Sainsbury Management Fellows


SMF Scholarship FAQs

faq-arrow What is a Sainsbury Management Fellows Scholarship?
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.

faq-arrow Does the scholarship apply to all forms of engineering, eg civil/structural?
faq-arrow How many scholarships are awarded?
Ten scholarships are awarded annually. This amounts to £500,000 worth of scholarships, with each successful candidate receiving £50,000.
faq-arrow How many applications to you receive in a year?
The number of applications fluctuates from year to year, but in recent years the numbers range between 30 to 40+
faq-arrow Who is eligible for a Sainsbury Management Fellows Scholarship?
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
faq-arrow Is there an age limit to apply for the scholarship?
No. Typically applicants for the Scholarship are in their mid to late twenties.
faq-arrow Is there a requirement to be a chartered engineer?
No. However, the assessment panel looks favourably on applicants who are chartered or working towards chartership.
faq-arrow Must applicants have line management experience?
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.
faq-arrow Is the scholarship open for permanent residents in the UK who have indefinite leave to remain or only UK citizens?
The scheme is open to both.
faq-arrow What is the application date for a scholarship?
There are 1-2 application rounds each year. For more information about application deadlines please visit the Royal Academy of Engineering’s website.
faq-arrow Can the scholarship be used at any business school?
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.
faq-arrow Do I need to have a place at a business school before applying for a scholarship?
Yes, you must have a confirmed place at a business school.
faq-arrow Can I apply for a scholarship for a part time or distance learning MBA?
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.
faq-arrow Can I apply for a scholarship for an executive MBA?
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.
faq-arrow Do you review the business schools for the SMF scholarship?
The business schools have been reviewed over the years and the current list of schools will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
faq-arrow Is the scholarship available for both 1 and 2 year MBAs?
Yes, as long as you study at one of the business schools participating in the scholarship programme.
faq-arrow What does the application process involve?
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.
faq-arrow Can my employer apply for the scholarship on my behalf?
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.
faq-arrow How long after after the closing date will I wait before hearing if I am successful?
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.
faq-arrow Who conducts the panel interview?
Members of the Royal Academy of Engineering together with Sainsbury Management Fellows who have previously gone through the same application and selection process.
faq-arrow What do I need to prepare for the Selection Panel interview panel?
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.
faq-arrow What key things are the assessment panel looking for from scholarship applicants?
  • 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
faq-arrow Do applications have to be accompanied by references?
    • Yes. Please see the

Royal Academy of Engineering’s website

    for details on how to apply.
faq-arrow How is the scholarship paid?
The £50,000 scholarship is paid as a lump sum directly to successful candidates before they start their MBA course.
faq-arrow Is the scholarship to be used for specific items?
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.
faq-arrow How many people have been awarded scholarships already?
375 people have received a scholarship.
faq-arrow Can I apply for the scholarship more than once, if I’m not successful the first time?
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.
faq-arrow If unsuccessful in an application for the scholarship, can one still get mentoring through EIBF?
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.
faq-arrow What happens after graduation? / How do I become part of the SMF network?
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.
faq-arrow What is Engineers in Business Fellowship and how does it relate to Sainsbury Management Fellows
When SMF became a registered charity, the charity was named Engineers in Business Fellowship (EBIF). The Sainsbury Management Fellows is EIBF’s scholarship programme.
faq-arrow How can an MBA help career wise?
    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.
faq-arrow What is the benefit of the MBA over a Masters in Business?
    • 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


    to read a blog on this subject.
faq-arrow I have a question that is not answered here.
Just send your question(s) to and she will get in touch.

Engineers in Business FAQs

faq-arrow What is Engineers in Business Fellowship?
Engineers in Business Fellowship (EIBF) is a registered charity that promotes the importance and value of business education for engineers in order to improve people’s lives and the performance of the UK and global economies.

EIBF empowers engineers to become leaders, helps them achieve their full potential and attain career goals, and inspires a passion for business innovation amongst undergraduate engineers. It does this by providing four areas of support:

  1. Awarding £500,000 of Sainsbury Management Fellows MBA scholarships to 10 engineers each year
  2. Helping universities and FE institutions inspire more engineering students, alumni (up to 5 years post graduation) and postgraduates to acquire business skills by getting involved in business competitions. This scheme is called The Engineers in Business Competition
  3. Providing career and entrepreneur mentoring
  4. Fundraising to sustain the scholarship scheme and help more engineers gain business skills
faq-arrow What is the Engineers in Business (EIB) Competition Prize Fund?
EIB provides a £3,000 prize fund to individual universities and FE colleges that run a business innovation or business plan competition that is open to engineering students/graduates/postgraduates. Our charitable aim is to increase participation of this group in business education to increase their knowledge of business and their employability.
faq-arrow How can we use the £3,000?
The fund is prize money to be awarded to the winning teams or individual winners (individual winners must be an ‘engineer’ or, if a team, then with at least one ‘engineer’ participant in the team). Typically universities award a first, second and third prize in the following denominations: £1,500, £1,000 and £500. However, we leave the distribution of the prize fund to you.
faq-arrow Can we use some of the £3,000 to run and promote the competition to engineering students?
Sorry, no. The full amount must be used for prizes for the winners.
faq-arrow Do we have to adapt our competition to apply for the £3,000 prize fund?
No. You run your competition as normal. The only difference is that you will commit to promote the competition to the target group (ie engineering students/graduates/postgraduates) so they become aware of the opportunity to participate.
faq-arrow Do the winning teams have to comprise only engineering students/graduates/postgraduates?
Teams can be multidisciplinary. However, the winning team must include at least one engineering student/graduate/postgraduate. If the prize is to be awarded to a single winner, this person must be an engineering student/graduate/postgraduate.
faq-arrow Can a team that has come up with a brilliant engineering idea, but does not include an engineer be awarded an EIB prize?
No, the winning team must include at least one engineering student/graduate/postgraduate. A prize cannot be awarded to a non-engineering person who enters individually.
faq-arrow Can we award the full £3,000 to one winning team or individual?
Yes, you may. The prize may be awarded to a multidisciplinary team including at least one engineering student/graduate/postgraduate. If the prize is to be awarded to an individual, that individual must be an engineering student/graduate/postgraduate.
faq-arrow We don’t have an existing competition. If we set one up especially, can we apply for the £3,000 funding?
Yes you may do so. Please be aware that the funding cannot be used to offset the cost of setting up, running or promoting your competition. The fund is for awarding prizes to the winner(s).
faq-arrow Is there a time limit for running our competition?
We hope that you will complete your competition within 12 months of your application being approved. If there is a time issue please contact so that we can discuss the matter.
faq-arrow Are both FE/HE engineering students eligible to participate?
Yes, we welcome entrants from both categories as this enables people from diverse backgrounds to get involved.
faq-arrow Are engineering postgraduates, researchers and alumni eligible?
Yes. However, there is a limit on the number of years since graduation for alumni participants – this is five years.
faq-arrow Can people from the wider community participate?
The principle is the same as for alumni. If you wish to embrace the wider community, you may do so as long as there is a cap on the number of years the participants have been in the workplace (ie five years).
faq-arrow Are entrants/winners expected to turn their ideas into a real business?
No, participants are not expected or obliged to do this. A key goal for EIBF is for participants to engage with business topics as part of their educational experience in a way they might not have done without EIBF’s support.
faq-arrow Can an engineering student who develops a non-engineering idea, such as a service or a food product, qualify for the prize?
faq-arrow Can an entrant who is a non-engineering student who develops an engineering concept win a prize?
If the team is multidisciplinary (engineering/non-engineering students), it can share a prize.

If you have a question that has not been covered here, please contact for assistance.



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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