Prestigious 2020 Graduate Business Forum Leadership Awards bestowed upon student from National University of Singapore Business School

Students from the National University of Singapore Business School (NUS), Georgetown University McDonough School of Business (Georgetown), IE Business School (IE) and Indian School of Business (ISB) have been awarded top honours for their contributions to the areas of student government at this year’s Leadership Awards Ceremony, highlight event of the Virtual Graduate Business Conference (GBC) with the main topic “Leadership during a crisis” by the Graduate Business Forum (GBF).

More than 125 elected student government leaders and alumni drawn from 50 of the top business schools around the world had several virtual meetings from April 29-May 30 to connect with their peers across the world. They discussed their role as student leaders during the current crisis, shared best practices from their respective schools and engaged in networking and other knowledge sharing activities in a virtual format.

Shin Szedlak, GBF CEO, opened the event thanking the Schulich School of Business, University of York for their tremendous effort making the preparations for the Graduate Business Conference 2020, which sadly had to be cancelled this year due the COVID-19 Health emergency. He also farewelled the outgoing CEO of the GBF Wieteke Dupain who served the organization in this role for more than 5 years. She will stay with the GBF as a Board member.
Blair Lacorte President of AEye, former CEO of XOJET, “Innovator of the Year” by NASA and GBF Board member inspired the 2020 GBF Leadership Awards Ceremony audience with his keynotes on leadership and sharing insights on his career lessons learned.

The 2020 GBF Leadership Awards, in honour of this years’ student leadership excellence and achievements were presented by Jim Deveau Founder of the GBF.

MBA student Maria Katrina Enero Volante from NUS was presented with the GBF 2020 Student Leadership Award for her vision and leadership as the first female president of the NUS MBA Energy Club. Katrina developed a holistic and persuasive strategy which spurred interest among students with and without relevant energy industry background. Her strategy was hinged on 4Es:

  • Education – Increase awareness through the creation of the “Plug-In” brand and enhance understanding on trends and issues surrounding the energy landscape via Energy 101 sessions and participation in international conferences.
  • Ecosystem – Creation of the program “Power Moves” to cultivate strong ties among the NUS MBA students, alumni, other business schools “Energy Clubs” and industry experts via company visits and sourcing of potential internships/job opportunities for students
  • E-nnovation – Promote energy innovation (‘e-nnovation’) and foster an entrepreneurial mindset among energy industry enthusiasts via organization of the first regional CleanTech chapter in Singapore.
  • Equality – Advocate for diversity and inclusion in the energy industry, which has motivated more female MBA students to look for opportunities in the energy sector.

Callie Wilkinson and Demsas Gebrehewot from Georgetown McDonough School of Business were awarded a special recognition for their vision and determination to achieve the change of the Georgetown grade disclosing policy. After several failed attempts with past student government Presidents and Vice-Presidents, Callie and Demsas diligently worked with university administrators, faculty, career recruiters, and the student body to leave a permanent mark on the McDonough School of Business MBA Program with their persistence in bringing the grade non-disclosure norm to a passing student body vote. Additionally, they implemented a water conservation initiative to install more water bottle refill stations in the business school buildings.

Finalist Vamshi Shreyas Katta from Indian School of Business was recognized for his efforts to foster diversity and inclusion in his MBA program, through the formation of a student Committee which proposed changes that could be implemented across ISB campuses.

Fabia Richter and Tanvi Maniktala from IE Business School Net Impact Club were recognized for their innovative ways to transmit social responsibility and sustainability initiatives, moving from focusing independently on impact-related issues to a more collaborative process of awareness building and student engagement.

“These finalists are true role models for Business School students and stakeholders on how vision, persistence, innovation and definite leadership can make a real difference in the Business School communities and leave a lasting legacy to the benefit of all involved. Since the role of the GBF is to help graduate students and alumni to develop responsible leadership, global citizenship and drive positive change in management education, business and society, our global community of changemakers will continue to support these finalists and their causes in the future.” said Jim Deveau, Founder of the GBF.

About the Graduate Business Forum 

Established in 1983, the Graduate Business Forum (GBF) ( is a global educational international non-profit dedicated to developing responsible leadership, global citizenship and driving positive change in management education, business and society, through an exclusive network of student leaders and alumni from the world’s top 70 business schools.

The GBF runs a number of activities to support the development of leadership and innovation skills for business school students through newsletters, shared knowledge platforms and networking events including the annual Graduate Business Conference (GBC), hosted by one of the GBF member schools, drawn from the top 70 business schools and MBA programs globally.

Over the last 35+ years, the GBF has seen:

  • 36 Graduate Business Conferences (GBCs)
  • 30+ countries with participating business schools
  • 3,500+ participants in GBCs
  • 2,500+ Presidents of MBA student Governments, Councils, Boards and Associations 
  • 330+ speakers and mentors. C-suite corporate executives, government officials, renowned academics, best-selling authors, royalty, successful entrepreneurs, and investors who have contributed time and inspiration
  • 450+ forums and workshops helping inspire and empower future leaders by the exchange of leadership initiatives, improved organizational approaches for student governments, implementation of new student initiatives, and an increased consciousness towards responsible leadership and creating lasting change
  • Countless projects around the world fueled by inspirations from GBF participation that made a positive difference in the world

About the Student leadership Award

The global Student Leadership Award and Responsible Leadership Award are ways of recognizing the contributions that individual students and teams make to the development of their own schools and associated communities.

The Student Leadership Award was inaugurated in 1991 by the Board of Directors of the Graduate Business Forum to recognize leadership, innovation, and a commitment to the greater community at the graduate business level. The Responsible Leadership Award was inaugurated in 2011 to recognize exceptional sustainability and social responsibility initiatives that influence the greater community.

The nomination process spans the top 75 business schools and MBA programs worldwide and in the past influential leaders including CEOs, national government leaders and members of nobility have presented the Awards making them a noteworthy honor on the global stage.

The Awards are open to full‑time graduate business students of GBF member schools. The Awards are presented at the Leadership Awards Commemorative Banquet and Gala at the global, annual Graduate Business Conference.

For further information on the criteria and how to be nominated, as well as a list of previous winners, please visit:

For further information on the award winners or GBF:

Main Contact Persons:

Israel Cortes, VP Leadership Awards, Graduate Business Forum


Rocio Perez Jimenez, VP Leadership Awards, Graduate Business Forum


Jim Deveau, Founder, Graduate Business Forum


Shin Szedlack, CEO, Graduate Business Forum