2012 Scholarship Award events

The 2012 Award Events—AGM, The Insiders View and the Award Dinner—were well attended by over 50 alumni, partners and guests.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

There were some notable changes at this year’s AGM for the Foundation. After completing his President’s report, Steve Wood (EMBA 1994), second President of the Scholarship Foundation, handed over the baton after 3 years in the President’s role to Stephen Williams (MBA 1993). Alex Chapman (MBA 1988) Vice President, thanked Steve for his contribution, not just as President, but for being one of the stalwarts from the early days and for progressing the Foundation through its “getting organised” phase.

Alex made the point that this year, 2012, seven years from when work started in late 2005, was the year when the Scholarship finally got significant momentum and is now well positioned for Stephen Williams as incoming President to grow the Scholarship and Cranfield brand in Australia.

The Annual Report and Minutes (when available) can be downloaded .

The Fifth AGM will be held in Melbourne in May 2013.

The Insider’s View on “Australia’s Infrastructure Deficit: the problem and possible solutions”

Stephen Williams (MBA 1993) presented to the Alumni and guests on the important topic of Australia’s infrastructure deficit and possible reforms.

Until recently, Stephen lead Royal Bank of Scotland’s Investment Banking business in Australia, a business he started virtually from scratch in 1999, with just 3 employees operating from a hotel room  and which grew, after merging with ABN AMRO in 2008, into a combined business with a top five market position, with more than 600 employees and revenues in excess of A$800million annually. Stephen is also as member and contributor to Federal Minister Anthony Albanese’s Infrastructure Finance Working Group – a body designed to strengthen Infrastructure Australia and improve its ability to fund and finance Australian’s infrastructure needs.

The infrastructure sector is an area in which Stephen has been active for much of his working career – both directly in industry and as a financier  & banker.  The extent of investment shortfall in Australia’s infrastructure needs is widely reported as approaching $750bn across all the critical sectors including urban transportation and other social infrastructure categories. Drawing on his experience in the sector, Stephen outlined the issues and possible solutions.  Questions and discussion continued for nearly 2 hours before the session ran out of time, finally closing just before 6pm in order for the Board to greet the arriving dinner guests.

Annual Dinner and Awards Presentation

Alpa Parekh (MBA 1999), Charlie Honner (MBA 2011), Mark Ellis (MOD MBA 2003)Alumni, partners and guests gathered in The Drawing Room for pre-dinner drinks and canapes before moving into The Orient Room for dinner, which gave everyone time to meet our Sixth Scholar David Scollon, and the two TwentyTwelve Scholarship awardees Ben Elias and Aashlesha Venkatachalam.

Fortunately David’s (very) pregnant wife Rebecca managed to delay having her baby (no.1) on the night, instead lasting another 2 weeks before producing Dougal Xavier Fee Scollon.  Instead, Rebecca got to practise on Todd and Alison Myers’ baby (no.2) who had a excellent time being passed around the alumni and who was far better behaved and far less noisy than many of the adults. Alison Myers provided helpful advice on family expansion possibilities during the MBA year.  Graham Baws (MBA 1979) suggested that MBA must stand for Many Babies Arrive as the CAASF baby tally is now up to three, soon to be four with the arrival of Davina and Robert Milagre’s baby (no.1).

Todd Myers (MBA 2011), our Fourth Scholar 2010 and the Ford Prize winner 2011, was Master of Ceremonies for the evening and did an excellent job.  As in past years, the two seat changes (guided by the coloured chocolates) created an astonishing amount of chaos but ensured that everyone got the chance to move around the room to catch up with new and old friends.

Steve Wood provided a short introduction speech to provide context for the awards:

  1. “Cranfield School of Management in the UK is one of the best business schools in the world.
  2. It is consistently rated highly in independent rankings by such organizations as The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine and The Economist.  For instance The Wall Street Journal ranked the Cranfield’s MBA programme in the top three world-wide in its list of one year accelerated MBA programmes.
  3. It is difficult to win a place at Cranfield. Each year the school is over-subscribed many times – indeed the School of Management tell us that they could completely fill the course just with the applications from the Asia Pacific region alone.  But maintaining diversity across the globe is important. For that we’d like to see more Australians.
  4. For the people who do manage to win a place, the “Cranfield Experience” of building business skills, competencies, self-awareness and confidence are invaluable… And some very talented people go onto achieve very great things, and others of us (mere mortals) manage to become senior managers, directors and  owners in our own right in a wide range of businesses and organisations.  Just look at LinkedIn to see what I mean.
  5. In Australia there are just over 200 Cranfield Alumni that we know of; 55 are members of the Cranfield Australian Alumni Scholarship Foundation Inc.  Membership of the Foundation is by dint of graduating from the School of Management or by donation.  We accept both types of members.
  6. We commenced work on the Scholarship in 2005 as a way of enabling the alumni to meet and work together; and as a way of giving back and helping the next generations to have the same chance that we had. We have already been able to send nine talented people to Cranfield since 2007.
  7. Today we are celebrating the success of three “talented Australians; who are passionate about Australia and want to contribute to its future.”  That is the key phase which we are emphasising – “talented Australians; who are passionate about Australia and want to contribute to its future.”  In total after today, that now makes twelve we have helped to study at Cranfield .
  8. The Scholarship winner has their tuition fees paid by Cranfield, currently GBP33,000 (approx. A$50,000) plus they receive cash of A$20,000 for use towards educational expenses.  This makes it the most valuable Scholarship available to Australians in Australia and exceeds the value of scholarships offered by the Sir John Monash Foundation or the Fulbright Foundation available for study at Harvard.
  9. Occasionally the School of Management offer, at their discretion, FeeShare awards for talented candidates.  In the room tonight we have Charlie Honner, MBA 2011 who received one in 2010.  This year, 2012, Cranfield has decided to match the theme of the 2012 Olympics.  They are offering twenty awards of GBP12,000 around the world to talented applicants.  We are very pleased that we have two of those TwentyTwelve winners in the room tonight.”

Steve then handed back to MC Todd Myers to introduce John McFarlane (Patron) to present the three awards:

David Scollon (Sixth Cranfield Australian Alumni Scholarship, 2012) – was presented with a crystal clock to help him with his time keeping on the course.

Ben Elias and Aashlesha Venkatachalam were presented certificates in recognition of their TwentyTwelve Scholarships.

John then took the opportunity to provide words of sage advice, suggesting that the three about-to-be-MBA-students should treat their studies “like a job” rather than working all hours, seven days a week. Unquestionably, John’s advice will ignored.

Alex Chapman then introduced “The McFarlane Dollar”, a new perpetual award for “Outstanding Contribution” and announced Kim Parish (MBA 1990) as the first winner and custodian for her sterling efforts in improving the screening,  interview and selection process for the Scholarship winner. Alex explained that the award all started with a bet, which John McFarlane lost! Read more…

Each year, the video message we get from last year’s winner is a big hit and Anna Baggoley’s video kept up the excellent tradition.




Steve Wood then made his final speech as the outgoing President, expressing the hope that everyone had had a fun evening, before making a number of points:

“As a lad at school in the UK, I used to have to attend “Speech Day” every year.  For a 12-15 year old, it was all a bit boring, as I did not really understand what was going on. As I grew up a little I recognised that the purpose of the event was not really about speeches as such, but much more of about ‘public recognition of great or outstanding efforts.’ As a Scholarship Foundation and Alumni group, we are a voluntary organisation and rely upon the voluntary contributions; gifts and support work from our alumni community and others. So as immediate past President for three years, I’d like to publically recognise and say thank you to:

  1. John McFarlane for being our Patron – for helping us to get started and for his ongoing support.
  2. To all the CAASF board for their ongoing commitment and efforts.
  3. To all those who have provided support so that we can send talented Australians on their way and contribute to Australia’s future when they return.”

Steve then presented last award of Recognition of the evening – the President’s Award (which he realised he had forgotten to point out to incoming President Stephen Williams “is funded by the President”) and which is awarded to the person showing “exceptional dedication, commitment and support for CAASF.” Steve presented the Award to Alex Chapman (MBA 1988) for her efforts in working tirelessly to manage the candidate pipeline. Read more…

Steve’s final words were a thankyou to all of the alumni “for being part of our alumni community and working to make it stronger in whatever way you can and a request.” He asked Alumni to consider three things:

“In particular, please mention your Cranfield links whenever you can.  The more exposure and visibility that we can achieve increases the brand and value of your Cranfield MBA. Secondly, please keep a look out for talented candidates. Be part of the community in whatever way you can.”

Steve then asked incoming President Stephen Williams to say a few words – which were thankfully short and to the point. Stephen outlined his three priorities:

1. To get funding independence and deductible tax status for donations
2. Build the scholarship and Cranfield brand
3. Alumni engagement, especially in New South Wales

There ended the formal part of the evening. The last stragglers were evicted when the Bar closed.

All in all it was a good night.

The next Award Dinner will be held in Melbourne in May 2013.

2012 Photos