Grant Thornton UK LLP and Cranfield School of Management announce today (21 Oct) that more than 720 learners are benefitting from their unique master’s programmes.

Cranfield School of Management was the first business school in the UK to accept students onto an Executive MBA (EMBA) funded by the apprenticeship levy. Grant Thornton partnered with Cranfield to develop and deliver the EMBA programme, which is especially designed for middle managers wanting to move into senior management roles and those on a fast-track career path within their organisations.

Since then, two further programmes have been developed to deliver the Level 7 Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship. These include the EMBA (Human Capital), and the MSc in Management and Leadership.

The unique partnership between Cranfield and Grant Thornton combines the best of academic insight and commercial application. The programmes are developing a community of individuals with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to lead innovation, deliver business impact and empower high performing teams. 

Organisations such as BP, Rolls-Royce, Hargreaves Lansdown, Smiths, Severn Trent, Aviva and easyJet have used Cranfield and Grant Thornton’s programmes to unlock growth potential, retain the best people, bring in new skills and develop leadership and management capability. For eligible organisations, tuition fees for the programmes can be funded by utilising apprenticeship levy payments. 

James Richards, Group Director of Sales Operations, at global recruitment company StepStone, has recently completed his EMBA at Cranfield and will officially graduate in 2020. 

He says: “The mix of practical and academic benefits that the course has offered have been incredibly useful. I have learnt so much that I’ve been able to put in to practice to support the growth of the business. Since starting the EMBA I’ve been promoted twice and believe that the things I’ve been learning have significantly contributed to my progression. My most recent promotion to Group Director is a big step up and the investment that StepStone has made into my academic understanding of business models and processes helped put me in the perfect position to make the career jump.”

Justin Rix, Head of People Advisory at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said:

“The huge uptake of this programme is testament to the fact that leaders in the public, private and third sectors recognise the critical need to upskill their people to drive productivity, growth and ensure sustainable results. This MBA programme is designed to develop the next generation of senior leaders - it takes learners out of their comfort zone, challenging them to reflect, question and find practical solutions to complex business challenges.”


Professor David Oglethorpe, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Cranfield School of Management, said:

“We are delighted with how popular the Executive MBA has been since its launch and are encouraged by the breadth of businesses that are seeing the value they can gain from encouraging their employees to study with us through the Apprenticeship Levy. The calibre of people that we have had on the course has been outstanding, and we have been encouraged to see their progress and success as a result of their studies.”

Grant Thornton and Cranfield have announced the launch of a new bursary for third sector organisations designed to enable workers from not-for-profit and public sector organisations easier access to the EMBA.

Applications are now being considered for the next cohorts starting in January and April 2020. A limited number of bursaries will be awarded per cohort to sponsored employees of eligible organisations. The funding will match the portion of the course not already eligible to be covered by individual employers’ apprenticeship levy funds. Applicants for the bursary fund follow the same application process as other EMBA applicants.


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