All posts by smf_fms

From Engineer to Entrepreneur: How an MBA Helped Change My Career Trajectory – SMF Chris Hughes, Founder of Wilfred’s Aperitif

SMF Chris Hughes has always been an engineer at heart. As a child he spent many happy hours in his parents’ basement workshop designing and building things – he enjoyed the process of creating solutions to problems. At just 11 years old, he built a ping pong pick-up device from wood and a levy system to avoid having to manually pick up the ping pong balls himself. One of his creative inspirations was Leonardo da Vinci (he was an avid reader of comics featuring da Vinci), which gave him an early understanding that engineers are innovators, people who create rather than fix things. Chris said, “The idea of innovation excited me. Looking back, I guess engineering was always a natural path for me.” Chris takes up his story…

Becoming a student of engineering
“I did Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London with an Erasmus year in Lyon, France. After graduation, I wasn’t sure how I was going to use my engineering degree because there are many different routes you can pursue with an engineering degree. My third-year project at Imperial was designing an artificial heart valve, but my internship in France was working in R&D on high-speed trains. These are such different aspects of engineering, yet both interested me greatly. When I graduated, I took a year out and travelled to Argentina where I worked for a charity and learned to speak Spanish. It was a great time to reflect and think about my future and I decided that I would like to do a job that allowed me to travel and to build on my experience in the rail industry. I started applying for engineering jobs in the UK and abroad and a golden opportunity presented itself at the Japanese company, Hitachi, inventors of the high-speed bullet train. I couldn’t pass up the chance to work for such an innovative company and, possibly, the chance to work in Japan.

Starting a career as an engineer
“The Japan dream would have to wait for a little while. When I started my 5-year stint at Hitachi, the company had just expanded into the UK and had a 30-strong team in Ashford in the UK. This provided excellent experience and knowledge of how Hitachi was run. Because the UK team was small at the time, I shared an office with key decision-makers including the MD and even brushed shoulders with the CEO. I was entrusted with assignments that would normally be out of reach for someone of my level of experience at that time. I always had a hankering to work where the trains were being built and persuaded my superiors to post me to Hitachi in Japan. I was the first UK engineer to move to the Japanese business on a semi-permanent basis and it was fantastic.

“In just under a year, I was back in the UK managing the coordination between Hitachi Japan and Hitachi UK. It was around this time I started to take a keen interest in the business operation, rather than focusing purely on the engineering side of things. Being so close to the team in the UK, and then mediating between the UK and Japan while helping to handle customers, gave me a real insight into how to nurture and develop a business. I started to think about whether I could I have a bigger impact in an engineering company if I had a stronger business background to help make big decisions. This is when the prospect of doing an MBA entered my mind.

The Move to an MBA
“By that time, I had also become a Chartered Engineer, an important career milestone for me. I felt like I had achieved so much, and it would be a good a time to explore other possibilities. I first heard about MBA courses through some of my friends who were studying MBAs at the time. It sounded like something that could open doors for me and get me more involved in the world of business. Hitachi kindly offered to support me through a part-time MBA, but I wanted to make a huge leap, transitioning from a pure engineering role into a management one. I felt it was best to get a formal business school education, so I started researching schools and the application process. The only real concern I had was how to fund the MBA. I couldn’t believe my luck when I got speaking to a stranger on a train who also happened to be an engineer. She worked for the Royal Academy of Engineering and mentioned the SMF scholarship and the generous MBA grant. Getting the scholarship wasn’t a given, but if I could get the grant it would remove the financial worry of doing an MBA. I got through the scholarship application process and not long after that, in 2015, I was awarded a £30,000 SMF scholarship and I was on my way to INSEAD.

Doing an MBA at INSEAD
“My time at INSEAD was enlightening. I learned the basics of good business acumen, from marketing and strategy right through to finance and accounting. It gave me real insight into how business works, how people think and how organisations behave as a collective enterprise. I learned that business is about more than numbers; it’s very much about people.

“As an engineer, you tend to want to fix every individual problem you encounter. But business is different and managing people can be unpredictable. There’s a discipline I learned about at INSEAD called ‘Design Thinking’ which takes a human-centred approach to business. You start with a human problem, and then you work back to find a solution to fix it. This approach works well with engineering, once you identify the human need and establish problems and barriers, you can apply an engineering solution.

“During my MBA, my passion for innovation was reinforced. I went into my studies thinking I would do a management role in an engineering business when I graduated, but I met so many amazing people and saw so many different perspectives. It felt like another world of opportunity was opening up to me. Instead of going back to engineering after graduation, I went to work with an innovation company called What If, something I might never have had the confidence to do without the MBA.

How Wilfred’s Non-Alcohol Aperitif was Founded

“I worked at What If for two and a half years following my MBA, which allowed me to hone my innovation, prototype testing and business skills. Armed with this knowledge and my MBA skills, I had the confidence to branch out on my own and create Wilfred’s Non-Alcoholic Aperitif, my first business venture.

“Like most young people, I enjoyed the occasional alcoholic drink with friends. But as I got older, I became less interested in alcohol, to the point where I barely drank and would rather have alcohol-free drinks. It frustrated me that, aside from one or two instances of clever branding, no interesting non-alcoholic drinks had really made it into the mainstream. I decided to try and change that, which began with prototype testing.

“I started making drinks from scratch for my friends to try using ingredients from all over the world, such as English Rose, Japanese Hibiscus, Mate from Argentina. Increasingly though, I ended up using ingredients that were closer to home – rosemary, strawberries, raspberries – many from my mother’s garden. I had a formula to describe how I wanted the drink to taste, which is typical of an engineer or mathematician – that’s the way my mind works now. I would say making a drink is part science and part art; I’ve taken a very scientific approach to making Wilfred’s. Without a doubt, engineering has helped in ways you would not expect. Just three and a half months into the launch, Wilfred’s won the award for Britain’s Number One Non-Alcoholic Drink, as judged by the 2020 Great British Food Awards.

“There are many ways in which my business education, the innovation courses and experience have helped me in developing and launching Wilfred’s, ranging from understanding the intricacies of finance to marketing and scaling-up the business. Like most entrepreneurial ventures we had challenges along the way, for example, scaling from home batch to production batch involved trial and error to find the right production partner, and many months of work went into creating exactly the right brand. Even though I had adopted a “bootstrapping” strategy to finance the business in the early stages ultimately I decided to engage a branding specialist to perfect the design. The drinks industry is complex and highly competitive and getting the branding wrong would have set me back months. Understanding when to make these big decisions is vital and having a business education helps.

“Likewise, deciding on the channels to market is critical to success. Before the COVID-19 pandemic I had ambitious plans to sell to restaurants, bars and pubs and had some success, for example, Wilfred’s is available at the Hilton Lexington Rooftop Bar, but once lockdown came, I had to completely pivot to online sales via the website. Because I now have a good grasp of sales and marketing planning, I had already established a strong network of partners, for example, a reputable and cost-effective distribution centre which ensures that everything from the packaging to the delivery are perfect. I had also implemented a communications strategy, including traditional advertising and social media, to build a brand reputation, long before the product hit the market.

“I am at the start of an exciting journey. I am already looking at selling the product via channels like Not on the High Street and Yumbles, and the long-term goal is to get Wilfred’s into major supermarket chains, a goal that requires considerable work and relationship building with buyers. In a year or so, I will be looking at fundraising, something I would not have embarked on without the knowledge I gained through the MBA and working for What If. External investment will enable me to start bringing team members on board.

Value of the MBA
“The MBA has given me a much more strategic and structured approach to launching my business and has helped me make critical decisions at the right time, for example, changing from the original production company to a new one. Likewise, my engineering background helped me to deal with production issues we encountered with the first company. Having this knowledge allowed me to understand what the problems were, probably better than the people who were bulk producing the drink! I have been able to speak with people on an equal footing when it comes to technical areas such as pasteurisation and sterile filtration. In this respect having an engineering background has been so helpful.

Advice for Young Engineers Considering an MBA
“Doing an MBA was one of the best decisions I ever made, but it’s not necessarily the route for everyone. Think long and hard before making this decision, as MBAs are expensive. That said, even the process of considering it (or applying) can be extremely helpful in terms of thinking about your career. Just exploring the benefits of an MBA will focus your mind on what you want to do with your future, as well as the things you might want to steer clear of. If you really do want to open doors and take a sideways, upwards or altogether different step, an MBA is definitely worth doing. If I had not been awarded the SMF scholarship and done the MBA, I would not be where I am now – with my own business, winning awards and looking forward to a strong future for Wilfred’s.”

The SMF MBA Scholarship
If you are a professional engineer considering an MBA as one of the stepping-stones towards a business leadership career, visit our MBA scholarship application page, you could become one of our successful awardees – today the individual scholarship is £50,000.

MBA Scholarship Awardees Share their Experiences

£300,000 of SMF Scholarship Awards Help 10 Talented Engineers Attend Top Business Schools

Wharton, INSEAD, Kellogg, Stanford and LBS are welcoming 10 awardees of the Sainsbury Management Fellows MBA scholarship.

The awardees each received £30,000 towards their study costs.  They are Kofoworola Agbaje who chose Wharton; Nicholas Asselin-Miller, Qiang Fu and Andrew Glykys are attending INSEAD; Mukunth Kovaichelvan is studying at Kellogg; Imogen Rye is at Stanford, and the other four awardees – Benjamin Banks, James Diaz-Sokoloff, Matthew Dixon and David MacGeehan – all chose to study at London Business School.

The SMF Scholarship scheme is run by Engineers in Business Fellowship (EIBF) which helps young engineers fulfil their aspirations to become business leaders by supporting them financially in gaining business skills including leadership, strategic thinking, marketing, economics and finance.

The value of Sainsbury Management Fellows awarded now totals £9 million.  During this time the scholarship has helped over 300 engineers forge outstanding careers in diverse areas including the corporate sector, social enterprise, charity, healthcare and education.

The success of the scholarship scheme is measured not only in terms of the career achievements of the SMFs but in their contribution to society.  For example, 153 SMFs have founded or co-founded businesses valued at £4.6 billion, creating 18,000 jobs; 265 SMFs support and mentor young engineers, helping them with career or entrepreneurial goals and 122 SMFs are actively involved with charitable organisations.  Several SMFs teach business and innovation as visiting professors at universities, including the EIBF President, David Falzani.

After graduation, the scholarship awardees become Sainsbury Management Fellows and become SMF Alumni.  Many say that the Alumni is, perhaps, the most rewarding part of winning a scholarship, because of the lifelong support. The Fellows benefit from ongoing career and entrepreneurship mentoring which can often lead to important collaborations and high-level networking via SMF, the Royal Academy of Engineering and other leading institutions.

Commenting on the purpose of the SMF Scholarship David Falzani said, “The world is changing at an unprecedented rate, creating new challenges for UK businesses, these include globalisation, cross-culturalism, the rise of the Asian markets and flux in international politics, the economy, technology and environmentalism.  The need for multi-skilled engineers is actually increasing.  The SMF scholarship expands the pool of business-minded engineers available to employers.  The more SMFs we nurture, the more they can help boards make sound strategic decisions and deal with the challenges arising from new paradigm shifts.”

New Applications Invited
The SMF scholarship is open to engineers with the potential to gain leadership roles early in their careers, who have a clear vision for their MBA study and career aspirations.  Candidates submit a written application and shortlisted candidates undergo a panel interview with members of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Sainsbury Management Fellows.    Find out more about making an application.

To learn directly from 8 of the successful awardees, click the grey panels on the right and read their Q&As.

Wheel Manufacturer Dymag to Broaden Market

dymag FB motorcycle
High-performance Wheel Manufacturer Dymag to Broaden Market with New Investment – exciting business development from SMF, Chris Shelley, CEO at Dymag.

Boundary Capital has announced its latest investment in CSA Performance Wheels, manufacturer of the iconic high-performance Dymag motorcycle wheels.

Dymag is now expanding its technology and product range to re-enter the lucrative car wheel aftermarket and OEM market with a newly developed range of carbon composite car and motorcycle wheels.

Dymag has also been awarded £7.1 million funding from the government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI), which will rapidly accelerate the company’s product development programme. Manufacturing process cycle times will be significantly reduced enabling cost effective, high volume production of carbon composite wheels for the first time.
Boundary Capital led the EIS-qualifying investment alongside other experienced investors.

Carbon composite wheels provide a typical 30% to 50% weight saving against conventional aluminium wheels, dramatically enhancing vehicle handling, ride performance and improving fuel efficiency. The company is in discussions with several leading high-performance and premium car brands seeking to enhance their offerings to their more discerning and demanding customers.

The founder and CEO of Dymag, Chris Shelley commented : “This funding will enable us to bring previously low volume niche ultra-luxury performance products to a much wider market. Our initial target market is the high performance and racing car aftermarket. However, the bigger prize is to supply vehicle OEMs. Over the past 12 months several mainstream car and motorcycle manufacturers have announced intentions to adopt carbon composite wheels and there is a huge opportunity for Dymag to be one of the primary suppliers globally .”

Boundary Capital’s model is to appoint ‘Venturers’ to complement its investment. These are seasoned and experienced executives who can provide valuable support to portfolio companies.

Serial entrepreneur and newly appointed Venturer, Chris Brill, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to make a quantum leap in the composite manufacturing technology behind motorcycle and automotive wheels and establish Dymag as a leading global supplier in this rapidly growing market.”

Dr David Gee, Boundary Capital’s investor director, added: “Carbon composite wheels will become an essential element in enabling automotive OEMs to meet efficiency and performance targets and Dymag is well-placed to meet longer term pricing and volume challenges.”

About Boundary Capital
Boundary Capital focuses on SEIS and EIS-eligible investments in growth companies primarily in the technology space. Its team comprises experienced investors and entrepreneurs with a shared belief that businesses are much more likely to succeed if the right support is provided alongside capital. Boundary’s blended SEIS/EIS funds enable investors to benefit from enhanced reliefs whilst being able to support companies through to exit.

About Dymag or
Started in the early 1970s, Dymag quickly moved to the technology pinnacle developing diecast magnesium wheels for Formula One and GT Racing cars and inventing the world’s first three spoke Magnesium motorcycle racing wheels. It was on these very motorcycle wheels that the legendary Eddie Lawson won the AMA Superbike Championship on a Kawasaki KZ1000-S1 in 1981 and 1982, and went on to win the 1984 World Motorcycle GP Championship on a Yamaha YZR500.

Building on their success, Dymag expanded into manufacturing Forged Magnesium wheels, Forged Aluminium wheels and finally invented lightweight Carbon Fibre motorcycle and car wheels with an equally enthusiastic response from bike and car owners around the world. The company went into liquidation in 2009 and was rescued in 2010 by its current owners and has been successful in re-entering the motorcycle racing and aftermarket, supplying the winning BMW S100RR ridden by Michael Dunlop in the 2014 Isle of Man TT, and 6 leading British Superbike Teams.

Dymag’s rich heritage on four wheels ranges from Formula 1, IndyCar, Rally/RAID, GP Moto, Superbikes, Isle of Man TT champions and race winners driving to victory on Dymags, as well as many production Supercar manufacturers.

SMF Launches Engineers in Business Student Innovation Award

SMF is sponsoring Nottingham University Business School’s Engineers in Business Award. Developed collaboratively by NUBS and SMF, last year’s successful pilot produced six unique product concepts from undergraduate teams comprising engineering and business students studying the Entrepreneurship & Business module.

Last year the SenSei Team won first prize for designing and building a sensory glove that emits a gentle alert indicating the proximity of objects. When worn, the SenSei prototype glove showed how blind and partially sighted people could navigate safely and efficiently through everyday life.
The pilot was open only to business school students, but its success has resulted in the competition being expanded to include Nottingham University’s Faculty of Engineering, giving many more engineers the chance to participate.

Chris Mahon, Deputy Director of MBA Programmes at Nottingham University Business School and convenor of the Entrepreneurship & Business module said: “The bar has been set high for this year’s entrants in the Engineers in Business Award. The competition challenges students to use their creativity and lateral thinking by first identifying a problem and then developing a product concept that solves the problem. The aim is to create a solution that would make a big difference to people’s lives.”

The team with the most original and exciting idea with practical application, will win the NUBS/SMF Engineers in Business Award, £1,500 and career mentoring from SMF, the network of high-flying engineers awarded a Sainsbury Management Fellows MBA Scholarship who use their engineering and business skills to lead in blue-chip companies or their own entrepreneurial enterprises.
The runner-up team will receive £1,000 and the team placed third will receive £500.

SMF President, David Falzani commented: “The students have really grasped the essence of the competition; it’s about practical solutions to real problems, not just theoretical business planning. It’s about combining entrepreneurial and engineering skills with nous to create solutions and products that could change lives. The NUBS/SMF Engineers in Business Award highlights the work of talented young people while emphasising the relevance of engineering for a better world.”

Preparing the Business for Sale


In previous blogs, I’ve discussed how you can prepare to leave a business you’ve built using various exit strategies and preparation methods, such as appointing a corporate finance advisory; stabilising finances over a period of five years; and setting personal objectives for the future. Continuing this theme, then, I want to get down to brass tacks regarding the actual sale preparation by focusing on three key themes: selling the future, balancing negotiations, and knowing your buyer. Hopefully, this help to build up a better picture of what needs to be done by the seller in the ‘legal’ stages of selling a business.

Sell the future, not just the past
You might have heard that when selling your business, it’s important to provide a detailed five year financial history (including audited financial statements) to potential buyers. This isn’t wrong, and a lot of preparation activities take place in light of this; you must stabilise profitability over five years, you should hire a corporate finance advisory with the final sale, etc. It may feel slightly underwhelming, as if you are only building the company for its retrospective value at the point of sale.

However, you aren’t just selling the past.  Buyers see businesses as valuable because of what their pasts signify about their potential futures. It might feel demoralising to be building a stronger company for different future owners, but, actually, you will reap the benefits as well, because a bright future is obviously much more marketable.

That’s why, alongside a detailed financial history, it’s vital to establish a two to three year sales forecast for your company. Gilmore Lewis suggests the most accurate forecasts utilise an array of data from multiple sources, not just data from a financial history. These sources frequently include: the business’ current sales pipeline; its historic run rate; its field forecast; and sales management discretion. The aim is to build up as accurate a forecast as possible based on past data in order to establish a marketable future for the company. That’s why he suggests:

Accuracy of forecasts can be measured by providing actual results side by side with previous time period forecasts. This can provide a level of visibility into the accuracy of the forecast as well as the individual contributors.” For more information on developing accurate forecasts, read Gilmore Lewis’ excellent article How to Develop an Effective Sales Forecast.

So, to return to preparing the business for sale, it’s good practice to develop regular quarterly or annual forecasts for the business, and this is hopefully something your company has already been doing. This allows you to judge the accuracy of past forecasts by comparing them with the actual financial history of outcomes. Now, fast-forward to the sale itself.  This information will ultimately strengthen your negotiating position, as you are now able to present not just a financial history and a forecast for the future, but also evidence to verify just how accurate your forecasting methodology is. Working with the future in mind in your medium-term sales prep will therefore make your short term preparation much easier – in fact, stronger.

Integrative negotiation
This brings us to the issue of negotiation, as forecasts and financial histories are ultimately what will support your negotiating position with any potential buyers. Negotiating tactics are frequently presented in popular media as almost back-handed or otherwise ‘hard and fast’ ‘moves’ aimed at more or less manipulating the other party into accepting your position.

However, I want to dispel this myth, as negotiating is rarely this simple – plus, sticking to such methods can seriously damage not only your professional relationship with a potential buyer, but your negotiating position itself. For example, saying something is “non-negotiable” is more likely to scare a buyer off than convince them of your terms. The end goal of a negotiation is, ultimately, to maximise outcomes for both parties involved. Although a negotiation may only confront you from one angle, the other party is seeking to benefit from buying the business just as much as you are seeking to benefit from its sale. Therefore, a little empathy with the other’s position (their angles, goals, and value) can go a long way. You want to aim for a deal that will benefit the other party as well as your own – a negotiation should not be seen as adversarial.

This raises two important issues that you should focus on in the early stages of integrative negotiation.

Reservation point
First, you need to have a clear position on what your objectives are within the sale. This will includes personal profit or recompense of some kind, but also things like the speed of transition between owners (eg for the benefit of employees and managers who will stay on afterwards) and various legal or contractual terms.  It is especially your terms – rather than price – which can come to make or break a negotiation.  It is here that you firmly establish a reservation point, or limits of your party’s terms beyond which you will not go.   Between your reservation point and theirs lies the space in which negotiation and bargaining takes place.

You can think of your reservation point as your “walk-away” point – the stage at which you know a buyer will not meet your terms or needs. This isn’t something you want to use as a ‘threat’, but you need to demonstrate that you are prepared to walk away if necessary. From here, you can properly negotiate and deploy tactics such as ‘expanding the pie’ – giving away small losses that the other party will receive as a boon, in order to make your terms more appealing to theirs (read more on the MIT site about these terms here).

Full information
Second, as we’ve already discussed, you need to provide any potential buyer with complete and transparent information about:

  • what it is you seek to gain from the sale, and
  • the specifics of the business’ financial history, statements, and projections

Knowing your buyer
The flipside of this is knowing your buyer. You should establish profiles of their histories and angles (whether the buyers are a group or individual); you want to try and build up as clear a picture of the other party as possible in order to understand their terms and where they will (or won’t) accommodate yours. This puts you on stronger ground when laying down your terms and negotiating the details.

Although the negotiation process can be hard, it should take place within a collaborative environment to include both your own team as well as the potential buying party. It’s worth considering adding an intermediary or business broker to your team, which might already include a corporate finance advisor and a legal team.  Their role is to support you by facilitating the sale; by helping to build your selling package; and by maintaining a well-researched awareness of potential buyers. They can also help with the legal aspect of negotiations, having the ability to draw up confidentiality agreements and being involved in due diligence.

By preparing your business for sale in a way that is transparent, collaborative, and forward-looking, you will already be well on the way to getting the best deal possible out of a future sale. Although an intermediary can help a smooth business sale in myriad ways, it is ultimately down to you as the head of the business to pull the whole thing off.

Ultrasonic Glove that Allows Blind People to Sense Distance from Objects Wins Award

A prototype of a glove that alerts blind people of the proximity of objects has won first prize in the inaugural Entrepreneurship and Business Competition run by Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) at The University of Nottingham and Sainsbury Management Fellows (SMF). The SenSei Glove uses ultrasonic sensor technology to provide vibration cues on the distance from objects.

The SenSei team set out to create a product that can help blind and partially sighted people sense the distance of objects without having to undergo a lot of training. The SenSei prototype glove features an ultrasonic senor on the back of the glove. The battery operated ultrasonic senor emits different levels of sound depending on how physically close the wearer is to an object. A good analogy is the sound of a car’s parking sensor.

The SenSei team is now working on the ergonomics with a view to making the ultrasonic senor smaller and lightweight so that the glove is very comfortable to wear. The team hopes to gain a business development grant to help with the ongoing development.

Unlike other business competitions which focus on developing a traditional business plan, the NUBS/SMF competition challenges undergraduate students to create a novel product concept that meets a real need in society. Competitors also had to demonstrate use of engineering skills in the creative process.

Coming a close second in the competition was a team of international students who addressed the problem of feeling unsafe when walking in unfamiliar places. The team developed GPSafe, an impressive mobile app solution. Whereas most GPS apps provide users with the shortest route, GPSafe combines GPS technology with readily available public safety data to give users information on the safest walking route.

Winner in the E&B Competition SenSei Sensory Glove
Team SenSei won £1,000 and life-time mentoring from SMF while Team GPSafe picked up a cheque for £500

Chris Mahon, Deputy Director of MBA Programmes at Nottingham University Business School said: “We are pleased that SMF has sponsored and supported this new competition as part of the Entrepreneurship and Business module. Engineering skills are incredibly important in business and the competition is a great incentive for engineering students to develop entrepreneurial skills. The judges and I were impressed by the creative ideas and passion for making a difference demonstrated by all who took part, so choosing the winners was difficult. Congratulations to the SenSei and GPSafe teams.”

The other product concept entries were:

  • MUC: A novel product to clean cosmetic brushes for better hygiene
  • Bliss Wrist: A device that improves sleeping patterns
  • Wrist Watch: A telemedicine device
  • Gym Time: An app to help choose the best time to visit a local gym

SMF President and Visiting Professor in Sustainable Wealth Creation at NUBS, David Falzani said: “We want to inspire young engineers to get more involved in business innovation. The imaginative entries show that engineering skills are well-suited to the creation of new business ideas. We’re aiming to make the Entrepreneur and Business Competition an annual affair.”

Sainsbury Management Fellows
The Sainsbury Management Fellows’ MBA Scholarship scheme enables engineers to gain a business education at a prestigious business school in order to pursue leadership careers in blue-chip companies or, alternatively, to create technology-led enterprises. There are more than 300 such Fellows creating jobs and economic wealth in the UK.

University of Nottingham
The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also the most popular university in the UK among graduate employers, in the top 10 for student experience according to the Times Higher Education and one of the world’s greenest universities. It is ranked in the World’s Top 75 universities by the QS World University rankings.

Libertine Selected for Clean & Cool Mission to San Francisco

sam-cockerillSam Cockerill, Founder-CEO of Libertine FPE is a Sainsbury Management Fellow

Libertine is one of sixteen promising cleantech SMEs selected for the Clean & Cool Mission to San Francisco to connect with prospective investors, partners and customers.

The week-long Clean and Cool Mission kicks off on 17 January 2015. It’s organised by Innovate UK, The Long Run Venture, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and CoSpA (the Co-Sponsorship Agency).

Past missions have proven extremely beneficial for the companies involved, with over half a billion pounds of investment flowing into the firms since they returned to the UK.

Innovate UK’s director of technology and innovation Kevin Baughan said:
“With San Francisco at the heart of the cleantech ecosystem in the US, the Clean and Cool Mission is a fantastic opportunity for UK businesses to showcase their innovative technologies and identify growth opportunities in this thriving industry.
The level of investment achieved by previous Mission attendees is incredible and we’re really excited about the 16 companies selected for this year’s trip. Each chosen company has shown us new and exciting cleantech solutions with huge potential and addressing a multitude of environmental challenges faced by society today.”

Companies selected for the mission are addressing some of the most pressing climate challenges worldwide.

About Libertine
While over a billion people currently don’t have access to reliable grid power, those who do waste more energy than they use. To address these issues, Libertine has developed a suite of new “Linear Power System” technologies.

These new technologies will enable the development of a range of low cost, high efficiency appliances for small scale power generation, heating, cooling and transport. Libertine’s technologies combine linear electrical machines with linear gas expander systems. The technology will make “decentralised” power generation the norm, bringing clean, reliable and affordable power to wherever it is needed, and transforming the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

By licensing this technology to appliance developers with global reach and disruptive potential, Libertine aims to do for decentralised power what ARM has done for computing.
The Clean and Cool Mission will provide the perfect platform for Libertine to showcase its technology to prospective partners and investors to help scale the business to its full potential.

Twitter @innovate_uk, @CleanandCool and #cleansf.

SMF Made CBE in New Year Honours List

We are delighted to announce that one of our most active Fellows in the SMF Alumni, Anne Richards, Chief Investment Officer at Aberdeen Asset Management, has been named CBE in the New Year Honours List. This is in recognition of her outstanding work in the financial services sector as well as her voluntary work.

Anne began her career as a research fellow at CERN, moving into the investment world in 1992 after completing her MBA at INSEAD as a Sainsbury Management Fellow. Her career has included research analysis, portfolio management and global asset allocation.

Anne was named one of the Financial News 100 Women in Finance in 2012, was Funds Europe Awards’ European Chief Investment Officer also in 2012 and is a member of the Board of Leaders of 2020 Women on Boards. She also holds a number of non-executive positions, including the insurance company esure, the University of Edinburgh, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Duchy of Lancaster. She is also a member of the UK Digital Skills Task Force.

Anne graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from the University of Edinburgh and worked as a software engineer for several years before looking to make the move into business management. She credits SMF as the key enabler to her journey from “backroom to boardroom”. Anne commented, “I could not have made the transition to managing portfolios and global asset allocation without taking an MBA, which gave me the necessary management tools. The Sainsbury Management Fellows’ scheme facilitated that critical step up and gave me the confidence to lead.”

For highlights of Anne’s outstanding career achievements, read her story in Engineering New Horizons (pages 38-39).

Follow Anne on Twitter @AnneRichards16
Click here to learn more about applying for an MBA sponsorship.

£300,000 MBA Scholarships will Help Engineers Become Business Leaders

Mengyi WuSainsbury Management Fellows (SMF) has awarded £300,000 in scholarships to ten high-flying engineers to take their MBA at international business schools including INSEAD, IMD, LBS and MIT. Each engineer receives £30,000 towards their fees, helping them to add business, finance and marketing knowledge to their engineering skills.
The 2014/15 cohort of MBA awardees are:

Charles Sudburough LBS
Kwok Gam Ng LBS
Jorgina Busquets LBS
Nicholas Allan IMD
Philip Price LBS
Farid Singh INSEAD
Hersh Shah IMD
Christopher Mannion MIT
Nikhil Sachdeva HBS
Mengyi Wu (pictured) INSEAD

Commenting on the award, Hersh Shah said: “After reading Engineering at Oxford, I have spent the last eight years working with executives of some of the UK’s largest aerospace, defence and industrial companies on corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions and capital markets. I have decided to pursue an MBA at IMD Switzerland to broaden my international outlook, develop leadership awareness and gain new perspectives on solving global industrial issues from my future classmates and professors. I believe this will better place me to contribute to UK industry as my career progresses.

“I am delighted and privileged to be awarded the Sainsbury Management Fellowship and am grateful for its support. In particular, I look forward to being a part of the unique SMF network and hope to contribute to the future growth and advancement of UK industry in a global and competitive business environment.”

SMF was set up in 1987 by Lord Sainsbury to help engineers acquire skills that will take them into the boardrooms of Britain’s blue-chip companies or set up enterprises that will boost the UK economy.
Administered by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) on behalf of SMF, 330 engineers have benefited from the scheme.

Ten scholarships are available each year and applications can be made individually or in conjunction with an employer. To apply, candidates complete an online application form and submit with the required references and supporting documents. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview panel at the RAEng.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so engineers can apply throughout the year. Candidates should meet the following criteria:

  • Have a first or upper second class honours degree in an engineering subject
  • Have chartered engineer status or be making progress towards it
  • Have the potential and ambition to achieve senior management level
  • Have secured a place at one of the 14 business schools that participate in the SMF scheme

SMF President, David Falzani, said: “The scholarships help engineers gain the business knowledge and experience needed to become business leaders and entrepreneurs. Our research shows that our fellows hold over 400 director and NED positions in blue-chip companies and start-ups, they have created 220 successful new businesses, raised £1.8 billion in venture capital or debt investments, generated 18,000 new jobs, and 260 fellows support and mentor young engineers.”

Q APP Wins Best Mobile Payment Service Award

ME Awards_serge

Q App, the leading mobile ordering platform, has been awarded a coveted title of ‘Best Payment Service’ in the annual Mobile Entertainment Awards.

One of the industry’s biggest and most prestigious events, ME Awards celebrates the achievements across the mobile industry and selects the leading companies across several categories.

In spite of the impressive level of competition in the Payments Service category, Q App edged towards the title thanks to its impressive product and the progress made with signing up new clients.

Now deployed in some of the UK’s best known venues, such as the Royal Albert Hall, Southbank Centre and Premier League grounds, as well as theatres, bars, pubs, coffee shops and fast food outlets, Q App is rapidly revolutionising the way people order food and drinks and removing one of the biggest pain points in hospitality – queuing.

Serge Taborin, a Sainsbury Management Fellow and Q App CEO, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been recognised by our industry peers as the Best Mobile Payment Provider. This award caps an amazing few months for the business, with more and more major venues joining the Q App ordering revolution. We will shortly be making a number of further announcements on Q App’s expansion with a number of major new deployments as we look to make queuing the thing of the past.”