Anna Baggoley, Fifth Scholarship winner 2011

anna-baggoley-caasfIt is hard to believe that it was just over two years ago that I was sitting in my office at Flinders Medical Centre when my manager came in and told me to check my emails – there was a scholarship she thought I might be interested in. As we read through the email together, my excitement grew. Together we printed out a map, found Cranfield, and drew a curly haired stick figure on it somewhere in the middle of England. Every day, I looked at that map as I studied for the GMAT and filled out in my application. Each and every day, my staff would come in, look at the map and quiz me for the GMAT.

Who knew that little map was going to turn into something so much bigger.

I was accepted into the Cranfield School of Management MBA program, and learned shortly after that I was fortunate enough to become the 2011 Cranfield Australian Alumni Scholar. Those two events changed my life forever. I had to organize leave from my substantive position, pack up a house, arrange bank accounts, accommodation, transport and of course the study visa. All this, not really knowing where it would lead.

I was reassured on meeting with Todd Myers (2010 Scholar) and his family and Charlie Honnor (2010 FeeShare Award winner) in London before the course began. They shared their experiences, and over coffee and a few laughs, I was filled with great expectations of what the year would bring.

Although I knew that I would emerge from the program with enhanced skills and knowledge, I simply wasn’t prepared for the personal growth that would result. The so-called “soft skills” are certainly among the greatest strengths of the program, and ones that I found to be the most challenging and rewarding.

It is without a doubt that my Cranfield Year was the most incredible year of my life – at times filled with challenges and obstacles, but always there was support, guidance and opportunities to find a new path. I threw myself in to everything that came my way, and was absolutely delighted to be awarded the Tasman Cup for “the person who contributed the most to the MBA”, as chosen by the student cohort.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have my eyes, and indeed world opened. I look back on my time at Cranfield, and cannot believe not only how much I managed to pack into one year, but also how much I have grown and changed in this time. I found new passions and interests, and indeed abilities that I never knew I had.

I finished my official time at Cranfield as co-lead of the Orientation program for the 2012-13 intake, and was thrilled to be able to spend some time with 2012 Australian representatives David, Ben and Aash (and of course David’s gorgeous baby Xavier). It was with immense pride that I introduced them to the school, and spent time with each of them, sharing fond memories of the scholarship process and the MBA – and I am confident they will all serve the Scholarship Foundation extremely well in their time at Cranfield.

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending The President’s Luncheon, hosted by Stephen Williams in Melbourne. At that Luncheon, all the alumni present spoke of their own incredible experiences, which have, no doubt, have aided them throughout their careers. It became very clear that my experiences of Cranfield are also shared by other alumni, and that there is something quite unique about the “Cranfield experience”.

I am now embarking on a new stage in my career, and will soon head back to the UK to commence work for Ernst and Young as a Manager in their Healthcare Advisory Division, working across the UK and Ireland. This is an opportunity that I would not have had without the support of the Cranfield Australian Alumni. I am incredibly grateful to the Alumni for providing this scholarship and supporting me throughout this experience, that has been, without any shadow of a doubt, life changing. This is indeed an amazing group of people who show enthusiasm and dedication to help others to experience this incredible opportunity.

Thank you,

Anna Baggoley March 2013