AGSM’s Latest Scholarships Unlock MBAs For Exceptional Leaders

AGSM @ UNSW Business School has continued to support exceptional leaders and their pursuit of an MBA by awarding a number of new and inclusive scholarship programs.

The scholarships awarded this year were designed to help deliver a high quality MBA education to individuals from diverse backgrounds, and to provide support to those people in the early stages of their careers.

Neami National Project Manager Philippa Butt, was awarded the 2019 Emerging Female Leadership Scholarship to study a Full-Time MBA as a result of her tireless efforts coordinating non-profit initiatives.

2019 Emerging Female Leadership Scholarship recipient Philippa Butt

Ms Butt managed a team of 12 supporting more than 50 clients with severe and complex needs before becoming a Project Manager in the Business Opportunities and Development team.

She said she intended to use the skills and knowledge gained through her MBA to develop new insights about the social factors of health and the wellbeing of the most disadvantaged in society.

““When I moved to Sydney I started working in Merrylands supporting people living with severe mental illness,” Ms Butt said.

“This experience inspired me to think seriously about how I could use my skills to make real change within the community.

“My goal after the MBA is to establish a social enterprise that examines ‘wicked social problems’. I want to test new solutions that will capitalise on communities’ strengths, promote health and prevent trauma happening in Australian homes.”

In 2018, AGSM overhauled its recruitment and scholarship programs with a focus on attracting a more diverse cohort of high-quality MBA candidates. AGSM’s latest Full-Time MBA cohort is the first to include an equal number of male and female students and includes students from 18 different nationalities.

AGSM’s scholarship programs have also allowed students from the LGBTI community to pursue their business dreams. This year, Shreshtha Jain was awarded AGSM’s inaugural LGBTI Leadership Excellence Scholarship.

AGSM’s inaugural LGBTI Leadership Excellence Scholarship recipient Shreshtha Jain.

The scholarship was created in 2018 and was designed for outstanding community and business leaders who have demonstrated ongoing contributions to their communities.

“I was struggling with my identity before starting my MBA at AGSM,” Mr Jain said.

“The LGBTI Leadership Excellence scholarship was one of the key factors that has enabled me to achieve self-acceptance and give me the courage to be authentic with myself.

“This scholarship made a tremendous difference for me as I have become more confident with my identity as a member of the LGBTI community and I’m inspired to help others.”

Before undertaking his MBA, Jain was a consultant and project manager with over eight years’ experience in the US and India managing clients, vendors, in-house and outsourced projects and customer services. He is also an artist who cares deeply about environmental sustainability, animal rights and LGBTI community issues.

“Nothing in the world invigorates me more than the idea of creating a sustainable society where everyone has equal rights,” Mr Jain said.

“I have spent a better part of the last decade helping large corporations realise their technology aspirations. However, I wanted to pursue my passion for developing proactive social impact within the community.

“The AGSM MBA will help me hone my innate strengths and equip me with the business skills and acumen needed to become a successful sustainability leader.”

AGSM have also provided opportunity for students with diverse international backgrounds. This year, Andrey Pankeev was a recipient of the AGSM Global Reach Scholarship and has joined AGSM’s Full-Time MBA program from Siberia, Russia. 

AGSM Global Reach Scholarship recipient Andrey Pankeev

Mr Pankeev hails from a small scientific town in Academgorodok and co-founded a semi-wholesale shop at a local car market as his first independent business venture, while studying an undergraduate degree at Novosibirsk State University. During the first year, his company grew from one store into a mid-sized wholesaler, operating all over Siberia.

“When you are contemplating an MBA degree, it’s daunting to think you will have to give up your current job, move to the opposite side of the world, in my case anyway, and start a new chapter of your career,” he said.

“However, the Global Reach Scholarship provided me with the confidence to concentrate on my studies knowing that I’m financially secure.” 

Mr Pankeev pursued a career with Procter&Gamble as the Gillette Brand Manager responsible for Eastern European markets, before moving into the position of Trade Marketing Manager. He has since returned to his entrepreneurial roots and has worked for his family’s business by creating plans for new market expansion.

“Unfortunately, small businesses within Russia are constantly under threat and my projects were stalled,” Mr Pankeev said.

“I realised I needed to expand my skillset even further and I believed an MBA from an elite business school would be a massive boost and would open up a variety of new career opportunities.” 

“I have enjoyed every day so far that I have been at AGSM. During my first four weeks I significantly improved my presentation skills, learned the basics of Complex Problem Solving and experienced the unforgettable Complex Adaptive Leadership program that took place in the middle of the Australian Bush.

“The AGSM MBA is a game changer. I believe this MBA is the best way for me to experience new career prospects that I previously didn’t consider as well as changing my geographical location to experience a new business economic environment.” 

Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (