2009 President’s Report, Stephen Wood
This calendar year we have seen Robert Milagre, winner of the 2nd Cranfield Australian Alumni Scholarship (CAAS) and Chris Tredwin, Fee Share scholarship winner, 2008, finish their MBAs at Cranfield, and to help Damini Singh, winner of the 2009 3rd CAAS, on her way to England.
Our strategy has been simple. We aim to increase the exposure of the Cranfield Scholarship brand throughout Australia and to find and select at least one talented candidate to send to Cranfield for the one-year MBA Programme.
We have found that the marketing process we use to promote the Scholarship is vital for building awareness and interest. Since the founding of the scholarship in 2006, a key factor has been the leveraging of our “viral” email campaign to excellent effect.
We updated the constitution to make it easier and quicker for people to become members; to simplify the process of ceasing membership and to show that there are no fees for joining or being a member. When we incorporated the Foundation in 2008, we had 9 members, by June 2008 we had grown to 26 members, and by the AGM in 2009 we had a total of 35 members. However, the aim is to be inclusive, so whenever we send out communications we deliberately send them to the wider Australian Alumni community with a view to including everyone. For those who wish to become members please contact us.
As I write this in March 2010, I am happy to report that both Robert and Chris have now completed their MBA studies and already been able to benefit from the value of their MBA. Robert landed an international role with Amana Group, in the United Arab Emirates, as a Senior Sustainability Professional. Chris is now VP (Applications) at Swiss Re in Zurich, Switzerland. Well done to both of you! We look forward to the day when you return to Australia to complete the circle—Australian Alumni help new candidates who go onto do great things with their careers, and in turn help further talented people.
In May 2009, we announced Damini Singh as the year’s winner. Damini was, at 26 years, the youngest ever of our finalists. This did not stop her from impressing the board and collecting the winner’s prize. She is now midway through her MBA year at Cranfield and we will be monitoring her progress.
In September 2009, the Cranfield one-year MBA was ranked in the top three by the Wall Street Journal in its survey of the best accelerated MBA programmes world-wide. The ranking was based on how the programmes fared in surveys of students and alumni on criteria such as skills and leadership enhancement and alumni impact. Cranfield beat all Australian, all American and all other British schools to win that honour. This makes our job of answering the question “Why Cranfield” and “What do I get out of it at the end” so much easier to answer.
Our scholarship fund is not yet large enough to award each of the possible winners a full scholarship. One of our major tasks is to raise sufficient capital to ensure the continuing success of the scholarship. While we are working hard towards this goal, we will continue to seek the financial support of the Australian Alumni towards this challenge.
We are specially grateful to BHP Billiton for their generous donation of $25,000; as well as to the alumni who contributed $8300 by way of donations, through attending functions and buying Masterclass DVDs.
In the year, the board approved the change of financial year from 30 June to 31 December.
2009 has been a growth year for us. We have raised $33,000, improved our processes, gained a wider audience and have set the scene for further positive interaction between the Australian Alumni, Cranfield and the latent Australian talent.
Stephen Wood (EMBA, 1994) President