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The Open University Alum Tillmann Henssler Honoured as 2019 AACSB Influential Leader

Tillmann Henssler AACSB Influential Leader 2019

The Open University Business School 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.

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 Student and Alumni of the Year Awards in 2018.

Devendra Kodwani

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.

Devendra Kodwani
Executive Dean, The Open University Business School

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.

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.

Devendra Kodwani

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.

Tillmann Henssler
AACSB Influential Leader 2019

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. 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.

Thomas R. Robinson
president and CEO of AACSB

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

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