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Business school graduate Tillmann Henssler honoured as 2019 influential leader

The Open University announces that alum Tillmann Henssler is one of 33 business school graduates honoured by AACSB International (AACSB)—the world’s largest business education alliance—as the 2019 Class of Influential Leaders.

The annual challenge recognises notable alumni from AACSB-accredited schools whose inspiring work serves as a model for the next generation of business leaders.

Tillmann Henssler is committed to raising awareness and helping to reduce unconscious bias toward persons with disabilities. He is a sourcing manager for Pfizer, a world-leading biopharmaceutical company, where he has held the honorary office of disability counsel for the last 16 years. There, he has successfully promoted change in the workplace to benefit persons with disabilities.

Achieving global recognition

Henssler has received recognition from both Pfizer and The Open University’s student and alumni community. Pfizer awarded him the Global Disability Leader award, which recognises both his engagement with the disability community and his ongoing contribution to The Open University Business School (OUBS). Henssler’s exceptional contribution and commitment to inclusivity within his organisation and society was recognised by his peer community of 26,000 Open University MBAs, at the Alumni of the Year Awards in 2018.

Devendra Kodwani, Executive Dean, Faculty of Business and Law, The Open University said,

“We are delighted to congratulate Tillmann on being recognised as an Influential Leader following on from his Open University MBA, and most recently Highly Commended in our Alumni of the Year Awards. This award is testament to the great work Tillmann has undertaken in raising awareness of disabilities within the workplace. We are particularly proud that this award has been achieved in The Open University’s 50th Year, in which we are taking the opportunity to celebrate achievements and contributions of our alumni, students and staff to society.”

At Pfizer, Henssler is an engaged member of the Global Disability Leadership Team and co-lead for the Disability Chapter of the Diversity & Inclusion Council Europe. Additionally, he is supporting an initiative to look at the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCPRD) and evaluating how it can be implemented at the workplace.

An inspiration

His proactivity in engaging openly in this critical area inspired the OUBS Alumni Relations team to develop a career mentoring program for students and alumni that targets issues relating to inclusivity and diversity in all its forms. Henssler volunteers his time and expertise generously in developing this initiative that will benefit The Open University’s student and alumni community, and those organisations they serve, for many years. He is an exceptional individual who has already made a significant difference in organisational practice, and will continue to do so through supporting and leading others in this area.

Tillmann Henssler said:

“I am very proud that The Open University Business School nominated me for the Influential Leader award. I feel deeply honoured to be recognised by the AACSB for my engagement for the Disability community and The Open University. I am also very grateful to all my colleagues at Pfizer who are engaging in diversity and inclusion and for supporting me.”

“My OUBS MBA allowed me to make a career move. The practice based approach to learning has given me a set of concepts, theories, and practical skills to view organisations from a wider range of perspectives.  I apply what I have learned in different work situations every day.”

Framed photo of Tillmann, with award logos

Tillmann Henssler, AACSB 2019 Influential Leaders Challenge

“AACSB is honoured to recognise Tillmann Henssler and congratulates The Open University for its role in preparing alumni who are leading examples of business education as a force for good in the world,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and CEO of AACSB.

“The diversity of backgrounds, industries, and career paths of the 2019 Class of Influential Leaders demonstrates that AACSB-accredited schools are preparing graduates to succeed wherever their passions may take them.”

Now its fourth year, the Influential Leaders challenge has recognised almost 200 business school graduates for creating lasting impact in business and society. All honourees are have earned an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree from one of the more than 800 AACSB-accredited business schools worldwide. For more information on the Influential Leaders challenge, and to view a full list of honourees, visit View Tillmann’s profile here.


About AACSB International

As the world’s largest business education alliance, AACSB International (AACSB) connects educators, students, and business to achieve a common goal: to create the next generation of great leaders. Synonymous with the highest standards of excellence since 1916, AACSB provides quality assurance, business education intelligence, and professional development services to more than 1,600 member organisations and over 800 accredited business schools worldwide. AACSB’s mission is to foster engagement, accelerate innovation, and amplify impact in business education. The global organisation has offices located in Tampa, Florida, USA; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Singapore. For more information, visit

About The Open University Business School

Established over 30 years ago, The Open University Business School is home to more than 26,000 MBA alumni from all corners of the globe. This not only makes us one of the largest schools in the world, but also maintains our position as a truly international business school.

The Open University Business School is a pioneer in flexible learning and allows a diverse student population to achieve their potential through our innovative, practice-based courses. The quality of our programmes is underpinned by the latest leading-edge research and enriched by a global network of partnerships.

Our internationally-recognised teaching and learning methods take education right to the heart of leadership and management practice. Tutors are experienced business professionals and because our distance learning approach allows managers to continue at work while studying, you can apply new knowledge and skills right from the start, enabling you to progress your career while you study.

Our quality is assured and accredited by the world’s best accrediting bodies. We hold the prestigious triple accredited status from AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB which bears testimony to the quality of business education that we offer, positioning us in the top 1% of business schools worldwide.

Global employers also recognise and value our qualifications, 86% of FTSE 100 companies have sponsored students on OU programmes, which bears testimony to the practical focus and effectiveness of our MBA.

Over 100,000 people from more than 125 countries have already graduated with The Open University Business School. We invite you to join them.

For more information, please visit the website:

About Author

Liz works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She has over 15 years' marketing experience working across a range of sectors, from diamonds to shampoo. She has a BSc (Hons) in Management from UMIST. In her spare time, Liz is usually found on roller skates or off travelling, having adventures.

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