Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM)


Two months into UCD Smurfit Full-Time MBA and every day still remains a mix of anxiety, excitement, pressure and loads of memories. The icing on the cake was Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM) week – perfect stress buster for learning, meeting people and sharing experiences.

The module hosted by UCD this year was “The Three Pillars of Innovation in Ireland – Technology, Food and Culture” with an aim to drive innovation and create value by connecting leading global business schools, their resources and their stakeholders. We had 40+ students from EGADE Mexico, ESMT Germany, IE Spain, IIMB India, Sauder Canada, and Yale U.S.A and last but not least UCD Ireland.


Day 1: Rushing through the gates in anticipation of not being late, it felt like the first day of school all over again, from collar name tags to the printed schedule of the week to new puzzled faces in the lecture theatre. Professor Patrick Gibbons, the module co-coordinator addressed us and introduced the students to each other in a unique way, following which we had interactive sessions about the future of Irish beef industry, Challenges of Internationalization and Branding of Irish food. Apart from the amazing lunch, there was a welcome reception in the evening where all the students socialised over wine & cheese.

Day 2: The day started with reflections on the previous days’ learnings. Apart from sessions on Foreign Direct Investment, Innovation in customer Insight and Ireland’s competitiveness, the highlight of the day was a power packed presentation by ‘The Happy Pear’ twins and a visit to their café and production unit in Greystones. It felt like we were on a class picnic and I never knew I would actually like vegan food that was served at the café (being a hard core non-vegetarian!). The experience was really good due to my personal interest in the food production industry.


Day 3: By now all students knew each other quiet well, with no more introductions, “Hello, I am Prathibha, attending the MBA programme at UCD” and questions “So, which country are you from? “or “ Which business school are you attending?”. Thus began another day planned very well with lectures on the venture capital environment, Google Inc, developing Irish industry and the Irish economy-performance & prospects. A Dublin Literary pub crawl was organized for us (believe me I never knew what a Literary pub crawl was until then). It is a walking tour of Dublin’s historic pubs conducted by two actors who introduce the famous writers and enact scenes from their works. Moving from one pub to another, sharing stories, small talk, drinks and food just made the day even more worthwhile.

Day 4: After a long night, it was really hard to wake up in the morning and reach college by 8:45am for an overview and review session. But still, everyone were present right on time looking all energetic to attend sessions on Innovation, Operations in Ireland, International TV & film industry and Intellectual Property. A farewell dinner was planned out at Johnnie Fox’s which is known as Ireland’s ‘highest’ pub. The night was filled with traditional Irish dance and music and a delicious three course meal.


Day 5: Today there were no classes; an entire day of outdoor activities was organized starting with a trip to the Abbey Theatre, National Theatre of Ireland. There was a small talk about the history of the theatre and development of Arts followed by an acting exercise. Due to some confusion, I reached the wrong entrance of the Guinness Store house and had to go all the way round to another entrance, only to be received by some smiling faces who happily commented on how late I was and kept them waiting. This was my first brewery experience which tells the tale of Ireland’s famous beer. Along with tastings and beer samples there is a rooftop gravity bar on the 7th floor with 360° views across the Dublin’s magnificent skyline. As this was the last day of the GNAM week, everyone decided to meet up for one last time for some drinks.


Thus the incredible GNAM week concluded with goodbyes, new friends and valued memories.  Thanks to Elaine Aherne, module manager for organizing everything and always being there with us. Back to classes again, need to do a load of assignments and also have an exam coming up next week. All the best to me and my class!

Prathiba Fernandes ~ Full-Time MBA

Be the CEO of your own career!

Zelia Madigan, MD Ericsson Ireland
Zelia Madigan, MD Ericsson Ireland

‘Be the CEO of your own career’! These were the inspiring words of Zelia Madigan, MD of Ericsson Ireland at a WXN Breakfast Meeting on November 21st (Women’s Executive Network). Although this was a female event, her sage words of advice equally apply to us all.

Zelia’s Top Five Tips on How to Succeed in your Career 

Take Risks – Sometimes we all need to get out of the comfort zone and push ourselves forward. Zelia gave the example of applying for jobs she knew she wouldn’t get, so she’d be seen by the interview panel, meet people she didn’t know and get them talking about her. As Zelia described it, ‘There are several trains leaving the station and you will get on the right one eventually’. Taking on any new job can be a risk and this is why many people choose to stay in roles that they’ve outgrown. However, if the time is right to move on, don’t be afraid to take the risk. If you don’t try it, you will never know! We must learn to adapt to new environments and be confident in ourselves. Treat each obstacle as a challenge to be overcome.

Network – Get Noticed! To get ahead it is vital to be seen, raise your profile and promote yourself (internally & externally).  You might be great at your job and be very task focused, but you need to get noticed! Networking is key and we should all make time for it. Have courage and don’t be afraid to talk to people at events  – don’t wait for people to come to you. Even if you think someone is too important to talk to, the chances are that other feels the same! That person will probably be happy to have someone to talk to! Cultivate your network and seek out sponsors/mentors as they can help to push you forward and act as advocates on your behalf. They can also connect you to other people and get people talking about you. Zelia said that her cultivation of sponsors has been instrumental to her career.

Know Your Self – to be at your best. Find out what you are good at and do that! People excel in what they have a natural tendency towards.

Actively seek feedback and work on it. Zelia said that this was one of the secrets to her success. If she was turned down for a job, she would seek out why and ask what she could do to succeed next time. Spend time working on your areas for development. Embrace the 360 degree review!

Be the CEO of  your career – only you can make it happen! Imagine where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and act on it.

Life is short, so make the most of the time that you have!

Susan Murdock ~ Full-Time MBA Programme Manager


F.O.M.O – Fear of Missing Out – Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere

I’m not sure whether it’s something that I developed while living in London, where there is always a reason to be out, or something that was always in me, and has in fact developed me. Regardless, it is making this chapter a little hectic.

I have just returned to Dublin to do the MBA in Smurfit, after six years working in the UK. A lot of thought went into my choice of school having offers in both London and Dublin. Smurfit’s highly regarded name, a part scholarship and the option to move back in with the folks, made the potential return to my MBA investment in Smurfit stand out a mile.

Was it the right decision? Definitely. The last six weeks has been a whirlwind, but an extremely interesting, engaging and thought provoking whirlwind. The quality of the lectures, as a result of combining high caliber students with world-class faculty and teaching methods, makes you really want to be there. FOMO rating (1-5) on missing lectures, 4.

Golf, Rugby, Entrepreneurship, Thought Leadership, just a handful of societies to get involved in. As newly appointed Chairman of the Golf Society, which I got by default from being the only new MBA to attend the final outing of last year’s society, I am now tasked with organising a calendar of events for the year. On Thursday night, my Competitive Strategy study plan was hi-jacked by an Entrepreneurship event, which I must admit was well worth attending. FOMO rating on missing Society events, 4.

This coming Monday, Global Network Week (GNW) commences. The GNW program is an initiative of the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM) and is designed to provide students from participating GNAM schools with a rich foreign immersion experience. You have the opportunity to travel to schools abroad, including Yale, or staying in Dublin, where the theme of the week is “The Three Pillars of Innovation in Ireland Technology, Food and Culture”. The aim of the week in Dublin is to “drive innovation and create value by connecting leading global business schools, their resources and their stakeholders. Initially I wasn’t going to take part in GNW because I didn’t want to travel abroad, and if I chose the week in Dublin I would have to drop one my three electives in semester two Executive Decision Making, Strategy Execution and Entrepreneurship) each one of which I really wanted to do. Roll on Week 4 and with the GNW buzz is in the air, FOMO creeps in. The thought of an amazing GNW week in full flow right on my doorstep, while I procrastinate about studying financial reporting for the mid-November exam, got the better of me. FOMO rating on missing GNW week, 5. FOMO rating on dropping a module, 5. Answer, do it all. You can see where this year is going.

I think I can speak for the class when I say we are up to our eyes. My mother thinks that ‘they’ are giving us too much ‘overtime’, as she probably spoke to me more when I lived in London than she does now, when we share the same roof. However, I have explained to my folk, it is all great, I’m enjoying the overtime, and everybody wants to be there. My only challenge is ranking things accurately on the FOMO scale, so I don’t get my prioritisation wrong.

Colin Dunne ~ Full-Time MBA

Vision for the Future

Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Dean of UCD Smurfit School
Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Dean of UCD Smurfit School

Yesterday morning, Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Dean of UCD Smurfit School, and Niall Fitzgerald, Chairman of the Board, introduced the College’s vision for the future.  The strategy includes focuses on high quality faculty, international relevance, and thoughtful linkages with Ireland’s existing strengths across business and culture. In addition to covering strategy, the group teed off with remarks from Mr. Fitzgerald on “Ireland in a Post-Brexit World” which considered the impactions of geopolitical shifts on Irish business and the college itself. I was grateful to join the UCD Board and friends of the college as emcee for the program.

Most refreshing for me (confessedly inclusion obsessed in my work with Unified Theater, The Kelsey, and beyond), was the very real emphasis put on inclusion throughout the session. For Mr. Fitzgerald and Dean Ó hÓgartaigh, inclusion wasn’t something soft or nice that you did simply because you ought to, it was a strategic choice as something that would make universities, communities and yes, businesses, stronger.

Micaela Connery, full-time MBA student and Mitchell Scholar. Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Dean of UCD Smurfit School, and Niall FitzGerald, Chairman of the Board.
Micaela Connery, full-time MBA student and Mitchell Scholar. Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Dean of UCD Smurfit School, and Niall FitzGerald, Chairman of the Board.

Mr. Fitzgerald referenced his time as Chairman and CEO of Unliver and the impact inclusion had on their strategy. He noted that inclusion wasn’t just something you do to be nice or get awards for being a good businessman, but something you do because it makes your company more competitive and sustainable in attracting talent, addressing challenging issues, and building a consumer base. Dean Ó hÓgartaigh noted the value of inclusion both within business classrooms at UCD for the new perspectives and business case approaches, as well as the long term benefits of a diverse student base that make impact across the globe in various sectors. A piece in The Irish Times in January 2016 would echo their insights, quoting executives from major companies on the importance of diversity and inclusion. One KPMG executive noted the ways diversity helps to attract and retain talent. Another executive, from PayPal, spoke to the impact diversity and inclusion has had on the company’s ability to define and execute better strategies with critical thinking that includes many different perspectives.

The case for diversity and inclusion extends beyond Ireland, and beyond business. Stephen Frost speaks to his work in the London Olympics and with companies across the world in his book The Inclusion Imperative. Working with many inclusion sceptics throughout his career, Frost learned early on how to make the hard case for inclusion. His book notes that discrimination against women, homosexuals, and people with disabilities costs the United States an estimated staggering $64bn annually. Randy Lewis, a former executive at Walgreens, touts the positive impact that a workforce inclusive of people with disabilities had on company performance. More inclusive business units out-performed others in production, fewer safety incidents, and better employee performance. Christie Hunter Arscott travels the globe speaking about the benefits of making sure women and millennials have a real seat at the table, and the ways companies can take steps to do so. Experts and leaders – like Frost, Lewis, and Hunter Arscott – have helped ensure that the benefits of inclusion across gender, ethnicity, and ability are well documented. A diverse workforce and an ability to speak to a diverse consumer base is invaluable to a company’s and a country’s success.

Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Dean of UCD Smurfit School, and Niall FitzGerald, Chairman of the Board
Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Dean of UCD Smurfit School, and Niall FitzGerald, Chairman of the Board

Whether you think diversity and inclusion is the right thing to do or not (which, I’ll happily argue over a pint or a coffee all the reasons it is…), it’s surely the smart thing to do. And, in a time of Brexits and Trumps, where some political movements emphasize exclusion and isolation, business could play an important role in creating a more connected more inclusive world. As businesses, and business colleges, continue to recognize the real benefits of inclusion they may be able to promote inclusion and openness in the communities and countries they exist within.

Micaela Connery ~ Full-Time MBA 

Micaela is a full-time MBA student and a Mitchell Scholar. She completed her MPP at Harvard Kennedy School.

Theme: Preparation!


It’s an October day on campus at Smurfit Graduate Business School, and the MBA Class of 2017 have been at UCD for six weeks. The international students are getting to grips with the mercurial Irish weather and the Irish students are slowly coming to terms with Mayo’s disappointment in the All-Ireland. Summertime is officially over and it’s time to prepare for winter.

Preparation seems to be a theme this week!

First and foremost is preparation for the workplace. I’m a career changer: I studied medicine as an undergraduate, working as a junior doctor before coming to UCD. One of my priorities this year is explore my career options post-MBA.  Happily, Smurfit is making that task very easy.

At the start of term the Careers team circulated an MBA vacancy with a global brand, and I spent much of my Monday evening gearing up for a phone interview next week. There was plenty more to learn about potential employers on Tuesday, as a stellar lineup of firms sent representatives to Smurfit for the Audit & Consulting Recruitment Fair. With the graduate milk-rounds starting, we have a valuable opportunity to do some research ahead of the MBA hiring cycle.

Wednesday was entirely devoted to job-hunting skills with the fantastic Daniel Porot. We were in capable hands, learning from a speaker who works with 12 of the world’s top 20 MBA schools. I’ll have a chance to put M. Poirot’s advice into practice at the second recruitment fair of the week, which focuses on general business functions rather than professional services.

Planning a little more proximally, I’ve been finalising my travel plans for Global Network Week. Due to Smurfit’s membership of the Global Network for Advanced Management, full-time MBA students (and second-year EMBAs) get to spend a week in October participating in the GNAM Global Exchange. Many students opt for the programme hosted right here at UCD, others go to Yale, and a further cohort heads to IE in Madrid. Earlier this week, the destinations for our spring study tour were confirmed as Tokyo and Seoul; 32 of us came to Blackrock, but we’re getting to see the world!

Next Saturday, nine of us will fly out for an immersive exchange at Yale School of Management, studying Behavioral Economics, Marketing and Finance. We just received our schedules, which include a company visit day in New York. Some lucky scheduling means we’ll be able to catch up with UCD business alumni at the New York chapter’s annual benefit dinner, and find out exactly where our MBAs (and alumni connections) can take us.

Thirdly, as usual, I’m preparing for next week’s classes. My long-suffering boyfriend is resigned to the fact that my weekends will be primarily occupied with pre-reading and finance homework for the foreseeable future. Finally, though, I’m getting ready for a friend’s wedding reception on Friday afternoon, which should be a lovely occasion in Georgian Dublin – timely reassurance that normal life still continues during the MBA!

Laura Donaghy ~ Full-Time MBA

Moving Across the Atlantic for my MBA


When I decided to do my MBA at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, I was excited and naturally a bit apprehensive to leave my comfortable life in Wisconsin to move across the Atlantic to a completely new country. The transition to Ireland was a lot easier than I could’ve imagined. I have moved countries once before and it was much more difficult. Maybe it is easier because I have done it once before, but I think it has more to do with the exceedingly nice Irish people. Everyone has been incredibly welcoming and inviting. To me, the people make all the difference, and this experience has proved that to be true.

The structure of the program also helps with meeting everyone in the program. Foundation week has a lot of events that get everyone involved and the Leadership Development Program gets everyone working in various small groups and as one large group so everyone really gets to know each other. Also, the group work that is involved with the various assignments starts very early on which forces interaction with the other members of the program.

The group work is very rewarding and helps with developing the best ideas possible through discussion in a small group. It is not without its challenges, but the various workshops assist in team dynamic development. The group work was difficult in the beginning getting used to all the different work styles of the various members of the program, but it definitely does improve drastically and quickly over time if it is worked on and the rewards from efficient group work is worth all the effort.

David Camp ~ Full-Time MBA

Foundation Week & the start of the MBA


When I embarked on my Smurfit MBA journey, I said I will start a blog. I didn’t expect the workload to be so high though.

Three weeks later I am posting my first blog entry. I am still very excited to share my experience with you, and I hope you are still interested in reading it. I promise writing more often and on time in the future.

Foundation week.

The foundation week is a pre-programme part of the MBA to get everyone to know each other, and get everyone “up and running”, as they say.

It definitely involved a lot of running! From Monday to Friday we spent all day from 8.00 to 18.00-19.00 at the school. The week was so intense and beneficial in terms of learning that at the end of it, it was hard to realize that the programme itself had not even started. I felt I already learned so much! It would be easier to describe the week day by day.


Monday was a “getting to know each other day” with programme directors and staff greeting us, several lecturers giving introduction to specific fields, as well as a bit of talk on leadership and the year to come.

I was positively surprised by the quality of lecturers and by the experience of my fellow classmates. I obviously knew Smurfit is one of the top schools, but the quality of lecturing turned out to be beyond any expectations! Also I was happy to get to know my classmates. People in this programme are probably a bit older and more experienced compared to many other MBAs. It seems that the average experience among full time cohort is about 8-10 years, while among the Executives about 10-12. I was very happy to be among people older than me, even though at first felt a little bit weird, recognizing I am one of the youngest and less experienced in the class.


Tuesday was Financial Reporting all the day. Boring, you might say, right? Yes, not the most exciting subject on Earth, I agree! That is why our class was amazed that our professor Niamh Brennan managed to keep our attention for the whole day! Truly fascinating, and it adds to my previous comment about the quality of lecturers.


Team building activities. Many people have certain stereotypes regarding outside team building activities. People would picture running around, doing crazy stuff with no purpose, falling on their backs and hoping their team mates would catch them.

This workshop was very similar and very different. We did a lot of outside activities: we solved puzzles, did physical exercise, and even walked around with our eyes blindfolded trying to form a certain figure. However, a very distinct feature of this particular workshop was that it served a purpose of understanding, how teams operate. The facilitator gathered us together after every activity, and we debriefed what happened. The lessons adaptable to real life would be evident afterwards.

For example, we were given a task in groups of 4 and 20 minutes to plan, how we tackle it. Then 5 minutes into the exercise we were approached and told that the task had been changed, and we will have to perform it with other 2 groups of 4. We would spend the remaining 15 minutes still in the same group of 4, planning the task. When the time to perform comes, we would not perform well enough, of course.

Why is it so? Because we were blind to see that 5 minutes into the task our group has changed, and instead of planning in a group of 4, we should be planning in a group of 12. Now think how often you experience at your job that two departments (say sales and marketing) are doing something on their own? This funny experience in an outdoor game was a good illustration of how groups of people fail to see what are the boundaries of the team.


Thursday was a business simulation that I will not go into details about just to save your reading time. One distinct feature about that day was that it was my birthday, which I celebrated by getting a 2 for 4.25 EUR salad deal from Marks and Spencer.

Friday was another day full of highlights. First we had a workshop on listening and personality types (Myers Briggs). I think it might be because of the background of trainers in psychology, but they delivered the best workshop on listening and personality types I have ever seen (out of at least 3). The personality types was a more interesting part. They explained what it means, how it affects the working preferences, as well as sources of stress for various types. We didn’t do the test, but they explained each component and two extremes so well that my self-assessment completely corresponded to the results of the test I took later.

After lunch we had a presentation skills workshop. Again, when you have attended several poorly delivered presentation skills workshops, there is not much to expect. However, this one was brilliant! I did a lot of debating during my undergrads, and speaking in public is never an issue for me. I learned loads of useful tips and information from the workshop. It was not only the information, but also real time interaction, practicing, and coaching that turned the knowledge into practice. Now that we also had a second workshop in week 2 of studies, I see that not only me, but every single person in the class massively improved their presentation skills.

Cheers Smurfit for the fun and beneficial week! Thumbs up for the quality! We ended the week with a visit to a local pub, as Irish traditions require.

First weeks of studies

I am now in my third week of studies, and I will not lie, if I say I have mixed feelings about it. The quality is outstanding and beyond any expectation! People in class, lecturers, learning environment, and leadership workshops contribute massively to my development. I feel like an empty book shelf, gradually being filled with new skills and knowledge. I will write separate entries on the class, subjects/lecturers, and the leadership development part of the programme. The downside to this is that I find myself studying literally for 12-14 hours on most days. “Gotta run and keep going” I suppose! At least I know that all the effort put into studies will benefit my development.

I think it is enough of reading for the first entry. In the future, I promise to write shorter articles. I plan to write on several topics: (i) why I chose Smurfit; (ii) about the class, lecturers/subjects, and other components of the programme, so that people considering MBA in the future are better informed about Smurfit; (iii) about scholarship opportunities here and at other institutions, and why you don’t necessarily need to pay 100K+ for a degree.

Cheers for now!

Nikita Pusnakovs ~ Full-Time MBA

Check out Nikita’s Blog ‘MBA In Ireland’ here

UCD Smurfit MBA Foundation Week


When I joined the military 10 years ago, we had to complete an induction week. The week was designed to give us a ‘soft landing’ into the organisation and dismay any anxiety or fear. Now, ten years later I have completed a similar week as part of the EMBA Programme in UCD Michael Smurfit Business School and the induction week seemed to have quite a different objective; a hard landing!

If I was to walk away from the Programme now, the week, as a standalone undertaking, would have been worth attending. Although ‘life-changing’ may be a little dramatic, it certainly challenged me, questioned some of my long-standing beliefs, taught me several practical life-skills and allowed me to meet some truly interesting people.

The Why Marketing Lecture with Prof Damien Mc Loughlin
The Why Marketing Lecture with Prof Damien Mc Loughlin

Although I have attended college before, UCD Michael Smurfit feels different when you arrive. The campus feels modern and all the staff (and fellow students) are particularly friendly. After arriving we received our ‘welcome pack’ and then sat through a series of presentations. The faculty introduced themselves and very soon the message was clear; hard work was the name of the game and there would be no hiding from it. The straight forwardness was refreshing; we all knew where we stood.

Tuesday involved a day-long team building exercise. I found myself at the edge of my comfort-zone before the end of the day, leading the class in the final challenge. I had been determined not to risk exposing myself to a position like this so early on but here I was. In the military, standing out early in a course of training is usually a bad thing. I expected that leading a group of natural leaders like those who might enroll in an MBA Programme, would lead to a ‘too many chiefs’ situation. Surprisingly there were no counter-ideas or subversive actions after I voiced my plan. Each individual acknowledged the action required to achieve the teams objective and played their part diligently. I have never experienced a team of this size come together and operate with such efficiency, in such a short time.


The rest of the week saw us meet our study groups, complete a day-long business simulation, practice our presentation skills and learn about our personality styles and those of others. I left on Friday, looking forward to seeing my new classmates again and in particular working with my new study group.

No one could say they weren’t challenged, no one could say they didn’t learn something new and it’s pretty clear what lies ahead: hard work, the development of great friendships and the opportunity to overcome huge challenges.

To quote Gordon B. Hinckley – “Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds”.

Gearóid O’Briain ~ Executive MBA, Year 1

Global Network Week 2016


Here at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, we are proud to be a member of the Global Network for Advanced Management, alongside other top business schools like Yale, IE and EGADE (visit GNAM website). The Global Network Immersion Week (GNW) Programme is an initiative of GNAM that is designed to provide students from participating GNAM schools with a rich foreign immersion experience.

The Global Network for Advanced Management connects member schools with diverse regions, countries, and cultures, and economies by facilitating interaction. Through one week immersion programmes and online courses, participating schools host fellow GNAM institutions for seminars, visits, and interactions within local economies.

The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School will be participating in the GNW Programme again this year, for our third year running. We will be hosting an intensive one-week course in October 2016 and June 2017 that will be attended by MBA students from both our school and all other network schools.

Global Network Immersion Week gives UCD Smurfit MBA students the opportunity to pursue intensive study at another network school, in a focused mini course that leverages the perspectives, programmes, and faculty expertise of that school. Alongside their counterparts from elsewhere in the network, students attend classes, tour local businesses, and meet with experts focused on current business problems.

In the video below, Executive MBA student Dermot Boyle & Full-time MBA student Ashish Babbar discuss their experiences of the 2015-16 Global Network for Advanced Management.

Avril Donohue ~ MBA Alumni Relations, Communications & Events

Every Ending Is a New Beginning…


Today I finished my MBA. In Smurfit the final piece of work is a team-based Capstone project which I had the honour to complete with Arka Banerjee, Conor McMahon, Elsa Heffernan and Shane O’Driscoll. We undertook an industry review of a private equity firm, gaining an understanding of the industry in which they operate, how they are placed within it and then making recommendations to the firm involved.

We were lucky to benefit from the level of investment the firm put into the project, supporting and challenging us as the process advanced. I think it is fair to say that the final output is a piece of work that the whole team are very proud of.

It marks the end of what has been an amazing year for me. I have learned so much and about so much. The class of 39 has only 15 students from Ireland, with others coming from India, Vietnam, Brazil, China, Canada, the US and Saudi Arabia – a heady cocktail that ensures learnings. During the year I was fortunate enough to visit Yale, India, South Africa and China; I finally have an interesting passport!

I undertook a total of 16 modules, covering subjects from Corporate Finance to Corporate Governance, from Management Accounting to Financial Statement Analysis, from Global Corporate Strategy to Doing Business in International Markets. Yet, the most important thing I learned was that I did not study 16 modules, instead I have only studied business, albeit from all possible angles. I gained huge insights from the lecturers, the books and mostly from my fellow students.

The work was hard (I had much to learn), and the hours were long, but I thoroughly enjoyed the collegiate environment, the support and the humour and energy of those around me. I will never regret the year I spent doing the MBA and it is an option I would recommend to anyone thinking about it.

So what next? That I don’t yet know, but one other thing I have learned in the last 12 months is that in life you have to back yourself, know what you can do, work on what you can’t do (yet) and trust that opportunities will arise. One thing is for sure, I am better armed for the upcoming challenges than I thought possible a year ago and I look forward to the next chapter.

Paul Kelly ~ Full-Time MBA