We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2022 Cranfield School of Management Alumni Awards.

These awards recognise the exceptional achievements of our alumni while showcasing the global impact of Cranfield School of Management.

Meet the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

Kito De Boer (MBA 1985)

Business Leader and Entrepreneur                

Kito de BoerKito has 40 years of experience, living and working in the Netherlands, US, UK, Singapore, India, Dubai and Jerusalem. He built his career as a Strategic Advisor to the Private Sector and Government. Kito worked with McKyinse for nearly 30 years, where he founded the India, Middle East and Government practices and lived in Dubai for most of the past 20 years.

He also held a diplomatic role for 3 years as the Head of Mission of the Office of the Quartet and Managing Director of the Initiative for the Palestinian Economy.

Kito received an MBA from Cranfield University and an MSc in Management Sciences (as well as an honorary doctorate) from Loughborough University of Science and Technology. Kito serves on the Board of the Lewa Trust in Kenya which is dedicated to wildlife conservation, and is also on the Board of Mercy Corps, an NGO focused on helping the most vulnerable populations such as refugees.

Kito is an Angel Investor and Advisor to 5 start-ups.

Meet the 2022 Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Graduates Winner

Daniel George (MBA 2014)

Founder, StepEx

Daniel George

Daniel George started his career as a government economist, working on solutions to protect natural resources and provide people with an adequate standard of living.

After pursuing an MBA, he was exposed to the lifechanging potential of top tier qualifications and the high cost that was a barrier to the less wealthy majority. Post-MBA he joined Deutsche Bank and subsequently became a director in a consultancy to the banks, to better understand why the financial system couldn’t effectively provide education finance.

In 2017, he founded StepEx to solve this problem – an award winning, venture backed fintech, providing the infrastructure for education providers to enable people to pay with a share of their future earnings. From 2022, financial institutions will also be able invest in these future earnings as a new asset class via StepEx.

In contrast to other providers, StepEx is the only enterprise provider of outcome-based finance, the only financially regulated provider globally, with an unrivalled level of predictive sophistication and access to data. StepEx is using this sophistication and access to unlock opportunity for everyone.

Meet the 2022 Entrepreneur Alumni Award Winner

Martin Thatcher (BGP 2001)

Managing Director, Thatchers Cider   

Martin Brown

In 1904, William Thatcher founded Thatchers Cider on his Somerset Farm. Today, his great-grandson Martin Thatcher runs the fourth-generation family business, which still has its home on the very same farm where William made his cider.

Maintaining the heritage and traditions of the family business remains close to Martin’s heart. As a rural company, he knows just how important it is to protect the world around us. Therefore, his firm focuses on creating world class cider sustainably and maintaining the business’s Somerset orchards, not just to be the source of the highest quality apples, but also a rich haven for biodiversity.

Since 2015, Martin has been a Trustee of the Bath and West Society, a great Somerset organisation that works to promote and represent farming, agriculture and food & drink production in his home county.

His personal experience of learning all aspects of the cider making business from an early age has led Martin to be a firm believer in skills development, encouraging people to fulfil their potential through apprenticeships. 

With his familyMartin has established the Thatchers Foundation, a charitable trust which supports good causes in Somerset. He has been honoured to take up the role of Deputy Lieutenant of Somersetand through this position looks forward to being able to support all those who live and work in the county. 

Martin has been married to his wife Anne for 25 years and their grown-up children, Eleanor and Peter are both now working within the business.

Meet the 2022 Alumni Service Award Winner

Michelle Ziling Ou (MSc Strategic Marketing 2011)

Consultant and Business Development Manager, Luxuries Committee of China General Chamber of Commerce

Michelle Ou

Michelle Ou is a communications consultant and strategist with 10+ years of international experience. Michelle graduated from Cranfield School of Management in 2011 with an MSc in Strategic Marketing and holds a BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from University of Warwick.

Based in Paris, working with industry experts and former diplomats in trade and commerce in China, Michelle helps connect European SME’s and academic institutions with the Chinese market through senior stakeholder management and marketing communications. She also offers an expatriate coaching service, empowering executives to realise their full potential during their international experience, achieving meaningful personal and professional goals. Prior to that, Michelle worked at Imperial Brands, a global FMCG company in their highly competitive International Graduate Trainee Programme and gained expertise in diverse areas of sales and marketing.

Having lived and worked in China, England, Australia, Hong Kong and France, Michelle has always appreciated connecting with Cranfield communities in different parts of the world. In 2015, she worked with other enthusiastic volunteers to establish the France Alumni Community, today a network of 250+ alumni across the country. As the International President of the France Alumni Community, Michelle is proud to represent Cranfield as part of the United Kingdom Alumni Network (UKAN), bringing together France-based UK graduates via successful social and professional networking events both online and offline.