An initial £2 million has been donated by Sainsbury Management Fellows to help professional young engineers become entrepreneurs and business leadership in blue-chip companies.
Twenty-eight years ago Lord Sainsbury of Turville had the vision of getting more professional engineers onto UK boards and created the SMF MBA scholarship to help young engineers gain the necessary business skills and experience.
Today that vision is a reality – £2 million worth of Sainsbury Management Fellows scholarships have been awarded to over 300 graduates. The majority have gone on to fulfill their ambitions and hold board and c-level positions or senior consulting roles in blue-chip companies. Sixty beneficiaries are serial entrepreneurs with innovative businesses that employ over 18,000 people.
The £2 million has been donated by former awardees of the MBA scholarship (known as SMFs), and from Lord Sainsbury, who is match funding all cash donations made by the SMFs for a period of five years.
Lord Sainsbury said: “Looking back at the original concept of the Sainsbury Management Fellows scholarship, it has proved its worth. The original idea behind the scheme was to attract into industry some of the best and brightest young engineers by enabling them to acquire the business skills which would help them rise quickly to the top of large British companies or set up their own high-tech businesses.
“I believe that for businessmen and women to be successful they need above all to understand the customers and the technology of their businesses, and this means that high-tech businesses need to be run by people with an engineering or scientific background. Top executives need to have financial and general management skills but these are no substitute for a knowledge of the technology,” concluded Lord Sainsbury.
SMF President, David Falzani said, “We are aiming to raise £10 million to enable us to continue awarding £300,000 worth of Sainsbury Management Fellows MBA scholarships to young engineers annually.”