Sainsbury Management Fellows

Students & Graduate Engineers: Win a High-Level Mentor  

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Thirty high-level business leaders are offering career and entrepreneurial mentoring to student and graduate engineers.  Mentoring prizes are available for  30 winners – 15 student engineers and 15 graduate engineers.  The competition is open now with entries required by 28 February 2018.  Read on for full details.

Mentor30Engineers is a new competition inviting student and graduate engineers to conceive an idea that tackles a problem in society.  Our society is a complex machine in the way that information is collected, decisions are made, how decisions and actions are communicated – sometimes this works and sometimes it breaks down resulting in major impacts on people’s lives.

Mentor30Engineers invites student and graduate engineers to stretch their minds and come up with a solution to some of the biggest challenges facing society today (our aim is to stimulate thinking beyond app solutions that tend to proliferate business competitions).  In this no-holds-barred competition, we are looking for imaginative and inspiring big ideas.

To enter this creative-thinking/problem-solving competition, entrants need to select one of the topics listed under Essay Topics (see below), formulate their idea and describe the idea in an essay.

Thirty engineers/engineering students who submit the most well thought out ideas that could solve the problem, demonstrating the use of engineering skills in their thinking, will each receive a Mentor30Engineers prize – 30 hours of career or entrepreneurship mentoring by a Sainsbury Management Fellow.

This new competition marks 30 years of the Sainsbury Management Fellowship. Winners of a Mentor30Engineers prize will benefit from the SMF’s wealth of experience, knowledge, contacts and gain valuable support with career/ entrepreneurship ambitions.

The Mentee/Mentor Relationship
Each SMF mentor and his/her mentee will arrange how their mentoring relationship works – how frequently they are in touch and the method of communication. The goal is to support the engineers as they transition through their studies and career.


  • UK-based engineering undergraduates at any stage of their degree course.
  • Engineering graduates who have qualified in the last three years (either seeking an engineering-related job, be already working in an engineering role or working on/be involved in a technology start-up).

Mentoring Prizes
15 Mentor30Engineers prizes will be awarded to undergraduates
15 Mentor30Engineers prizes will be awarded to graduates
Each winner will receive a certificate
Each winner will be invited to the SMF Annual Dinner in May 2018 – a prestigious affair that provides excellent networking opportunities

How to Enter?
Entrants must choose only ONE topic (or topic sub-set). You must then develop your idea and produce a typed essay outlining the problem and your idea/solution. Your essay must not exceed 1,000 words.

Essay Topics

1. How do we solve problems facing the NHS? If you choose this as your subject please develop an idea for only ONE of the following areas (a or b, or c or d – do not endeavour to tackle more than one topic in your entry)
a) Tackling/reducing hospital waiting times
b) Improving bed blocking/lack of hospital beds
c) Reducing inequality of services/care across the UK
d) Dealing with staff shortages in the NHS

2. How should we, as a society, meet the care needs of an ageing population?

3. How do we protect the environment for the future – entrants can choose any element they wish to explore, for example, one of the following areas
a) air pollution and reducing the speed of climate change
b) the rising population creating an ever-growing need
c) greening cities
d) deforestation
e) soil degradation
f) food wastage and supply chain optimisation

This Guardian newspaper article “The key questions at the heart of the UK’s environmental future” may be helpful in choosing a  category.

4. Financial management/wellbeing
How should government/regulators meet their obligation to educate the public on financial management so that members of the public budget for their needs over their lifetime?

5. How can government/regulators ensure that major corporations pay their fair share of taxes?

Essay Submission
The entry must cover the following:

  • The problem being tackled
  • The idea/solution/how it might work
  • How it might benefit society
  • Show how an engineering skill has been applied to your thinking

You are not required to cost your idea, but to treat your entry as blue-sky thinking. You are not required to provide in-depth research to support your entry.

At the end of the essay, please briefly state how you would use a mentoring prize (eg career/new business innovation/entrepreneurship).  This information is in addition to your 1000 word limit for your essay.

Judging Criteria
Entries are not being judged on writing style, but on the innovative solutions to long-standing problems.  Essays will be judged on a points system based on the following criteria:

  • Originality of idea
  • Feasibility of the idea
  • Evidence of using an engineering skill in the idea/solution

The entries with the highest points will win a Mentor30Engineers prize.

Judging Panel

Rules of Entry

  1. Entrants must be engineering graduates studying at a recognised UK establishment or undergraduates working in engineering/technology-related jobs in the UK (or seeking jobs in these areas).
  2.  Only one entry can be submitted per engineer.
  3. The submission must cover one of the topics (or sub-topics) listed above.
  4. The essay submission must not exceed the 1,000-word limit (but can be shorter).
  5. Submissions must be typed and the word count added at the top of the essay with the entrant’s name, degree/degree course, and the name of the university. The entry must be emailed to at any time up to and including 28 February 2018, by midnight.
  6. The judging panel’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into with entrants (other than with winners).
  7. The winners will be informed by email and details published on the SMF website.
  8. Winners will be promoted in traditional and social media – by entering entrants agree to publicity.
  9. Winners will be invited to the Sainsbury Management Fellows Annual Dinner in May 2018, in London. Please note that the EIBF charity is unable to provide travel expenses.
  10. SMF will liaise with winners to pair them with an SMF mentor from the list of mentors shown below.

If entrants have questions about the competition or their submission, they can email


Full competition information – download, save and scroll image for full details. 

The Sainsbury Management Fellow Mentors 

Below is the list of 30 highly experienced business leaders, all Sainsbury Management Fellows, who will mentor winners of the Mentors30Engineers competition. You can click their LinkedIn profiles to learn more about their careers. Our SMF mentors are looking forward to working with the winners!

Students & Graduate Engineers: Win a High-Level Mentor  


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The Sainsbury Management Fellows is registered as a charity: Engineers in Business Fellowship, charity number 1147203 and is a company limited by guarantee : 07807250