Launched in 2015, the AGSM Professor Wanbil Lee Prize for Ethical Leaders in Business Award recognises the importance of ethical decision making in all business ventures. Awarded each year to an AGSM MBA student or alumnus who, through their own ethical business practice, inspires others to contribute to a progressive society.

Andrey Pankeev, AGSM MBA candidate and 2019 recipient of the Professor Wanbil Lee Prize for Ethical Leaders Award spoke to AGSM about the significance of this award and why other students and alumni should apply.

Q: What did receiving the 2019 Professor Wanbil Lee Prize for Ethical Leaders Award mean to you?

A: Doing an MBA is challenging. After years of working, you are choosing to invest in your education and set your career aside for 16 months with no source of income. Any financial help is significant and will help you to feel more secure. However, receiving this award means much more to me than just receiving financial aid.

It was a recognition of my achievements and confirmation that doing the right thing matters. Appling for this award helped me to look at my professional life and to evaluate the choices I made. In a fast pace day-to-day life, we might not think much about these decisions, but it is important to understand the greater impact your actions have on those around us.

Q: Why should AGSM current students and alumni apply for this prize?

A: It is an excellent opportunity to share your story with others. Taking the time to think about what is important to you and how you implement ethical decisions within your chosen career. Applying for this award will help current students and alumni to take a step back and critically evaluate what ethical business leadership means to them, and how it arises in their specific professional environments.

Q: Why is it important universities and business schools recognise business leaders who resolve organisational challenges ethically?

A: Often doing the right thing is not that easy. However, in the long run it is crucial to make ethically correct choices even if this impacts your bottom line financially. Making ethical decisions gives you and your business a sustainable foundation for future success and I truly believe that ethical business leaders will deliver more value for their company as well as for their society. The Professor Wanbil Lee Prize for Ethical Leaders in Business Award is just one excellent example of the recognition ethical leaders deserve.

Q: How has the AGSM MBA set you up to continue implementing ethical business decisions in your career?

A: I came into the program not long after arriving from Siberia, Russia, and while not knowing anyone in Australia before the program I never felt alone. From day one I found myself in a cohort with 50+ fellow classmates who have become lifelong friends and have helped me build my networks across different geographical regions.

The AGSM MBA program provides opportunities to collaborate with a diverse group of students to sharpen critical thinking and communication skills. AGSM has been the perfect cultural fit for me as my cohort shares the same passion for ethical leadership as I do: celebrating diversity, encouraging different viewpoints and opinions and enabling everybody to find and achieve personal growth.

The AGSM Career and Development team helped me to craft my unique profile and align my career aspirations to pursue every opportunity to network with industry professionals who value my ethical mindset and where I can implement my interpretation of best-practice leadership.

The Professor Wanbil Lee Prize for Ethical Leaders in Business Award is a global prize and nominees can be of any nationality and based anywhere in the world. All AGSM students and alumni who actively demonstrate entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership and business ethics within their workplace are strongly encouraged to apply.

The 2020 Award recipient will receive a $1,000 cash prize and will be recognised at the UNSW Business School annual awards ceremony held in June 2020.

The Applications for the 2020 Award are now closed. Applications for the 2021 award will open in early March 2021.