Prestigious 2019 Graduate Business Forum Leadership Awards bestowed upon students from Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and University of Toronto Rotman School of Management

Students from Cornell SC Johnson College of Business (Cornell), University of Toronto Rotman School of Management (Rotman), Instituto de Empresa (IE), National University of Singapore Business School (NUS), Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and Washington University Olin Business School (Olin) have walked away with top honours for their contributions to the areas of student government, responsible leadership and sustainability at this year’s annual global conference (GBC2019) of the Graduate Business Forum (GBF), hosted by ESCP Europe Business School at their Paris campuses.

Over 100 elected student government leaders and alumni drawn from the top 75 global business schools and MBA programs around the world met in Paris at ESCP Europe Business School campuses from April 2-6 to share best practices on student government, global views on responsible leadership and learn from global business and industry leaders.

Wieteke Dupain, GBF CEO, opened the evening together with Frank Bournois, Dean of ESCP Europe and Leon Laulusa, Executive vice president.

Thierry Michels, elected politician in the French National Assembly and Christian Mouillon, President of ESCP Europe Foundation, Global Senior Advisor at Duff & Phelps and former Global Vice Chairman at EY inspired the 2019 GBF Leadership Awards Commemorative Banquet audience with their keynotes reflecting back on the key conference themes (diversity & inclusion, humanistic leadership & the circular economy and entrepreneurship & innovation) and sharing insights on the important role of education and (young) responsible leaders to drive positive change.

The 2019 GBF Leadership Awards, in honour of this years’ student leadership excellence and achievements, were presented by Jim Deveau, GBF Founder.

Symone Williams & Harrison Jobe from Cornell were presented with the GBF 2019 Student Leadership Award for their vision and achievements in developing a cohort system for the entire Cornell MBA program aimed at creating stronger bonds between students of diverse backgrounds.

They divided the MBA program students into 6 cohorts through an intentionally diverse matching process that has led to a strengthened sense of community and has created a more inclusive community for all students.

Symone and Harrison attended last year conference GBC 2018 in Copenhagen where they were able to network with schools which have successfully implemented cohort systems and learn more about the topic, back at Cornell they kept in contact with their GBC2018 network and managed to interview several student leaders, perform analysis and benchmarking which were used to influence students and faculty and build the Cohort System from the ground up with proven strategies and insights.


MBA student Vanessa Matos Tudela from Rotman received the GBF 2019 Responsible Leadership Award for her vision and leadership establishing sustainability as a core pillar within the Rotman MBA.

In a program that is typically heavily oriented towards Finance and Consulting, Vanessa saw the growing need to embed sustainability, not only as a standalone practice, but as a deep-rooted philosophy within the core MBA program.

As a result of her strong leadership, she and her team were able to fundamentally change the landscape at Rotman with respect to sustainability with the following three initiatives.

The team organized the inaugural Rotman Sustainability Conference. Secondly, for the first time in its history, Rotman introduced an elective course focused on Impact Investing and Responsible Finance and a full-term course titled “Social Value and Impact Investing”. Last but not least, Rotman organized its first time Impact Investing case competition.

Finalist Shikha Malhotra, a current student from NUS MBA program, was awarded a special recognition for starting the conversation at her school on women leadership in technology, challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, role of men in alleviating unconscious bias in the workspace and the gender-based career mentoring gap.

Together with her team she founded the inaugural NUS MBA Conclave in January 2019 on the international theme of #BalanceforBetter.

Another finalist Captain Prashant Widge from the CBS Executive MBA in Shipping and Logistics obtained a special recognition for his work on designing, implementing and leading A. P. Moller – Maersk Responsible Ship Recycling Program in India.

The programme mission is to radically transform the global ship-recycling industry by implementing responsible practices, greater transparency and creating benefits for workers, environment as well as encouraging responsible shipyards and ship-owners.

Additionally, he has led several initiatives to improve the working and living conditions of shipyard workers like proper housing, competitive salaries and in collaboration with the Indian Red Cross Society, Indian government and industry-specific stakeholders the launch of the Mobile Health Unit aimed at improving access to health care services.

IE Business School MBA students Antoine Moyroud and Abhyudaya Choumal were recognized for their work on leading the IE Big Data Club and transform it into the largest IE club, 2800+ members, and the creation of the TechIE conference, one of the biggest technology conferences organized by students in Europe. Moreover, Antoine and Abhyudaya have managed to keep students interest in the club by running weekly events ranging from keynote speakers to free workshops for students who want to level up their technical knowledge.

Angela Lu current president of the Graduate Business Association of the Olin Business School and finalist, was recognized for her assistance to the Graduate Programs Office with the redesign of Gateway Olin (GO!) Olin’s yearly orientation program for incoming MBAs. Her vision led to the incorporation of an entire day focused on global and domestic diversity and inclusion, as well as an intensive case competition during which each of the incoming MBA students worked with a core group of three to four other students to create a "welcome to St. Louis" marketing video. Angela is also the co-creator of “Fail Better” conference roundtables where alumni reflect on how failure is an opportunity for growth and a vehicle for personal development.

GBF Founder Jim Deveau said:

“These students are true exemplars and role models for global Business School students and communities on how vision, tenacity, creativity in approach and definite leadership can make a real difference 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 and 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.”

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