Cranfield School of Management and Leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP are pleased to announce a new partnership to develop and deliver the Cranfield Executive MBA programme.

The collaboration aims to address the current management skills gap in the UK and improve productivity by using the Government’s new Apprenticeship Levy to bring scale and wider accessibility to the world-class education offered by the Executive MBA.

Professor Paul Baines, Director of the Cranfield EMBA programme commented: “Our partnership with Grant Thornton is an innovative step in MBA delivery that will see many exciting developments for the programme.

“The Apprenticeship Levy comes into force in April this year and will see all organisations with a pay bill greater than £3m having to pay a 0.5% levy on their pay bill. This money can then be used to fund apprenticeship training for new or existing staff. If they do not spend the money within 24 months, Government will remove the money from the employer’s apprenticeship account.  It will be a case of use it or lose it!”

The part-time programme, which runs over two years, will offer the best of academic theory, commercial insights and practical application. Grant Thornton and Cranfield will work with employers impacted by the Apprenticeship Levy who wish to make best use of their contributions and allowance by enrolling high-potential colleagues and investing in up-skilling their talent base. 

The Government aims to create 3 million apprenticeships in the private and public sectors by 2020. The Cranfield EMBA has been designed to meet the requirements of the new Level 7 Strategic Leadership Master's Degree Apprenticeship.

Research shows the UK's economy is facing significant demand for management skills and the potential benefit of up-skilling staff at this level. Seventy one per cent of organisations surveyed admitted they had failed to effectively train first-time managers, whilst management and leadership development led to a 23% increase in organisational performance and a 32% increase in people performance amongst surveyed companies. 

Sacha Romanovitch, CEO of Grant Thornton UK LLP, commented: "Developing the skills and knowledge of managers in organisations is critical to ensure we can drive productivity and growth and ensure sustainable, long term results. We have listened to the market and based on our insight of what makes truly great leaders, we have helped develop a curriculum that responds to the needs of modern, dynamic organisations. Naturally, the programme is challenging and will stretch even the brightest minds, encouraging future leaders to explore new areas and push out of their comfort zone.

"This collaboration brings to bear the very best of the academic and commercial worlds and sits at the heart of our purpose of helping to shape a vibrant economy by building trust and integrity in markets, unlocking growth in dynamic organisations, and creating environments where business and people thrive. Through this MBA programme we will develop a distinctive community of individuals that have the skills, know-how and confidence to stand out from the crowd through their ability to lead innovation, deliver social impact and empower their people to drive optimum results."

Professor Lynette Ryals Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Education at Cranfield University commented: “With the emphasis of apprenticeships on the practical application of knowledge, they are an excellent strategic fit for Cranfield. We were the first University in the UK to offer degree apprenticeships at Master’s level (Cranfield MastershipsTM) and we are delighted to be working with Grant Thornton to provide companies with the opportunity to develop their senior leaders to prepare for the management challenges of tomorrow.”

MBA Students
MBA Students

Notes for editors

About Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton is one of the world’s leading organisations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms. These firms help dynamic organisations unlock their potential for growth by providing meaningful, forward-thinking advice. Proactive teams, led by approachable partners in these firms, use insights, experience and instinct to understand complex issues for privately owned, publicly listed and public sector clients and help them to find solutions. More than 38,500 Grant Thornton people, across over 120 countries, are focused on making a difference to clients, colleagues and the communities in which we live and work. The UK Grant Thornton member firm provides services to over 40,000 privately held businesses, public interest entities and individuals. It is led by more than 185 partners and employs more than 4,600 of the profession's brightest minds.

Find out more at Grant Thornton

About Cranfield University

Cranfield is an exclusively postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management. 

Cranfield School of Management

Cranfield has been a world leader in management education and research for 50 years, helping individuals and organisations learn and succeed by transforming knowledge into action. We are dedicated to creating responsible management thinking, improving business performance and inspiring the next generation of business leaders. We work to change the lives of our students and executives by encouraging innovation and creative thinking, as well as the drive to succeed and make a real impact on their organisations.

Organisations as diverse as Jaguar Land Rover, BAE Systems, Royal Dutch Shell, L’Oréal, UNICEF and the African Development Bank have benefited from our work, which ranges from management research projects, through staff talent management development on our MBA courses, to customised executive programmes.

Cranfield is one of an elite group of Schools worldwide to hold the triple accreditation of: AACSB International (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) and AMBA (the Association of MBAs).

It is in the Top 10 International Business Schools in the Forbes’ ranking.

Over 15,000 people come to Cranfield each year to benefit from our executive and professional development programmes.