If you’ve been considering the benefits of an MBA at one of the oldest and most prestigious business institutions, you’re not alone. Alliance Business School Manchester draws ambitious professionals from all over the world who are looking to progress their careers or fancy treading a new path.

Further to this, AMBS are offering 1 female the chance to acquire an incredible full-fee £48,000 scholarship, to financially support their undertaking of a Business MBA. You can find out how to apply at the bottom of this feature.

In this second installment of our new ‘My MBA’ feature, we sat down with Sarah Ovenden, recipient of the scholarship last year, to discuss how she came to apply for the funding, the benefit of international focus and gender balance on Manchester’s MBA programs and advice for other women in business.

My MBA: Sarah Ovenden


At the time of applying, Sarah was working for Jaguar Land Rover, a company she’d been working for since graduating from her undergraduate degree in 2016.

“I started by interning in my penultimate year of university. I was then lucky to join the graduate scheme straight out of university, and I spent six years in procurement across both strategy and delivery roles in the UK. I then moved into a material cost transformation role and was in that role for about a year before we had a transformation into business performance,” says Sarah.

Sarah believed that this MBA would give her international insight and allow her to “learn other areas of business acumen to complement my role that I was doing.”

However, the part-time MBA option was always second to Sarah’s ideal learning method, which was full-time. But since the full-time MBA was simply not financially viable, she applied and was accepted to the part-time program and got ready to begin her journey of studying while working full-time. But an email dropped in her inbox.



“I received some information from the admissions and marketing team. It seemed that there were really good opportunities to apply for scholarships, so I applied for the Full-Fee ‘Female Leaders in Business’ scholarship, worth £48,000” Sarah says.

This scholarship and others, aim to enhance the number of women in business education, by financially supporting females wanting to undertake an MBA at AMBS.

After applying, Sarah successfully secured this scholarship, which allowed her to partake in the full-time MBA; her preferred choice of MBA.

“This scholarship was really fundamental to me being able to take part in the full-time MBA; without the scholarship, I simply wouldn’t have been able to undertake the full-time programme,” says Sarah, “so it’s really made it an inclusive opportunity for me to be part of this course.”



Sarah started the full-time programme in 2023 and will be graduating with an MBA in 2025. So far, the programme is living up to her expectations, and she says the international focus of the MBA is a huge benefit.

“One of my major drivers for undertaking the MBA was that I wanted to work internationally afterwards,” she says. “I’ve gotten an experience to work with individuals from all around the globe, which is something that would have taken me years and years, if even possible, to get without the MBA. I’m learning from peers that have got a wide range of backgrounds.”



The programme itself has a great gender balance, and the Alliance Manchester Business School MBA boasts an almost 50/50 gender split, with 46% of students being female – something Sarah believes has also been crucial in her getting the most out of it.

“Being part of this cohort, where the split is almost 50/50, men and women, it provides a real opportunity for me as an aspiring future female leader to be part of a cohort and learn from other international women and my male colleagues,” she says. “I think the programme offers a real good opportunity for female leaders of the future.”

And what’s more, through the Female Business Leaders scholarship, it’s not just funding that Sarah was able to secure. She has also been able to network with other women in business who secured the scholarship at conferences and events, including taking part in a guest speaker series and other events.

For the rest of her programme, Sarah is looking forward to “working in new groups for her next modules,” which will give her the opportunity to learn even more from other individuals. She will also take on a number of electives and commercial business projects.



For other women looking to study an MBA, Sarah really stresses the importance of looking at all of the possible funding options available for all programmes. She says to refrain from writing anything off and do as much research as possible into ways to secure financial aid.

“I would really encourage any women looking to undertake an MBA to really consider applying for all of the scholarships that are available to them—I nearly didn’t consider them, and I’m so glad I did. If I hadn’t done further research, I probably wouldn’t be here on this journey with my course today.”




Please submit a written scholarship statement addressing the points below (maximum 2 pages A4).

  • Give us a brief summary of your career to date – how has your career progressed and what are your key achievements?
  • Why do you feel it is the right time in your career to study an MBA and what are your immediate goals after you complete the programme?
  • Considering the scholarship criteria, what makes you stand out as an exceptional candidate for this award?
  • Statement of financial need: An important part of the scholarship agreement with the alumni donor is that the recipient is able to demonstrate financial need.

How do you plan to fund your MBA programme?

Tell us why you have financial need and without a scholarship, you would not otherwise be able to accept a place on the Manchester Full-time MBA Programme.

Please provide any information you think would be helpful to support your case for a scholarship (you do not need to provide personal financial records).

Please send your completed statement to chris.healy@manchester.ac.uk



Want to become part of Manchester’s business scene? Join an MYP networking event

If you’re contemplating an MBA with our Careers Partner AMBS, you’d be remiss not to get plugged into Manchester’s thriving business networking community. Here you can make vital connections that can lead to business ventures, job opportunities and lifelong friendships.

Join the MYP community today to get access to our networking events in Manchester.

We’ve been running networking events for ambitious young professionals for many years now. If that sounds like you, come along and make some new connections over a mixer, brunch or even exercise class.

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