Not your average Masters

Ready to join the cream of the crop?

If you’re reading this, you’ve been handpicked to apply and compete for the Barclays Masters Apprenticeship. The first of its kind offered by a UK bank,  this programme will take on 30 of our most promising future leaders from all over our business. It’s the opportunity to study completely free of charge for an MSc in Business and Strategic Leadership, with postgraduate specialists Cranfield University. You’ll balance your studies with your current role, apply your new learning in your day-to-day work – and of course, bring fresh energy to your future and ours.


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Download the key facts of the programme.

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The key facts of the programme

2.5-year programme
1 year PG certificate, 1 year PG Diploma, 6 months MSc thesis project
Study for an MSc while you work
With a half-day per week in study leave and 3-day study blocks
Taught by Cranfield University
Ranked in the Financial Times’ 2017 top 10 UK business schools
Gain an externally respected qualification
Plus the chance to register with a professional body
All tuition fees paid by Barclays
No financial impact for you, even if you leave
Develop senior leadership potential
Build the skills, behaviours and areas of knowledge you need
Change your career trajectory
Gain the skills that will propel you to an incredible future
Increase your earning power
And boost the success of the future teams you lead

Am I eligible?

If you’ve come this far, your manager has recommended you for this year’s cohort, but if you’d like to double-check that you’re right for the programme, use the drop-downs below to find out. If you fit more than one group, choose the one that fits you most closely.

"This programme is a fantastic opportunity for colleagues to further their leadership skills, it’s targeted at high performing colleagues who have management experience and are on a trajectory towards strategic leadership roles. It’s truly inclusive as it is not necessary to have a degree to become a Master’s apprentice and you don’t have to fit a specific mould to be successful – in fact the more varied the experiences of the apprentice group the better, as they will learn so much more from each other than a homogeneous group."

Anneke Parsons, Head of Strategy and Change, Early Careers

Outlining the Masters Apprenticeship

What do we mean by leadership?

You’ll be studying for an MSc in Business and Strategic Leadership, but don’t let the word ‘Leadership’ put you off if you’re not a leader of people - you don’t have to be. We’re talking leadership in the sense of guiding the whole business: we’re training the future leaders of leaders, whose specialism might be anything from strategy to product development to technology, or yes, people management. Every area of our bank needs leaders with a vision to forge our future direction – and we think that might be you.

What work will I do?

First of all, the work you do won’t change: you’ll be in the same role you’re in now, but with support and study leave to help you work towards your Masters (MSc) in Business and Strategic Leadership. That means you’ll be juggling your current workload with academic modules, study blocks, and both group and individual project work.

Let’s be upfront: it’s going to be tricky. You’ll have the support of your manager and your academic tutor, as well as some time out from the business to manage your studies, but that won’t change the fact that it’s going to be difficult. You’ll have to work exceptionally hard. But then, it’ll be worth it to be one of the 30 most up-and-coming future leaders of our business.

How will my programme be structured?

First things first, the Masters Apprenticeship lasts for two and a half years, so you’ll need to be committed to seeing the whole programme though – even when things get tough. You’re building up to getting your Masters over time – starting with twelve months that form your Postgraduate Certificate, twelve months advancing to a Postgraduate Diploma, and a final six months to upgrade and obtain your MSc.

You’ll kick it all off with an induction day, likely to be either Wednesday 6 March or Thursday 7 March 2019, to provide you with deeper insight into the course. Here, you’ll meet the other successful candidates, get to know the professors at Cranfield, and kick start the first of your group work projects.

Then, you’ll begin the first modules of your Postgraduate Certificate, each taught as a three-day study block, with ten in total over the course of the programme. You’ll cover modules like Strategy – planning for the outside factors, be it political, economical or technological, that affect our organisation. You’ll study both Finance and Organisational Behaviour, and get stuck into the challenges of leading a diverse, global organisation. Then there’s Personal Development, where you’ll put all your learning into practice in your own work. And finally, you’ll even take on training designed exclusively for Barclays and our Shared Growth Ambition.

You’ll usually find that before each module begins, you’ll be part of a webinar, allowing you to ask any questions you need to. Then, you’ll have a reading list to help you prepare for the upcoming teaching. As a guideline, you can expect that you’ll need around 100 study hours per module – and some of that will need to be in your own time.

In the first twelve months, you’ll also start on what we call action learning: strategic projects that address real business challenges and opportunities inside Barclays. You’ll work as a group to research and provide potential solutions, making group project reports, group presentations, and individual presentations as you go.

Your second twelve months, the Postgraduate Diploma year, will follow a similar structure. Now, you’ll take on more advanced modules in areas like Leadership, studying leadership theory and the evolving challenges there, and Change, where you’ll learn what it takes to implement strategy that moves the business forward. Again, you’ll take on an action learning project here, which might be the same project in more depth or might be something new entirely.

Then finally, you’ll move into the last stretch: six months where you’ll upgrade to your Masters. To do that, you’ll write your thesis, which takes the form of an Applied Strategic Project - an independent project which might or might not be related to the group projects you’ve taken on throughout the programme. You’ll also take on modules in research methods to help you get stuck into this final project.

Who thrives here?

The very best and most committed of our potential future leaders. It’s not about what background you’ve come from – you might be a former apprentice, a former graduate, a long-term employee or a recent joiner - but about whether you’re willing to work hard for what you want. And make no mistake, it will be hard. You’ve got to want the best for your future – and the future of our bank.

How will I develop?

With this apprenticeship under your belt, the only way is up. You’re looking towards becoming a leader of leaders, and that extends into even the most senior parts of our business. To give you a little context, Cranfield University – where you’ll gain your Masters – has an exceptionally influential alumni network: the university is in the top 1% of global institutions with alumni in executive positions in the world’s biggest businesses.

Where will I be based?

As you’ll be continuing in your current role, you’ll stay in your current location. This Apprenticeship doesn’t tie you to that role or location though: you’re still free to apply for any promotions or new roles that come up, as you would have done outside the programme.  

What are the key application dates?

The application and assessment process will open on Monday 12 November 2018 and final offers will be confirmed by Friday 22 February 2019. Along the way, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask any questions about the programme and what’s involved. The process looks like this:

  • Friday 9 November 2018: Initial Q&A WebEx, available to sign into and to re-watch on afterwards on if you can’t attend
  • Monday 12 – Friday 26 November 2018: Initial application form opens on Taleo
  • Monday 12 – Friday 26 November 2018: At this stage, you can also use the self-selection questionnaire to make sure this is the right decision for you: it’s a self-evaluation exercise for your personal use, with no submission to Barclays involved
  • Friday 26 November – Sunday 9 December 2018: Applicants are invited to complete the Critical Reasoning Test and Personality Profile
  • Thursday 13 – Friday 14 December 2018: Unsuccessful candidates notified
  • Monday 17 December: Successful candidates receive brief for 1,500-word assignment
  • Wednesday 2 January 2019: Deadline for candidates to submit their written assignment
  • Thursday 10 – Friday 11 January 2019: Candidates receive invitation to Cranfield interview
  • Monday 14 January, 10am - 11am: Pre-interview webinar with Cranfield
  • Monday 14 – Friday 18 January 2019: Cranfield interviews take place
  • Friday 18 - Wednesday 23 January 2019: Unsuccessful interview candidates notified and successful candidates invited to complete Cranfield registration
  • Wednesday 20 – Friday 22 February 2019: Cranfield confirms successful candidates and formal offers are made to successful candidates
  • Wednesday 6 – Thursday 7 March 2019 – the Masters Apprenticeship begins with your induction.

Ready to apply?

If you know your way around the application process, if you think you’re ready for the commitment involved, and you've chatted it through with your manager, then you’re ready to start your application.