2013 Scholarship Award Events

The dinner tableThe 2013 Award Events—AGM, The Insiders View and the Award Dinner—were held at The Hotel Windsor Melbourne on May 27 with almost 60 people attending, including the Scholarship Board, Patron John McFarlane, the three finalists, and Alumni, partners and guests.

Annual General Meeting

Stephen Williams (MBA 1993) reported on his first full year as President and progress against the three priorities laid out in his speech in May 2012:

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

On items 2 & 3 Stephen reported substantial progress – greatly renewed activity levels for the NSW alumni in particular, and successful brand building activities through the President’s Lunches held in Melbourne & Sydney in Feb 2013.

For item 1 and the topic of Deductible tax status for donations (DGR), the news was more challenging. Despite face-to-face meetings with Treasury to persuade them of the merits of our cause, it has been made clear that, given the current fiscal environment, our chances of obtaining DGR status are remote and any renewed efforts are only likely to succeed should there be a major change in policy i.e. a change in government. Whilst the level of donations from Alumni is steadily increasing, we are not yet fully self-sustaining. Therefore fundraising options and approaches without the “tail wind” of tax deductability will be a major focus for 2013-4. Further details can found in the Fifth AGM minutes and 2012 Annual Report .

Stephen thanked retiring Secretary Alpa Parekh (MBA 1999) and QLD Board Member Alex Livingstone  (MBA 1989) and welcomed incoming board members Mariee Durkin-Beech (Secretary), Todd Myers (2010 Scholar) as QLD Board Member and Anna Baggoley (2011 Scholar) who, newly based in London will be able to act as our link person to Cranfield. Stephen also thanked John McFarlane (MBA 1975), Patron of the Scholarship Foundation without whose support we would never have got off the ground all those years ago.

The Sixth AGM will be held in Sydney at The Langham Hotel, The Rocks in May 2014 (on Monday – final date TBC)


The Insider’s View – “Dealing in drugs – following the money trail in Australia’s $10billion drug trade”

Simon Bunde (MScL 1992)Simon Bunde (MSc-L 1992)General Manager, Group Operations & Strategy at Symbion provided a briefing to the Alumni and guests on a vital, but rarely explored aspect of Australia’s health industry – the complexities of dealing in drugs.

How is it possible to provide the logistics capability which can supply batch sizes of many items, down to single items, all around Australia, on an overnight basis, for unpredictable demand, which walks into a pharmacy with a doctor’s script?

Simon unravelled the intricacies and challenges associated with the distribution of Ethical and Over-The-Counter medicines to retail pharmacies and hospitals across Australia.

Following the money trail, he looked at how government funding resolves market failure whilst, at the same time, maintaining a competitive market place in Australia.  Simon outlined how technology and automation changes to the drug supply chain can contribute to getting customers “hooked”.

Simon graduated from Cranfield with a Masters degree in Logistics and Distribution in 1992 and, since 2004, has held the position of General Manager Group Operations & Strategy at Symbion.  As one of Australia’s largest pharmaceutical wholesalers, Symbion employs a workforce over 1000 and has sales in excess of A$3.5 billion annually.  The challenge of servicing some 1,500 to 2,000 retail pharmacies and hospitals on a daily basis with their Ethical and Over-The-Counter supplies is facilitated by Symbion’s extensive distribution network.

For this session, Simon drew upon his extensive experience in logistics and a very deadpan sense of humor.

As one attendee said “This talk was so good you should run it again.”   So we plan to repeat it later in the year for those alumni who were unable to attend.


The Grand Ballroom, The Hotel Windsor

Annual Dinner and Awards Presentation

Following the Insider’s View, the group then moved into The Grand Ballroom of The Hotel Windsor for pre-dinner drinks and canapés.

We managed to collect new faces for the gathering (by virtue of our LinkedIn campaign to find and connect to Alumni) and welcomed the old ones – some of whom hadn’t been seen at an event for quite a few years. The room provided a gorgeous backdrop for the evening. The Windsor Hotel is part of Melbourne’s history and will make a good future “home” for the Melbourne award dinners.

Anna Baggoley & Colin SquiresAnna Baggoley (2011 Scholar) was able to delay her departure to the UK so as to attend the dinner. In keeping with our new tradition – that Scholars act as Master of Ceremonies for the dinner each year, Anna welcomed the John and his partner Annie, the Alumni, guests, this year’s finalists and then spoke about the enormous effect that winning the Scholarship in 2011 and her year at Cranfield has had on her career and outlook.

Again, following traditions established in previous years, the first seat move mixed up the tables. As per usual, with a group of highly educated and highly intelligent people, the first seat move  created chaos and the second one repeated it.

Thence on to the presentation of awards. Anna invited John McFarlane to present the awards for 2013 to:

Daniel's acceptance speech

Daniel George, a research economist  with Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, was announced as winner of the Seventh Cranfield Australian Alumni Scholarship, 2013.

Grace Lai

Grace Lai, Neuro-Surgical Assistant with the Royal Melbourne Hospital (aka- brain surgeon!) and Kevin Ha, Associate Director, Commonwealth Bank of Australia were both awarded Outstanding Candidate Awards by the School of Management.

Each recipient gave a short acceptance speech, which allowed the alumni and guests to see for themselves just how impressive this year’s finalists were (and reminded all involved that seeing such high quality finalists is the reward for all the hard work of running the Scholarship).

Kevin HaJohn McFarlane then gave his annual speech. Again, as per tradition, his advice to the new MBA students was to treat the course “like a job” and work “sensible hours 9 till 6 and not on the weekends.” Every year this advice raises wry smiles on the face of the Alumni who have survived the Cranfield Experience.

John then went on to talk about the importance of approaching thinking with structure – “If you do that I guarantee that you will easily be amongst the top students on the course”. Sage advice indeed. No doubt, when these students return in 2014, they will report on whether they paid any attention…

Each year, at the dinner, we play a video  message from previous year’s winner & finalists. Each year the challenge is to be bigger and better  and David, Ash and Ben did not disappoint.

Finally, Stephen Williams, President of the Foundation gave a short speech of thanks. The McFarlane Dollar was awarded 2013 to Phil Reid for his excellent efforts in reinvigorating the NSW Alumni activities and expanding the reach of the alumni community in Australia through LinkedIn.

Graham Baws was awarded the President’s Award for his behind the scenes work as Treasurer, something that entails many hours of dedicated effort and is a responsibility often noticed only when it fails to be done well.

And there ended a great evening.

The next Award Dinner will be held in Sydney at The Langham Hotel in May 2014.

2013 Award event photos