Awarding the best in business

The outstanding contributions of Melbourne Business School’s Alumni community were front and centre at the 2016 Annual Alumni Dinner.
Held at the Melbourne Town Hall on 6 October, more than 300 people gathered to celebrate the achievements of their fellow alumni, reconnect with their with classmates and network with special guest and keynote speaker, Karen Stocks, Managing Director at Twitter Australia.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Two alumni received the Distinguished Alumni Award, presented in recognition of their professional achievements and service to society, especially where it is clear that Melbourne Business School (MBS) made a significant contribution to that success.

Paul Cross (MBA 1997) and Paul Wappett (MBA 2002), both spoke to the impact their MBAs at MBS had on their career directions.

Paul Cross said he hoped his more “unusual” career path after his MBA almost 20 years ago had much in common with what graduates are facing today.

Having worked his way up from the mail room at an advertising agency to becoming a successful serial entrepreneur, Paul said he was thrilled to be recognised by his peers with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

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After receiving his MBA, Paul moved into the software sphere and sold his email service provider company eServices to Responys, a major Silicon Valley Company in 2011. He is recognised as one of the leading pioneers of digital marketing in Australia.

“In some ways that career path represents what many of the students will find themselves going through. Very different, circuitous paths, joining companies that don’t even exist by the time they graduate and ending up successful,” he said.

Currently Group Vice President, Customer Success, Oracle Marketing Cloud, ANZ, Asia and Japan, Paul said his time at MBS gave him the space to think about his next direction.

“The most important time it gave me was time to think about what the next stage of my career was going to be.”

“I always wanted to do something of my own and to attempt that, whether I thought I’d be successful or not, particularly when you’re younger you don’t think about that, you just think about what you want to do and achieve.”

Likewise, Paul Wappett has found himself on a different career track since he completed his MBA and said he considered himself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in interesting jobs.

His award was in recognition of his exceptional business experience and contribution to society as a values-driven CEO and role as President of the Board of Berry Street, which helps vulnerable children across Victoria.

His first role following his MBA was as Chief Commercial Officer at AFL club, the Western Bulldogs. From there Paul, who was a lawyer prior to the MBA, went on to work as the Executive General Manager of Strategy at CPA Australia and is currently the CEO of Open Universities Australia.

“I spent a lot of time through the MBA program and since, trying to work out ‘do I really want to be in an organisation that is just about profit for the sake of delivering shareholder return or do I want to do something that actually  helps the world in some sort of way?’,” Paul said.

“So I’ve been able to navigate this nice little mixture of being able to do work that is about dismantling structural disadvantage but in a commercial context and that’s something came very much from my MBA experience.”

Outstanding Recent Alumni Award

Combining business acumen and improving the community is also something Outstanding Recent Alumni Award recipient Libby Ward-Christie (MBA 2006) has dedicated herself to post-MBS.

Libby, who is the Head of Investment and Advisory at Social Traders, a ground breaking social enterprise development organisation, said all the things she learned in an MBA were just as applicable to solving big entrenched social problems as they were to the more commercial sector.

“This award is a great recognition that we’re all in this together and that MBS and an MBA is actually about shared value and society as a whole,” she said.

Alumni Service Award

The Alumni Service Award recognises the contributions of alumni volunteers in the time recipients give to supporting the MBS community.

This comes in various guises and the three 2016 award recipients have each contributed in invaluable ways.

Enrico Rizzon (MBA 1999) dedicates time and financial contributions to the enrichment of MBS’s Centre for Business Analytics and Master of Business Analytics (MBusA) program.

Enrico, a partner at AT Kearney, was instrumental in establishing a scholarship, awarded to a student for the MBusA program. He is also Chair of the Centre’s advisory board and mentors students, among many other activities he does for the School.

Professor Ujwal Kayande, Director of the Centre for Business Analytics said Enrico was an exceptional and tireless advocate for Melbourne Business School.

“Enrico’s actions continue to exemplify that he is indeed a role model for the alumni community,” Professor Kayande said.

Enrico said the award also represented “a lot of folk” within AT Kearney, MBS and the advisory board for the Centre of Business Analytics.

“All whom who have contributed in an unselfish way to a greater cause,” Enrico said.

Moh Rahman (MBA 2012) has been active in the alumni community since he graduated and received an Alumni Service Award in recognition of his efforts and time working with the Alumni Relations Team to develop and implement strategies to connect with recent graduates.

“I’m very humbled to receive this award,” Moh said.

“I think it’s a great recognition of my passion for the School.”

Moh, an End-to-End Operations Lead at Telstra, said he also wanted to thank and recognise the Class Ambassadors for reaching out to their friends and networks to try and create advocacy for the School.

Seema Khehar (MBA 1996) has also been recognised with an Alumni Service Award for her work whilst living in London to establish the London Alumni of MBS (LAMBS) in 2000. Seema also established a relationship with the Australian High Commission in London, which led to events hosted at Australia House and connecting with other Australian alumni groups in the capital.

Now based in Johannesburg, Seema, who has worked in senior roles in banking for Barclays and ABSA and is a director of her own consultancy, said she had some of her best days at MBS.

“The whole experience was very fulfilling and that’s why I keep engaged with the School and keep working with the School,” Seema said.

Read about more of our inspiring alumni community on our news page or find out more about where an MBA can take your career via our Education page.