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SMF award winner, Sinead O'Sullivan

An MBA is a great way to leverage my engineering background to enable me to commercialise a lot of the technology that I’m working with.

Aerospace design specialist Sinead O’Sullivan, a former researcher at the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, is one of nine young engineers to be awarded a £30,000 Sainsbury Management Fellows scholarship to study for an MBA at a leading business school.

The Sainsbury Management Fellows (SMF) MBA scholarship enables engineers to add business skills to their engineering expertise. Each candidate met the engineering degree requirements and passed a rigorous interview panel comprising Fellows from the Royal Academy of Engineering and SMF by demonstrating a wide range of attributes including leadership skills and the potential to achieve senior management responsibility early in their career.

The other awardees are John Collins, William Jones, Pierre-Nicolas Queyroux, Olubusola Yejide and Christopher Hughes who chose INSEAD; Eirini Koukaki, Evridiki Giamouzi, Mohammad Saquib who selected LBS. Sinead O'Sullivan who is taking her MBA at Harvard.

O’Sullivan has a first degree and a Masters in Aerospace Engineering from prestigious universities, and a Certificate of Space Studies from the International Space University in France.

Before applying for the SMF scholarship, O’Sullivan was handling projects such as the Mars Mission design for NASA, and creating new technologies for the Navy and the Federal Aviation Administration. She still holds the position of co-lead for Space Technologies for the Space Generation Advisory Council and is a Research Fellow in Space Technologies for the United States Center for Climate and Security.

O’Sullivan said: "I’m planning on returning to the aerospace industry after graduation. My MBA will help me advance my engineering career by enabling me to learn hard skills such as financial modelling and soft skills like the art of negotiating. An MBA is a great way to leverage my engineering background to enable me to commercialise a lot of the technology that I’m working with.

“The scholarship means I can have an unparalleled learning experience whilst being able to stay true to my passion for the aerospace industry and be able to follow a career in engineering afterwards. The MBA will allow me to move into the C-suite faster and give me the core competencies to make a difference in my field.

“Apart from the scholarship, affiliation with SMF has given me an impressive network of people that I can use to open doors in my industry or from whom I can seek advice when making big career decisions.

Since starting at Harvard I have set up a US-based company specialising in space technologies which has already received significant funding. My goal is to work for myself after the MBA and to open a UK office to serve the European market. The UK has incredible potential for STEM start-ups. I’m looking forward to returning to the UK and developing this industry there.”

SMF President, David Falzani, said: “Lord Sainsbury’s vision and investment in the scholarship has produced more than 300 SMFs who have combined their engineering and business skills to generate thriving businesses. The Fellows hold 400 directorships, have created 220 successful new businesses, raised £1.8 billion in investments, generated 18,000 new jobs, and 260 Fellows support and mentor young engineers.”


About the SMF Scholarship

The SMF scholarship was set up in 1987 by Lord Sainsbury to help engineers acquire skills that take them into the boardrooms of Britain’s blue-chip companies or set up enterprises that will boost the UK and global economy.

Administered by the Royal Academy of Engineering on behalf of SMF, 330 engineers have benefited from the scheme so far.

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 it with the supporting documents. Shortlisted candidates are invited to an interview panel at the Royal Academy of Engineering.


Althea Taylor-Salmon
Fortune PR
07711 624 267
01992 551 335

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