SMF Scholarship FAQs

This scholarship is awarded to engineers to assist them in studying for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree at one of the leading business schools that take part in the Sainsbury Management Fellows scholarship programme.

The £50,000 scholarship enables the successful applicants to add business, finance and marketing expertise to the skills they gained through their engineering training and qualifications. The qualifications, experience and contacts gained through the MBA programme will assist the newly graduated Sainsbury Management Fellows in their ambition to secure senior level roles in blue-chip companies or to start and grow their own enterprises.


Ten scholarships are awarded annually. This amounts to £500,000 worth of scholarships, with each successful candidate receiving £50,000.

The number of applications fluctuates from year to year, but in recent years the numbers range between 30 to 40

Applicants must have a confirmed place on a full time MBA programme at one of the 14 eligible business schools and have a first degree in an engineering discipline, preferably a first or upper second class.

  • Applicants must have a first degree in an engineering, allied technology or science discipline, preferably a first or upper second class
  • Applicants must demonstrate a strong commitment to both UK engineering/business/industry and their respective engineering communities
  • Applicants must be an EU/EEA citizen, normally domiciled in the United Kingdom
  • Applicants do not need to have Chartered Engineer status (or equivalent), however, this qualification or progress towards it will be viewed favourably
  • Applicants would usually have 4-10 years professional experience post-degree

No. Typically applicants for the Scholarship are in their mid to late twenties.

No. However, the assessment panel looks favourably on applicants who are chartered or working towards chartership.

No. The assessment panel is looking for leadership potential and this can be demonstrated through a diversity of activity where you have taken the lead in a professional or personal capacity.

The scheme is open to both.

There are 1-2 application rounds each year. For more information about application deadlines please visit the Royal Academy of Engineering’s website.

Fourteen business schools around the world participate in the Sainsbury Management Fellows scholarship programme. Only MBA candidates who gain a place (or plan to study) at these schools may apply for the scholarship.

Yes, you must have a confirmed place at a business school.

The Sainsbury Management Fellows scholarship is open only to candidates who will be studying for a full time MBA at one of the participating business schools.

The Sainsbury Management Fellows scholarship is open only to candidates who will be studying for a full time MBA at one of the participating business schools.

The business schools have been reviewed over the years and the current list of schools will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Yes, as long as you study at one of the business schools participating in the scholarship programme.

A written submission with supporting evidence is required. This is followed by an interview for the short-listed applicants. Full details of the application process can be found on the Royal Academy of Engineering’s website. The RAEng administers the scholarship applications with the involvement of Sainsbury Management Fellows. You can also read brief details on the application criteria and process on this website.

Applications can be made by you in conjunction with your employer, not exclusively by your employer. Where an employer supports an application, it is helpful if a covering letter confirming this with outline plans for your future career development.

Applications are checked against the eligible criteria (eg having a confirmed place at one of the designated business schools) and then reviewed. Shortlisted candidates are then invited to an interview after the closing date of the application round. This process takes approximately 4-6 weeks.

Members of the Royal Academy of Engineering together with Sainsbury Management Fellows who have previously gone through the same application and selection process.

As with any interview, preparation and confidence are key to success. Sainsbury Management Fellows have pooled their experiences and written an advice article to help applicants with the application process and the panel interview. Click here to read the article.

  • An undergraduate engineering degree
  • Demonstration of progression in career
  • Demonstration of leadership skills or leadership potential
  • A future commitment to work in UK industry or associated area
  • Confirmed place from one of the 14 business schools in our scholarship programme

Yes. Please see the Royal Academy of Engineering’s website for details on how to apply.

The £50,000 scholarship is paid as a lump sum directly to successful candidates before they start their MBA course.

The successful candidates take full responsibility for how they use their £50,000 scholarship fund. The scholarship can be used for fees, course materials, relocation costs – whatever is helpful to the candidate.

375 people have received a scholarship.

Yes, you may re-apply for a scholarship if you were unsuccessful the first time and have not already taken a full time MBA course.

Yes. Mentoring is one of our charitable objects and EIBF is committed to the development of engineers. You can apply for a mentor by contacting the EIBF Office.

After graduation, you will become a Sainsbury Management Fellow. You will receive a welcome pack which will inform you about the support and networking opportunities available to Fellows – this includes an invitation to a New Members Dinner. Also, you will be invited to join the LinkedIn group, Engineers in Business which enables you to proactively engage with other SMFs. You will also receive details of the modest annual membership fee which helps to fund member events and resources.

When SMF became a registered charity, the charity was named Engineers in Business Fellowship (EBIF). The Sainsbury Management Fellows is EIBF’s scholarship programme.

MBAs expose students to many areas of business in an intensive, immersive way that challenges and stretches students’ perspectives and thinking. The MBA experience is sometimes described as a re-wiring of students’ brains so that they can think critically and quickly analyse information, filtering out what is important from the irrelevant. The skills taught in an MBA programme enable you to read, assess, structure and plan rapidly; skills that will enable you to find innovative ways of dealing with big problems. An MBA graduate also gains a razor-sharp ‘tool kit’ to apply to any business challenge and of course, the ‘glow’ of the prestigious international business school brand. Apart from the new skills propelling career prospects and salary, the network of peers from the business school become life-long associates and friends and this is a powerful asset.

The MBA is an instantly recognisable brand, is offered by leading business schools worldwide, comes with a high price tag and reputation. MBA students usually have several years work experience under their belt. MBA and MSc education can be very similar in content however, the MSc allows for a wide variety of subject specialisations. There are a variety of MScs in business from excellent schools and universities. MScs in business and administration topics are usually shorter than MBAs, more affordable and, crucially, more suited to those at an earlier stage in their career. Follow this link to read a blog on this subject.

Just send your question(s) to and she will get in touch.

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