. Winners won monetary prizes and an opportunity to partner with the Forbes Fund, a local non-profit incubator.

Main challenges during the implementation of these projects were the funding, recruitment of team members in the graduate school and leadership. Funding was covered by a grant received from CMU President’s office; team members were actively recruited by Alex and his team among the other Graduate schools, with a special focus on the initiatives continuity and legacy; and the leadership challenge was solved by Alex himself who developed his leadership skills with help of his mentor and introduced an innovative management style based on Project Management philosophy. Nevertheless Alex did not lose sight that it was a campus collaboration and made sure that decision making was shared and vetted.

Alexander Brown and his team showed that cross-collaboration is possible in a top University like CMU, and create a more enriching experience for MBA students who learn how to form successful multidisciplinary teams and help to transform ideas into reality.

Responsible Leadership Award 2015

The National University of Singapore (NUS) MBA Social Impact Club received the 2015 GBF Responsible Leadership Award for their efforts to provide a sustainable water source for victims of Typhoon Haya in the Philippines, in partnership with the local NGO SIBAT.

The NUS MBA Social Impact is the primary avenue for members of the MBA cohort to make a difference in society. Rooted in its core values of Awareness, Sustainability, Education, and Empowerment, the club strives to create events and initiatives that advocate these ideals, in line with the skills and capabilities of aspiring future business leaders. Current members Julian Ragragio, Marco Alfonso Ordonez, Ashima Chadhary Wadhawan and Adrian Moses Albano, took the challenge and decided to work in conjunction with SIBAT in the small municipality of Tolosa, in the Philippines; to provide reliable, safe and adequate access to clean water.

Within the municipality, six towns have been prioritized for water supply system rehabilitation. Of the sites identified, one town, comprising of 150 households, has been selected to spearhead the overall project. The proposed solar water supply system will utilize a submersible pump that is capable of producing upwards of 20,000 liters of water per day through a solar generator. Aside from the solar water pump system, other components such as piping and tap stands will be installed. This system will have sufficient capacity to deliver water for all 150 households, Once the team has succeeded in implementing their pilot project, they will move towards implementing similar solar pump systems for five other sites.

One of the main challenges the NUS Social Impact Club team had to face was to gain the trust of the NGO SIBAT in order to establish a cooperation framework between both partners. Through their first meeting, the team was able to articulate their backgrounds, business know-how, and most importantly, their passion to make a difference. In the end, the team gained their confidence to proceed with the partnership and worked towards raising funds. The new partners won the Sky Grant last March, which is sponsored by the French oil giant TOTAL, through a very challenging process and without actually being present in the final project pitching in Paris!

The NUS MBA Social Impact club found a winning formula to partner students with an NGO, in order to develop in conjunction a social project where they can use their knowledge and skills to make a difference and give back to society.