AMBA honours Business Schools and MBA students and graduates in Excellence Awards

Publication date: 08 February 2019
Article type: Press release

Alliance Manchester Business School, SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Indian Institute of Management Indore, Leeds University Business School, University of Bath School of Management, and QUT Graduate School of Business, have scooped coveted awards in the AMBA Excellence Awards 2019.

The AMBA Excellence Awards, which was held in London on 1 February 2019, sponsored by Liaison International and Unibuddy, celebrated the quality and achievements of post-graduate business education at the forefront of leadership excellence, recognising the talents and contributions made by AMBA-accredited Business Schools, their students and graduates. 

The ceremony was attended by 200 Business School leaders representing 46 Schools across the world, as well as category finalists, judges and members of the media. 

The winners in the AMBA Excellence Awards’ six categories were as follows: 

Business School Impact on Community and Society Award

Indian Institute of Management Indore (India) for its Rural Immersion Programme

Established in 1996, Indian Institute of Management Indore (IIM Indore) has been a leader in the field of management education, interfacing with the industry and government. 

IIM Indore seeks to be a contextually-relevant Business School with world-class academic standards that develops socially-conscious managers, leaders and entrepreneurs. 

IIM Indore’s community initiative focuses on its Rural Immersion Programme, a compulsory course for first-year MBAs. Students stay in rural villages for a full week to observe the challenges these communities are facing. Their findings are then collected, analysed and shared with state governments and UNICEF, in a bid to encourage corrective measures.

On winning the Award Rohit Kapoor, Associate Professor at IIM Indore, said: ‘This is a great honour for our Business School and will give us and the programme great visibility.’

Employer and Business School Partnership Award

Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester (UK), and Travis Perkins

Travis Perkins plc is the UK’s largest product supplier to the building, construction and home-improvement markets. Having grown through acquisitions in the past decade, the Group is now focused on growing organically through investing in more compelling customer propositions, optimising its network and using its scale advantage to improve returns for shareholders. This is complemented and supported by the MBA intern programme, and subsequent full-time hires, that the Group partners with Alliance Manchester Business School to deliver. 

The programme places high-quality individuals from diverse backgrounds into Travis Perkins’s mid-management level. 

Alliance Manchester Business School’s MBA Programmes Director, Xavier Duran said: “Thanks to both Travis Perkins for their amazing support to our students and programme; and to the Alliance Manchester Business School postgraduate careers service for continued outstanding work in fostering meaningful and valuable relationships with employers.”’

MBA Innovation Award, proudly sponsored by Liaison International

SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (India) for its Post Graduate Management Programme for Women 

SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) is a top-ranked School of management, headquartered in Mumbai. 

Designed in partnership with industry leaders, SPJIMR’s Post Graduate Management Programme for Women is an innovative 11-month course exclusively tailored for women on a career break who wish to return to work.

Among its first graduating cohort, 90% of students were placed with reputed organisations, in roles higher than their most-recent positions; and they achieved an average salary increase of more than 50%.

On winning the Award Dr Ashita Aggarwal, Professor of Marketing and Chairperson-PGMPW said: ‘This proves that business decisions can be taken from the heart as well. It takes a lot of perseverance for our participants to do a one-year, rigorous, fully-residential programme, leaving their kids and families back home.’

MBA Entrepreneurial Venture Award (private sector) 

Nathaniel Southworth, Leeds University Business School (UK) for KAP Toys Ltd 

Nathaniel is a graduate of Leeds University Business School, having completed its two-year EMBA programme. 

While completing his EMBA, he worked as a consultant for several businesses before setting up KAP Toys, which went on to acquire a toy company called Kids@Play. 

Nominated by his classmates as the ‘student most likely to become a billionaire’, Nathaniel believes that to build a successful long-term business, there must be a focus on sustainable profit and patience. In 2018, Kids@Play launched the ‘Real Talking Harry Potter Sorting Hat®’, which has increased turnover significantly, and has helped mark the business out as ‘one to watch’ within the UK toy industry.   

On winning the Award, Nathaniel Southworth said: ‘Thank you to AMBA and Leeds University Business School in particular for getting me through the MBA, which was really hard work while buying a company and doing a lot of hard graft to turn it around and make things happen. 

‘The Award makes a massive difference to my team.’

MBA Entrepreneurial Venture Award (not-for-profit sector)

Paul Quilliam, QUT Graduate School of Business (Australia) for Hummingbird House.

Paul Quilliam is an experienced Chief Executive and social entrepreneurial pioneer. He and his wife opened Hummingbird House, Queensland’s only children’s hospice, in 2016.

He has led every aspect of the Hummingbird House journey, from raising $20m AUS from donors and governments, to the design and construction of the hospice.

Paul holds an executive MBA (EMBA) from the QUT Graduate School of Business and is a member of the Queensland Justices Association, Mensa, the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation International Advisory Council, and the Fundraising Institute Australia. He is also an Executive Advisor to the QUT Executive MBA programme and Vice Chair of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network.

On winning the Award, Paul Quilliam said: ‘I’d like to congratulate all the other nominees for doing their bit to help create impact for making this place a better world. The great challenge now is how we can deliver, in a more entrepreneurial way, hospice services for children right across the globe for the estimated 21 million children that need a place like Hummingbird House.’

MBA Student of the Year Award

Ritika Israni, University of Bath School of Management (UK)

Ritika brings a truly unique and diverse perspective having lived in New York, New Delhi, Dubai and the UK.

During her MBA, Ritika was elected as the Academic Representative which gave her the opportunity to bring about a range of positive changes to the course.

Her commitment to society has been evident through her fundraising initiatives for Cancer Research UK and local cats and dogs’ homes. She has actively been engaged as a student ambassador in helping the University with recruitment at international fairs while voluntarily mentoring numerous peers and prospective students.

Ritika is engaged in the process of international expansion of her family business and also involved in setting up local charities for underprivileged citizens in India.

On winning the award, Ritika Israni said: ‘I consider myself very fortunate for being awarded The Women in Business Scholarship to study at of one of the most gender diverse programs globally. In fact, in 2018, The Bath MBA consisted of 53% women. Thus, I’d like to dedicate this to three very inspiring women: First and foremost, Veronica Hope Hailey, Dean of the School of Management at the University of Bath – she has been phenomenal throughout the year; my Director of Studies Deborah Lewis, whose been an incredibly supportive part of the journey; and my motivating mom who is currently in India wide awake at 4am waiting to hear if I have won this Award.

‘This will serve as a lifelong testament to the hard work, dedication and commitment I put in the last year. I am confident that AMBA will help me bridge the gap between where I am and where I want to go. So, here’s to going onwards and upwards.’

Andrew Main Wilson, CEO of AMBA and BGA, said: ‘On behalf of the AMBA and Business Graduates Association (BGA) team, I would like to congratulate the Finalists and Winners of this year’s AMBA Excellence Awards.

‘The quality of Award entries was once again very high this year and we are proud to celebrate the achievements and innovation so clearly evident in AMBA’s network of Schools and their students.

‘Thank you to our Partner, Liaison International and our Event Sponsor, Unibuddy for supporting this evening’s Gala Dinner and our prestigious Awards.’


Notes for editors

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Awards selection process

The Finalists list was shortlisted by AMBA’s senior management team. Our judges reviewed 27 shortlisted entries, selecting a Winner and, if appropriate, a ‘Highly Commended’ for each award. Our judging panel is made up of AMBA board members, business experts, Deans, and management leaders.

All of our judges were selected based on their experience and qualifications.

More information about the categories and complete list of the Winners, Highly Commended entries and Finalists

Employer and Business School Partnership Award

This award recognises organisations that share AMBA’s passion and have adopted a proactive, innovative approach to MBA attraction, recruitment, talent management, and succession planning.

It is open to any employer and Business School working strategically and collaboratively in terms of recruitment and talent development in the MBA arena.


  • Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester (UK) and Travis Perkins


  • IESA Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración, Institute of Advanced Management Studies (Venezuela) and Mondel─ôz Venezuela

Business School Impact on Community and Society Award

AMBA is thrilled to launch a new award for 2019. The Business School Impact on Community and Society Award will honour AMBA-accredited Business Schools that share AMBA’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and are passionate about making a difference.

The Award will recognise Business Schools that have taken the initiative in creating a sustainable future and teaching MBA students about social values and is a chance for AMBA-accredited Schools to stand out and showcase their innovative and original CSR programmes to the world.


  • Indian Institute of Management Indore (India) for its Rural Immersion Programme

Highly Commended

  • Copenhagen Business School (Denmark) for its Responsible Ship Recycling Programme at AP Moeller-Maersk


  • CENTRUM Graduate Business School, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (Peru) for CENTRUM Community and Society
  • Imperial College Business School (UK) for What the Tech?!
  • University of Exeter Business School (UK) for Developing Mindful Leaders in African Prisons

MBA Innovation Award, proudly sponsored by Liaison International

This prestigious award is a celebration of innovation and radical thinking in MBA delivery across all areas of the Business School and has been developed to recognise and reward brilliant new practices. It promotes the value of risk-taking in pursuit of the new.


  • SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (India) for Post Graduate Management Programme for Women


  • ESADE (Spain) for Rambla of Innovation
  • Hult International Business School (US) for Developing a Future Orientation: future mindset and exponential technology nano-courses
  • IEEM Escuela de Negocios, Universidad de Montevideo (Uruguay) for SOAR
  • Indian Institute of Management Indore (India) for Himalayan Outbound Programme
  • Mannheim Business School, University of Mannheim (Germany) for Innovative Leadership Module

MBA Entrepreneurial Venture Award

The award highlights the success of accredited Business Schools that promote the nature of entrepreneurship in MBA cohorts and a chance for individuals to impress high-profile business-leading judges at the forefront of global entrepreneurship.

MBA Entrepreneurial Venture (private sector)


  • Nathaniel Southworth, Leeds University Business School (UK) for KAP Toys Ltd

Highly Commended

  • Vitor Kneipp, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford (UK) for Banco Maré


  • Camilo Gómez Pinto, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow (UK) for Once Upon a Whisky
  • Gearóid O'Briain, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School (Republic of Ireland) for DroneSAR – Search and Rescue
  • Pablo Santiago Pereira, Universidad ORT Escuela de Postgrados y Ejecutivos (Uruguay) for Armor Bionics

MBA Entrepreneurial Venture (not-for-profit sector)


Paul Quilliam, QUT Graduate School of Business (Australia) for Hummingbird House


  • Aqila Choudhry, Leeds University Business School (UK) for Love in Care Limited
  • Stuart Garrett UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School (Republic of Ireland) for CHEEERS: Developing Healthcare Together
  • Olga Shitova, MIRBIS Moscow International Higher Business School (Russia) for Fund ‘White Iris’

MBA Student of the Year Award

 The MBA Student of the Year Award plays a pivotal role in supporting AMBA's pledge to promote the MBA's position as the leading international business qualification.


  • Ritika Israni, University of Bath School of Management (UK)

Highly Commended

  •  Kevin McDonagh, JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway (Republic of Ireland)


  • Marshall Hong Jen, The Chinese University of Hong Kong – CUHK Business School (Hong Kong)
  • Lucy Jun, ESADE (Spain)
  • Jenna Ross, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University (UK)

About AMBA and BGA

Spearheading excellence and trailblazing innovation, for more than 50 years AMBA has been the impartial authority on post-graduate management education. 

AMBA established that vision in 1967 and, in a volatile, uncertain world, it's as relevant today as it was then.

We are committed to raising the profile and quality standards of business education internationally, for the benefit of Business Schools, students and alumni, employers, communities and society. 

  • Our accreditation service is the global standard for all MBA, DBA and masters degrees, currently accrediting programmes from the top 2% of Business Schools in more than 75 countries
  • Our Research and Insight Centre produces a rich body of reports exploring global trends in the business education sector. This drives our global thought leadership and public affairs campaigns 
  • We are the only professional membership association that connects MBA students and graduates, accredited Business Schools and MBA employers throughout the world 
  • Through our members, AMBA is building an international force for good, championing best practice, responsible management and sustainability. Membership to AMBA means being part of an international community of peers with access to business strategy thought leadership, career advice and knowledge, and an MBA jobs portal

Our multi-award-winning events offer networking opportunities online and in person across all continents in association with international corporate partners and thought leaders exclusively for our members and accredited Business Schools

The Business Graduates Association (BGA) is an international membership and accreditation body of world-leading and high-potential Business Schools who share a commitment for responsible management practices and lifelong learning, and are looking to provide positive impact on their students, communities and the economy as a whole.

We offer:

  • Quality assurance services to Business Schools and similar institutions, aimed at continuous improvement and positive impact to increase a Business School’s credibility and influence
  • Consultation and mentorship services to Business Schools to improve their marketing and admissions, programme design, alumni interaction, teaching methods, and career development services
  • Award-winning international events for Business School professionals, focused on continuous learning
  • Student and graduate membership, which includes social networking events worldwide, professional development tools, a Career Development Centre, and much more
  • Leading and award-winning content on responsible management, professional and personal growth, and influence via the Business Impact content hub