The Cranfield Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ Executive MBA in partnership with Grant Thornton aims to provide the full senior leader experience.

It combines the core knowledge, skills and behaviours of the Apprenticeship Levy's Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship and Executive MBA themes during the first 15 months, with a complementary part two experience that fully develops the leadership qualities and academic foundations of an Executive MBA.  

As we navigate the coming years and post COVID economic backdrop, we need clear, inclusive and strategic leadership within our organisations. These traits are core elements of the Level 7 Senior Leader standard. The Cranfield Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ Executive MBA combines all 46 of the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours outlined in the Senior Leader standard within the context of your business, whilst also providing the platform to propel your learners' mindset and leadership qualities on a global level. 

Programme benefits – apprentices and their organisation 

This programme will develop your employees' leadership and management skills with a specific focus on business growth and innovation. During the initial 15 months of the programme, learners develop and deepen their understanding of your organisation and its context and realise their team or unit's strategic importance to your business whilst learning how to maximise contribution by becoming more effective leaders. Learners will become more skilled and resilient senior leaders whilst gaining new knowledge in areas including data analytics, organisational resilience, and managing strategic innovation.  

In preparation for the Senior Leader Apprenticeship assessment part way through the programme, candidates will build their Apprenticeship portfolio and utilise work-based projects to advance your organisation's strategic agenda. The new knowledge, skills, and behaviours students have gained during their Apprenticeship will be evidenced in their ability to solve complex problems and lead change within your business.

On completion of this Apprenticeship, learners will be able to: 

  • Develop and review operational policies and practices to ensure alignment with the strategic needs of the organisation.  
  • Cultivate and maintain collaborative relationships with key senior internal and external stakeholders. 
  • Strategically manage organisational resource requirements, including budgets, people, and technology.  
  • Set the overall strategic vision of the company in partnership with the Board, encouraging employees' buy-in.
  • Lead on the identification, management and monitoring of risks and opportunities which could affect business/department performance. 

View full list of all knowledge, skills and behaviours. 

The programme

The Cranfield Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ Executive MBA in partnership with Grant Thornton is a  28-month programme delivered in two core stages, but with thematic elements of an Executive MBA running through the programme from the start. 

Stage one of the programme is designed to deepen apprentice's knowledge of the organisation and their contribution towards it. Stage 1 concludes with an End-Point Assessment (EPA), completed over five months, including the student’s Strategic Business Proposal, supported by the employer. Stage two builds on the Senior Leader Apprenticeship learning by allowing participants to extend their understanding of your business over and above particular functional expertise and further develop leadership capabilities. It supports career progression and your business's succession planning needs by preparing students to carry out senior strategic roles effectively.  

On completion of this programme, candidates will have gained: 

  • A deep understanding of the core elements of managing and leading a complex organisation, with a greater understanding of the business as a whole and the capability to be a more effective senior leader. 
  • The ability to define and set strategic direction and embed operational plans.
  • The ability to drive enhanced performance of self and others via comprehensive strategic planning which will deliver sustainable, measurable impact and value to your organisation,
  • The opportunity to work alongside other organisations and share best practice in a safe peer-group environment.  

Next steps 

If you are ready to put forward candidates from your business, please complete our Expression of Interest form. Our Admissions team will contact your employees directly to begin the application journey. 

For a more detailed conversation with one of our Executive Admissions Team please contact us.  

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for employers

Who is the Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ Executive MBA for? 

The Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ Executive MBA in partnership with Grant Thornton is aimed at Senior Leaders with mid-to senior-level experience looking to develop the skillsets required to lead a department or business.

  • Minimum of five years' post-qualification work experience. 
  • A strong degree and/or professional qualification or demonstration of high levels of achievement, exceptional career progression or evidence of leadership potential. 
  • English language: full details of how you can meet this requirement can be found under Entry Requirements on the programme webpage.

How long is the Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ Executive MBA programme? 

The Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ Executive MBA is a 28-month programme delivered in two parts.

Is the programme available to those outside of the UK? 

Apprenticeship Levy funding is available to those who spend at least 50% of their working hours in England. If a candidate spends less than 50% of their working hours in England, they will not be eligible for funding.

How is the Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ Executive MBA programme being delivered?

The Executive MBA is delivered face-to-face at our campus; students are required to travel to Cranfield School of Management every month.

How many students undertake the Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ Executive MBA in each intake?

Each Executive MBA cohort will contain 100 students, allowing for diverse networking opportunities with candidates from a range of backgrounds and employment sectors.

What’s the time commitment?

Lectures are conducted three days a month – typically consecutively on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Outside of teaching hours, the expectation is that students will carry out 10 hours of individual learning per week.

Is there a maximum number of employees that one company can enrol?

No, organisations can send any number of candidates onto our programme.

Do you require named contacts in HR or Finance?

We will require the name of a key contact within the organisation at the application stage. The key contact is usually the person responsible for signing contracts or dealing with apprenticeship levy queries.

Application and Dates  

When is the application deadline? 

Applications are closed eight weeks before the programme start date. .

Is there an application fee? 

No, Cranfield School of Management does not require an application fee for the Senior Leader Apprenticeship and Executive MBA.

Will applications be considered if they do not have a degree? 

Applicants who do not have a degree are welcome, provided they can illustrate high levels of achievement, exceptional career progression or evidence of leadership potential. They will be allowed to demonstrate these attributes during the interview.

What involvement do employers have in the application process?

The Apprenticeship programme is regulated by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) who ensure that the Apprenticeship Levy funding is only used to pay for training for eligible individuals who require significant amounts of new Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KBs) to be occupationally competent in their current or future role. 

As the employer, you will be required to undertake the following before the start of the apprenticeship programme:

  • An employer assessment providing details about the company, key contacts, and levy funding status; 
  • Identify a Reviewer / Mentor for each successful apprentice who will support them through the apprenticeship programme (usually the line manager). 
  • Contribute to the candidate's initial assessment process, confirming that each candidate meets the eligibility requirements and assists in assessing their levels of prior knowledge and experience.
  • Attend an on-boarding session to discuss the ongoing requirements of the apprenticeship
  • Sign relevant contracts as laid down by the ESFA; 
  • Connect to Cranfield University through the Apprenticeship Service portal.

Fees and Financing

What is the cost of the Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ Executive MBA programme?

Programme Standard
The Cranfield Executive MBA - Commercial
The Cranfield Executive MBA - Entrepreneurship £27,000
The Cranfield Executive MBA - Finance

How are the payments broken down? 

The Cranfield Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ Executive MBA is a 28-month programme consisting of two core payments. Part I can be fully funded by the UK Apprenticeship Levy (£14,000), which will be collected monthly through the DAS system after initial registration, with the final 20% collected through DAS on completion of the End Point assessment. Part II can be funded by the employer or student and is priced at £13,000, which is payable in two equal instalments. Payment one of £6,500 will be made at initial registration, of which £1,500 is non-refundable. Payment two will be made at month 16, consisting of a further £6,500.

Completion of the programme will award the student an Executive MBA.