Australia’s Top MBA Students Revealed

Australia’s top MBA graduates have been recognised with the winners of the sixth annual MBAAustralasia (MBAus) Awards For Excellence, unveiled at a cocktail party in Melbourne last week.

MBAus Director Ross Barclay said the MBAus Awards provided recognition to outstanding members of the MBA community.

“We want to shine a spotlight on them, their career, and their actions,” he said. “This is an opportunity for outstanding business and management graduates to be recognised, and will bring together the most talented alumni, universities, and colleges from around Australasia.”

Most Outstanding MBA
Dr Claudia Giurgiuman (The University of Queensland)

The Most Outstanding MBA Graduate award is the pinnacle of recognition for recent MBA graduates who have demonstrated excellence in every aspect of their academic, professional, and personal lives.

This award acknowledges individuals who have not only excelled academically but also made a meaningful impact in their professional fields, and have been actively involved in extracurricular activities.

2023 winner Dr Claudia Giurgiuman has combined a lifetime of academic excellence with a distinguished career in medical research to affect positive change in the world around her.

Completing her MBA at The University of Queensland in July this year, Claudia was most recently the CEO of the Wesley Medical Research Institute, where she worked with a diverse team of donors, volunteers, researchers, clinicians and professional staff to push the boundaries of medicine and deliver real impact to patients around the world.

“My MBA has been such a big part of my life recently, and to be honoured with the award is incredible,” she said. “It is not something I ever thought would happen.”

Like many of her fellow finalists, Claudia was encouraged to do her MBA by a former boss who thought it would help develop her leadership and management skills.

“I actually had three different people, including a former manager, tell me an MBA would be really valuable if I wanted to take the next step in my career,” she said. “It has been such an incredibly rewarding experience, and I would recommend it to anyone.

Among Claudias’ many other achievements, she has served as President of Women in Technology where she worked to advance, connect, and empower women to pursue their science and technology passions. She is also Chair of the Sunshine Coast Hospital Foundation (Wishlist) Research Advisory Committee and is a member of the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Community Impact
Janine Wood (Edith Cowan University)

This Community Impact award celebrates individuals or teams who have made significant contributions to their communities through projects, initiatives, or social endeavours, showcasing the transformative power of business for social good.

This year’s winner Janine Wood is the co-founder of not-for-profit No Limits Perth.

“No Limits Perth started with me and two police officers seeing the unmet need around us, we decided to join our network and become do-ers. We’re a not-for-profit charity providing essential emergency support services across Perth’s northern suburbs to the most vulnerable and at-risk members of the community. We assist community members by providing them access to basic needs such as food, transport, furniture, hygiene and personal items and facilitates access to emergency accommodation,”  Janine said..

The aim of the organisation was initially to fully furnish empty homes for those needing a new start.

“We reached out to victims of domestic violence via our Facebook page and we quickly realised that we needed to be a lot more flexible in our thinking. Crisis included everything from victims of domestic violence, house fires, those who were forced to relocate due to sick children receiving care, unemployment, newcomers to our country, single parented families, grandparents raising grandchildren and the list goes on,” Janine says.

“The extent of our free service was not just to furnish homes; we also have three days of food distribution per week to families in the local area. We also supply, toiletries, toys, linen and other items to those doing it tough. All our donations are 100% free of charge and so is our service.”

MBA Innovation
Jessica Kahl (Griffith University)

The MBA Innovation Award recognises exceptional creativity, ingenuity, and forward-thinking in developing innovative solutions, strategies, or practices in the business world. This award highlights individuals who have demonstrated an ability to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of conventional thinking.

2023 winner Jessica Kahl did her MBA after winning the 2020 QBM Griffith MBA Responsible Leadership Scholarship after founding not-for-profit Dream Big Australia that aims to empower young women to dream and succeed in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) careers.

Jessica accepted her award from London where she is Strategy Manager at Thames Water and recently caught up with MBAAustralasia Director Ross Barclay as part of the MBA Success podcast.

Most Inspirational MBA Lecturer
Dr Heinz Hermann (Torrens University Australia)

This award aims to honor educators who have demonstrated exceptional passion, dedication, and the ability to inspire and motivate MBA students in their academic journey. The award celebrates educators who go above and beyond their instructional responsibilities, creating a transformative learning experience for their students.

2023 winner Dr. Heinz Herrmann is a Senior Lecturer at Torrens University Australia, a Research Fellow at its Centre for Organisational Change and Agility (COCA), and Adjunct Professor at the Australian Graduate School of Leadership (AGSL).

Heinz is a member of scientific and editorial boards, and has a research focus on business, competitive bidding, artificial intelligence, business ethics and mixed methods research. In industry, he is a CEO with more than 25 years of standing in Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT), including commercial and not-for-profit board director roles.

Business Excellence and Leadership
Brett Clark AM (The University of Queensland)

This award recognises exceptional individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, strategic thinking, and a track record of driving business excellence within their organizations.

2023 winner Brett Clark is the founder and managing director of ePharmacy and the managing partner of Chemist Warehouse stores in Queensland and Northern NSW. Mr Clark

He is the current Chair of the Queensland Rugby Union and Queensland Rugby Union Foundation, of which he helped establish 2 years ago. Mr Clark has also recently been appointed as director of the Brisbane 2032 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. Mr Clark is a past Chair of QLD Ballet having served 10 years on the board, the last 6 years as Chair.

With his wife Maria, Mr Clark has been involved with the Mater Foundation and Sisters of Mercy for the past 21 years via roles as donors, fundraisers and Chair of Bridgeworks, and they both currently serve as Patrons of the Foundation.

He graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in 1988 and was awarded an MBA in 2005.


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 (