MBA Graduation Ball 2018 – The End and The Beginning

And so it came to pass that the MBA class of 2018 gathered in the beautiful Thomas Prior Hall in Ballsbridge, to mark the conclusion of their studies at the Graduation Ball. While this was a pre-emptive acknowledgment, with final results not due to be released for another four days, the graduates-in-waiting turned out in number with unwavering confidence that they had successfully navigated their Capstone project and final modules.

On the surface, this was an opportunity for classmates who have not seen each other for a few months to get dressed up, pat themselves on the back and to have a good boogie.  In fact this event meant much more than that.

The ball marked the end of one or two years of immensely hard work and sacrifice; not just for the students, but for their partners, children, parents and friends. It marked the end of a journey of learning; about oneself, about teamwork, about leadership and about change. It marked the end of engaging lectures, expanding horizons and student discounts.

But it also marks a beginning. For many, the beginning of new jobs or roles, for others, the beginning of applying what they have learned in the workplace and the wider world.  There is a justified sense of optimism and confidence in this group in what they can achieve and the impact they can make as alumni.

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During the MBA, our classmates became our second family. Some weeks we spent more time with them than our first family. The bond and camaraderie forged through the demanding experiences of the MBA are strong. These are people we will always have time for, support and feel connected to.  While oceans may imminently separate us as a group, we will follow each other’s paths with interest and pride.

This year, the committee decided to support Fr. Tony Coote, a former Chaplin of UCD in his ‘Walk While You Can’ campaign. Fr. Tony is raising awareness and funds for Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Research Motor Neurone, having been diagnosed with MND in March of this year. Through the generosity of those at the ball, the sponsors and contributors of raffle prizes, nearly €4,000 was raised for this worthy cause. If you wish to make an on-line donation you can still do so via our iDonate fundraising page: www.idonate.ie/MBABallWhileYouCan2018.

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I would like to congratulate and thank my fellow committee members Stuart Garrett, Mary Sheehan, Gwen Morgan and Lucy MacAuley for their hard work in making the ball a fantastic success.

I would also like to congratulate and thank my classmates for making the decision to pursue their MBA, for their help and support along the way, for what they have taught me and each other, for the experiences we have shared and for their companionship on our journey of change and our new beginning.

“If we stay where we are, where we’re stuck, where we’re comfortable and safe, we die there. We become like mushrooms, living in the dark, with poop up to our chins. If you want to know only what you already know, you’re dying. You’re saying: Leave me alone; I don’t mind this little rathole. It’s warm and dry. Really, it’s fine. When nothing new can get in, that’s death. When oxygen can’t find a way in, you die. But new is scary, and new can be disappointing, and confusing – we had this all figured out, and now we don’t. New is life.” Anne Lamott

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Ian Rafferty FT MBA 2017/18

Smurfit MBA Programme – more than just Image

We are certainly in the thick of it now. Both MBA class of 2019 and EMBA class of 2020 have descended on Smurfit campus and it really feels as though we are here to stay. Give us a year, maybe two, and we will be ready to take on the world. Our introductory weeks to the world of business have been both intense and stimulating; and they have had to be. We have been invited to open our minds to unfamiliar territory, new subjects and theories, that many of us have not yet encountered in our working lives. Having completed just one year of Business Studies in secondary school, I am not only studying the modules on our syllabus, I am learning a new language. Duolingo, eat your heart out.

Since our introductory week at the close of summer, we have been acquainted with an abundance of brilliant, accomplished and engaging individuals. It is infinitely clear that these people want to be here – they want to teach us and show us the way. And they are just as eager to guide us on this journey as we are to follow them. Our lecturers thus far have been stupendous; they have been patient and supportive. In the typical sense, the lecture hall is reminiscent of my undergraduate years; there is oblivion of new before me, but I feel comfortable with it. My questions are welcomed with open arms. And, in contrast to my years as an undergraduate, I value my time in the lecture hall, I rarely check the clock. I am totally immersed in my new surroundings.

In many ways, it is a privilege to be here. Not only because I am in one of the top performing schools in the world but also because of the people surrounding me. My classmates as a whole have been open, honest, human and willing to help. We are a diverse bunch from a vast array of backgrounds – finance, law, medicine, sales, engineering and pharmacy, to name just a few. Each individual brings something new to the table and we continue to actively learn together. My study group cements our thoughts and ideas and facilitates further self-development. Every interaction is an education and, with Wonder Woman as our class representative, we can only imagine how fruitful the next two years will be. The bar has been set sky high.

Outside of the classroom and away from our study groups, we are invited to partake in all the extracurriculars Smurfit has to offer. The opportunities to network and expand our own worlds have been numerous. We have been strongly encouraged to join the tag rugby team and represent Smurfit on the world stage in Danville at the MBA Tag Rugby World Cup. We were invited to join those graduating from the MBA and EMBA classes of 2018 at their graduation ball. There has even been talk of the summer consulting trip next year. Getting involved is an essential part of the experience and I am excited about the prospect of expanding my horizon.

The transition to part-time student and fulltime juggler has been made almost seamless by the dedicated team the Smurfit school have chosen to oversee our progression through our MBA. Our programme managers and coordinator, the director, all have made themselves available to us since the introductory week and have continued to be active in our week-to-week schedules since. Apart from being professional at all times, approachable when a doubt arises, these people have been supportive and kind. But then, this does suit the overall climate here at Smurfit. Like our lecturers, they are helping us to navigate through the sometimes choppy waters that come with returning to education. We are lucky to have you onboard.

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The challenge of balancing work and life now demands I up a gear to include MBA on my action plan. Graduates tell me that our time management skills will improve as we move through the year; this is somewhat of a relief. With classes dominating Monday and Thursday evenings, work and all its associated pressures are confined to most other days and weekends. Giving myself permission to zone out is imperative. I continue to need to run, swim and cycle my way through the week. UCD’s gym and swimming pool have been welcome distractions and yoga helps when the Irish weather restricts my movements to the house. My friends, also, are an endless source of good clean fun. They have been not only encouraging of my decision to take the unconventional route, but some are as excited as I am about the world that is now at my fingertips.

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I feel fortunate in many ways. If it wasn’t for the scholarship provided by Image magazine to study in Smurfit, I would have struggled financially to keep myself afloat over the next two years. My sister was in Image once. Unfortunately, I will not be involved in the same capacity and I will never be able to fully repay the cost of the Smurfit experience. But I will endeavour to work hard, remain open minded and be the best self I can possibly be with the help of this great team. I am one in a group bright, driven and inspiring people and I am infinitely grateful for that.

Danielle Courtney, EMBA 2018/20

 

A lot to look forward to

The difficult decision of giving up an enjoyable job to pursue a full-time MBA is now a distant memory. Since commencing the MBA a month ago, there has been little opportunity to look back. The weeks have been full of new experiences and intense learning – exactly why I chose to take time out to pursue the best MBA that Ireland has to offer. The diversity in the class is incredible. The full-time MBA candidates have backgrounds ranging from medicine to finance and engineering. There is also a real sense of the global aspect of the Smurfit MBA, with candidates from countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.

There is a lot to look forward to in the year ahead. It’s only two weeks until the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM) week kicks off and our class disperses around the globe. GNAM comprises of 30 leading business schools and gives MBA students the opportunity to study and network with counterparts in other GNAM schools. I will be joining 7 of my classmates in Yale School of Management for a module on behavioural science of management. With the itinerary now sorted, we have managed to squeeze in two nights in NYC. It promises to be an enjoyable week.

There is no less than three additional international trips planned for the busy year ahead. The international study tour (doing business in international markets) next March will see MBA candidates spending time in Asia (Singapore & Vietnam) or South America (Chile & Argentina) to learn about their respective business and cultural contexts. Next up, for those who subscribe to the not-so-intense training, will be the MBA Rugby World Cup in Danville, Virginia. An event which many past MBA’s describe as the best experience of a challenging year. Finally there will be the international consultancy project next June, where we will get to test out the skills we developed during the programme. If you’re considering a Smurfit MBA, ensure your passport is up to date, because you will need it.

International travel aside, career progression or career change (function, company or geography) is a big reason for choosing to pursue an MBA and it’s what we look forward to in the year ahead. On this front, much work has already begun. While many of us thought our CV’s were perfected for our applications, we have learned that we have much to do. We’re lucky to have a dedicated careers manager (Mark Davies) to support us. As Careers Rep, along with Ayush Yetchina, I work closely with Mark interfacing between the careers department and the MBA class.

I was fortunate to be offered the Sunday Business Post Scholarship which covered the full cost of my tuition fees. For those aspiring to undertake an MBA at Smurfit Business School, I would definitely encourage you to take action and make it a reality. Don’t be put off by the cost of a prestigious MBA, there are financial supports available. You will face some obstacles (GMAT, Essays & Interviews) along the way, but each is surmountable and there is plenty of support to help you through. Getting in contact with past MBA candidates is a great place to start.

Gerard Finneran, FT MBA 2018/19

 

Presenting4Success journey

On September 19th, Met Eireann issued a nationwide “status yellow” weather alert for Storm Ernesto. But, in boarding the “boat”, the weather was not our only challenge; what we would do on the day itself also turned out to be extremely challenging. In our Presenting4Success journey, we are glad that Mr Paul A. Slattery is the captain who is coaching us. This journey lets us learn—and experience—how to present perfectly, which is vital to achieving advancement for ourselves and our ideas. Trust me, it is not that easy!

Before we boarded, most of us were confused. What kind of journey would we experience during this day? The journey began at 9 am. After a light group training on presenting for success, six study groups began their first three-minute presentations. Although these three minutes had been rehearsed before, when standing in front of everyone, you still experience fear and anxiety. After each group presentation, three groups of students offered encouragement and comments on the stage. Feedback is a gift. This gave the team a better understanding of its strengths and weaknesses. Captain Paul also guided the students on visual, verbal and vocal communication and connection with the audience. The audience also benefited from listening to and evaluating the other teams’ presentations.

We were glad that the presentations had finally ended, but we were too naïve. In reality, there were more seven-minute presentations in the afternoon. It must be admitted that the improvements would have been impossible without implementing the new knowledge and skills we had gained from the three-minute presentations.

In this second presentation, we opened with CABA, supporting our body with materials, and closed with Mas. We had less than an hour to prepare the ideas for the team presentation. During the preparation, each team had to constantly move positions and rehearse with different instructors. Even though time was pressing, everyone was inspired to achieve their potential. In addition, the team cooperation was very harmonious, and each member of the team helped the others. During this time, I am very proud to say that our volume, inflection, eye contact and stance all improved.

In today’s Presenting4Success journey, we encountered four “waves”: how to prepare your message, how to develop it, how to deliver it and how to evaluate it. These “waves” have challenged us to step outside our comfort zone to learn the new techniques. I believe that with practice and team work, we will all become excellent skilled communicators.

Luzi Wen, FT MBA 2018/19

“What is this “work-life balance” you speak of?”

So we’re almost a month into the MBA year here at the Smurfit Business School. I can now see why the most common description from Smurfit alumni is “intense”! We’re straight into group work, assignments and classes. It feels a bit like running the wrong way up an escalator that speeds up as you near the top! If I’ve learned anything from my classmates over the last month, it’s that if any of us stumble, our classmates will be ready to pick us up and get us running again.

I was lucky enough to be awarded the “Achiever” scholarship for the year. This award is sponsored by NTR plc and covers the full course fee. Opportunities like that don’t come along often so I accepted before the college could change their mind! Like some of the other scholarships on offer, a solid GMAT score goes a long way towards selection. Anyone that has completed the GMAT knows that practice makes perfect, so I recommend prospective students should research the available scholarships early for the best possible chance to grab one.

As class reps, a priority for myself and Carmela Reyes is making sure that everyone finds the right balance between academics and everything else, so it has been great to be introduced to the MBA clubs and societies. The presenters unanimously agreed that the highlights of their MBA years were the club events. Their enthusiasm while presenting was infectious, whether on the panel discussions for the Entrepreneurship and Thought Leadership clubs or running a Dragon’s Den style event in the local school for the Social Outreach club. Then there is the annual trip to Danville, Virginia for the MBA Rugby World Cup. This sounds like a week of “networking” broken up by the occasional flash of sporting excellence. I intend to follow the advice I was given before the year: “Sign up for everything and you’ll somehow fit it all in”!

Myself and Carmela’s other responsibilities have been to help our classmates to settle into life at Smurfit and to facilitate communication between the class and the faculty. We had our first “Family meeting” this week (well, our first one not in the pub anyway) and I saw it as a resounding success. It’s early days, but we’re off to a great start. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the year takes us.

Colm Garrick, FT MBA 2018/19

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An Aspire-ational Evening

Three weeks in, Foundation week’s all but a distant memory, those glorious sunny days manhandling our fellow classmates through “spider webs” all in the name of team-building, have now replaced by the shades of grey that is the world of financial reporting. Our days now revolve around the all-important individual group meetings, dividing up assignments and readings, and with the odd bit of filming thrown in to exercise our presentation and  directorial skills. Despite mostly being filmed on iPhones, don’t let the low-fi production fool you, the performances were truly Oscar worthy.

Against the backdrop of this mounting workload, came the welcome break of the Aspire Scholarship reception. The intensity and volume of work on an MBA is well documented, and yes, this is can be a challenge to balance at times, but nothing great develops in the comfort zone. Walking through the doors of the Laurence Crowley Boardroom on Tuesday evening to meet my fellow Scholars and Alumni, was the beginning of a valuable and lasting relationship with the programme. Any nervous tension that I had rapidly dissipated. The only way I can describe the room was like one large welcoming extended family. With initial introductions and formalities complete, came the opportunity to get to know past awardees a little better.

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While many scholarships only offer a financial reward, Aspire offers so much more. Over the course of the evening, it became quite evident that the network is the most valuable and enduring aspect of the scholarship. It is an honour to be awarded this scholarship and welcomed so graciously into this talented and successful group, this year reaching the one hundred mark. Throughout the year there are events organised, with key notes from business leaders and further networking opportunities.

I first heard of Aspire from a current scholar, shortly after receiving my place on the Smurfit MBA and I would strongly encourage any prospective MBA or masters student to consider applying. I know it is early days, but I can tell that applying is one of the best decisions I’ve made. I eluded to family earlier, and that is exactly what you get, from support and assistance to friendship. Having an external network to escape to the pressures of MBA life just for a casual chat or for support is a fantastic resource. We recently had a seminar on careers and how to network, detailing the importance of a large network in business, which absolutely holds merit, but I’d take the quality over quantity of Aspire any day.

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David Dowling FT MBA 2018/19

My first 2 weeks as an EMBA student

Hello, Jen Ward here. I am delighted to share my experience with you of the UCD Smurfit EMBA programme so far. Some of the lecturers said that after Foundation week we would understand why the UCD Smurfit School runs the best MBA programme in the country and it’s very true. Aside from the outstanding taster lectures and first week of core modules, after just 2 short weeks the people in my class already seem very familiar and I for one, feel fully immersed in the MBA learning experience. Here are just a few of the highlights so far:

Week 1  – Foundation Week.

The foundation week was not at all the gentle introduction to the MBA programme I had expected. Instead we were immersed in a jam packed daily programme of lectures, class discussions and networking activities from 8-6pm each day. On Monday we met a range of faculty members who would be delivering the MBA courses and co-ordinating the programme. We received our first insight into the MBA approach to learning from Professor Niamh Brennan, who gave us very clear instructions on the Do’s and ABSOLUTELY Do Not’s of Report Writing! We also had an informative presentation from recent MBA graduates who gave us some tips on how to work effectively in our teams.

On Tuesday, comfortable clothes and shoes were the order of the day. Little did we know that they were required because we would be carrying water on our heads, making giant body shapes blindfolded, solving oversized jigsaw puzzles and carrying some of our fellow class mates through giant spider webs before the day was out. It was an unusual but incredibly effective way to accelerate the process of getting to know each other and to break down the formalities of a big group of people that had just met for the first time the previous day!

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MBA Team Building Day

On Wednesday we had an 8 hour crash course in Financial Reporting from Dr. Colette Yeates, where I quickly realised that I was going to have to do a lot of work in this course having never had the opportunity to study Finance before!

On Thursday, alongside the fulltime MBA class, we were introduced to 4 quirky German and Dutch trainers that would transport us into a realm best summarised as a cross between Monopoly and the Hunger Games! Our mission was the profitable management of a manufacturing plant – sounds dull… it wasn’t! Each financial quarter flew by between copious tea breaks, and for many of the teams, our eagerness to win sales quickly drove our companies into the red. After being schooled in pricing strategy and cost of sale by DieTrainers, we fought our way out of bankruptcy as best we could. Needless to say, some of us have a lot to learn before we are unleashed on the real world!

We met Lucy Butters on Friday for a fascinating lecture on Cultural Intelligence. We learnt how it feels to be uncomfortable in a situation by having a conversation with someone less than 5 inches from each other and how to be adaptive in our communications to connect better with culturally diverse groups of people. The 2nd Year EMBA students shared some of their experiences of the course so far during a networking lunch. The final session of the week was a highly engaging workshop with Paul Slattery on ‘Presenting for Success’, which pushed each of us out of our comfort zone and towards satori – enlightenment no less! “Perfect is not the destination but the journey” was the resonating quote of the day.

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MBA Welcome Dinner 2018

Week 2  –  Semester 1 begins.

It’s now week two, and it has been tough figuring out how to balance a busy work schedule, getting to class on time, homework assignments and keeping up with family and friends. Sometimes I wonder how I will be able to fit everything in, but my motto has always been to tackle things day by day and week by week, and before long I will be in the swing of it. Taking on the classroom environment, the broad subject matter and the leadership development program is the opportunity of a lifetime and I am so grateful to have been accepted onto the programme. Although there is a lot to do, each and every experience has been interesting, challenging and worthwhile. The whole class are an incredible group of talented individuals and I know we will help each other though the countless readings, reports, assignments and presentations! I’ll leave you with this:

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Bye for now!

Jen Ward Mid-Week EMBA 2018/20

 

Céad Míle Fáilte – a hundred thousand welcomes

What a great phrase this is, as well as being perfectly apt to describe what the beginnings of this MBA year has been for us all. Between the community in this village, fondly known as Dublin, and the many new faces being introduced in the halls of Smurfit, there have definitely been a hundred thousand welcomes.

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Most people run to the sun, but not me. Coming from Cape Town, South Africa, I packed my bags and headed north to begin a new chapter in Ireland. A warm welcome from my hosts made me instantly feel at home in my new surrounds. With a few days to spare I used the time to explore Dublin and productively “stalk” the profiles of my new classmates. Who were these people venturing on this journey with me? Are they crazy? Am I crazy? Let me not answer the latter.

And so, Foundation Week was here. Day one of school. Again, a hundred thousand welcomes. The feelings of excitement, curiosity, nervous energy and perhaps slight caution were all thrown together as we began our new walk together.

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After a long day of financial reporting, we had a day of being put through spiderwebs, making shapes blindfolded and trying to find some “Jedi”. Without anyone knowing each other, the beginnings of this camaraderie had begun. So far, so good.

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Next up was moving into Proby House. Here goes nothing. Six students of the MBA class moved into neighbouring apartments. The evenings were spent in a reasonably civilized manner drinking wine, introducing our best dance moves and getting to know people with different cultural backgrounds from different countries. I was in luck by landing in an apartment with an Indian and Kenyan roommate who both love cooking. Don’t worry mom – I’ll be “grand”.

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One thing that is confusing me is the Irish obsession with “Crack” (better spelt “Craic”). This comes up plenty and is seemingly always involving fun. Is this some secret the Irish have discovered to eternal happiness?

We have a diverse class from around the world, all with such interesting experiences and insight into life. Bonds and friendships seem to be forming fast as we begin to tackle the challenges of this year. We are all on the same page at “having the craic” and bettering our lives in whatever way Smurfit has in store for us.

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Hans Stauch FT MBA 2018-19

Lux et Veritas

As part of the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM) programme, a group of six MBA students from Smurfit took part in in a one-week module titled “Behavioural Science of Management” in Yale School of Management in June this year. Launched in 2012, the GNAM includes 30 leading business schools from diverse regions, countries, and cultures. The GNAM offers students the opportunity to partake in a Global Network one-week course offered by a partner business school.

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There was a lot of interest in this module from fellow classmates due to the strong heritage of Yale in the field of behavioural science, not to mention the strong reputation and high ranking of the Yale MBA programme. Expectations for the module were high and we certainly were not disappointed!

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We arrived into New York City a few days before the module began to take in the sights. More importantly, we had to collect our mode of transport for the week in New Haven, a GMC Yukon Denali, a ridiculously sized car, which we affectionately christened “The Beast”. Lorcán had the honour to drive it to New Haven and peppered the journey with outbursts such as “…how am I supposed to keep this thing between the lines?”.

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The module commenced with a fantastic presentation from Professor Shane Frederick, a leading expert in the field of behavioural science and contributor to the Harvard Business Review. Shane brought us through topics including framing effects, context effects, and choice architecture – the principles that underpin how we make decisions and the techniques used by marketers to influence consumer behaviour.

Shane’s presentation included several examples of how rational consumers make irrational choices. He presented logic puzzles, prefaced with “…I’ve presented this problem thousands of times and I still don’t know if I agree with answer.” He showed us how consumers can be influenced to make purchasing choices that might not be appealing if the rational mind kicked in.

A key element of the GNAM week in Yale is the opportunity to network with MBA students from business schools across the world. The opening cocktail reception on Monday evening provided the ideal opportunity to mix and mingle with classmates from China to Ghana to Mexico. This resulted in cross-cultural learnings, a highlight of which was when Monica from Monterrey, Mexico remarked to Lorcán “You are definitely Irish.” She then turned to Johannes from Berlin, “You are Irish too, no?”. Lorcán and Johannes had to give Monica a crash course in the cultural differences between Germany and Ireland!

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On Tuesday, we were treated to a tour of Yale University. Yale University is steeped in history and has an almost “Hogwarts-like” feel to the place; college buildings are architecturally beautiful and students are allocated to certain houses in their first year via a “sorting process”. We were almost expecting to find some Bertie Bott’s Beans in the Yale gift shop at the end of our tour. Instead of finding sweets, the lads did their best to get a Yale preppy look going. Thankfully, Ciara and Fiona gave some “constructive feedback” which put an end to that.

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On Wednesday, four busloads of MBA students departed Yale for a trip to Boston to visit TD Garden, the home stadium of NHL’s Boston Bruins and NBA’s Boston Celtics. Owned and operated by Delaware North, the state-of-the-art TD Garden is a year-round, 19,600-seat arena. Members of the Delaware North management team treated us to an insightful overview of the company and its expanding global reach. Delaware North manages and provides food and beverage concessions, premium dining, entertainment, lodging, and retail at many large venues and special places. These include sports stadiums, entertainment complexes, national and state parks, airports, and casinos. If you have been to London Airport or Wembley Stadium, you have consumed concessions provided by Delaware North.

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Back in Yale, Thursday commenced with a panel discussion with students from the class. Three highly accomplished classmates spoke about their career paths, MBA journeys, and their views of leadership and working across cultures. It is always inspirational to hear how peers have driven themselves to almost dizzy heights to achieve what may appear as the unachievable.

One of the highlights from the week was the diverse teaching styles of the lecturers. In the “Negotiation Mindsets” lecture delivered by Dalyian Cain, we had the opportunity to partake in a mock negotiation in pairs. As many of the Smurfit gang had already completed a negotiations module in Smurfit earlier in the year, we were quietly confident that our knowledge of “BATNAs” and “Reservation Points” would seal the deals. However, Lorcán managed to buck the trend by engaging in a technique known as “negotiating against yourself”. He blamed a language barrier with his international colleague – he didn’t say whether it was his Donegal accent or theirs that caused the trouble! Don’t tell Stephen Boyle.

Some of the other topics covered during the week included how to make better decisions using behavioural science, understanding consumer experiences, and behavioural finance.

Our final social outing of the week was to a popular New Haven bar for some karaoke. After providing background vocals to “My Heart Will Go On”, the Smurfit contingent rose to the challenge by belting out their best rendition of “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. Who knew that effort can overcome not having a note in your head.

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The week concluded with a series of group presentations to the class on Friday. We had the task of providing a 5-minute group presentation showing how the principles of behavioural science could be applied to a real-life problem encountered in an organization of one of the group members. There were no boundaries to the scope of content presented by teams or how to interpret the behavioural science principles learned earlier in the week. Presentation topics ranged from a video advertisement, created in under an hour, to a presenter-led fitness dance class.

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The GNAM week was an incredibly rewarding experience. The chance to network with MBA peers from around the world, to experience different cultures, and to attend one of the world’s leading universities were all fantastic opportunities. Behavioural Science is becoming increasingly relevant in business (see Richard Thaler’s recent Nobel Prize in Economics) and we all found that the possibilities suggested during lectures were eye-opening. The experience and knowledge gained during the Smurfit MBA allowed us to actively contribute in classroom discussions. The trip was an excellent end to our EMBA journey.

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Maria Barry & Lorcán Gormley EMBA 2016/2018

Class Reps MBA Blog

What was it like being an MBA class rep?

Joanna: Volunteering to be class representatives was a great way to show my appreciation to the programme office and my colleagues. The role didn’t add as much load as I thought it would and I had loads of fun being in contact with the programme office. Closing the year as class reps have certainly been fulfilling as we arranged our goodbyes not just to our semester three professors but also to the school and staff with little tokens.

Karl: Being an MBA class rep was a great experience and I’d highly recommend future MBAs consider taking on the role. I wanted to give something back to the class and I felt being a good class rep was an appropriate way to do so. Whether it was organising a World Cup sweepstake for the class or being the voice between the programme office and the class there was always something to keep you busy.

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How did you feel when you submitted your capstone report?

J: After a 1.5 month ordeal, passing the capstone project has been a little bittersweet. There’s relief of finally finishing 10,000 words worth of work, surprise that the year of being a student is finally over and the anxiety of going back to the real world. But having 32 people who were experiencing the same thing made it easier to deal with everything.

K: I was full of mixed emotions when I submitted our capstone report. I was delighted that we had completed our final project of what was a very intense academic year. However, I also felt somewhat sad as I knew that it marked the end of what was one of the best experiences of my life to date.

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Looking back over the last year what was the best memory of the MBA?

J: The local and international trips we took for the term were my favourite memories in the MBA. The term started with the GNAM week, a great introduction to Dublin for some international students. The study trip in Chile and Peru was full of firsts as some of us got to go to Machu Picchu. Finally, the Iceland trip with everyone from the full-time class was a good bonding and learning experience as we engaged in our first consulting project.

K: It is hard to choose just one but the trip to Vietnam and Singapore was definitely a highlight. I had never visited this side of the world before and to be able to do so while visiting some of the world’s most recognised businesses such as Coca Cola was an amazing experience. The additional week many of us spent in Vietnam also made this an unforgettable and memorable experience.

What will you miss the most about the MBA?

J: The 2017/2018 full time class is comprised of the most friendly and supportive bunch. I would not have been able to go through the term as well as I have if not for them. Though we will always keep in touch, not being able to see them every day would be a huge change and what I would miss the most.

K: I was fortunate to travel abroad four times over the course of my MBA, so I’ll certainly miss all the incredible trips we went on. However, what I will miss the most is the amazing group of people I worked with and became friends with over the year. An MBA really is all about your class and I felt very lucky to be part of a remarkable group of 33 individuals this year.

What advice would you give future students? 

 J: The MBA will be one or two years of constantly being on the go. Try to get rest as often as possible. Though sleep might look like less of a priority, it’s still important to have one every once in a while. Ask for help when you need. The programme office is always open for concerns and your classmates are the best people to lean on as they would be having the same shared experience. Finally, fun is allowed on the programme. Enjoy as much as you can.

K: The best advice I would give to future students is to get involved as much as you can in your MBA. Network, participate in extracurricular activities and attend as many events as possible. The full-time programme is only one year, and it’ll be over before you know it – you truly do get out of the programme what you put in!

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Joanna Villanueva & Karl McEntegart, 

Full Time MBA 2017/2018