IMAGE Businesswoman Of The Year Awards 2016

On The Silver Screen - The Award Winning Selfie
‘On The Silver Screen’ – The Award Winning Selfie

On Monday evening, November 21st, among 800 guests, the winners of the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2016 were announced at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. The Smurfit MBA Team and IMAGE MBA Scholarship winners were delighted to join in the celebrations.

L - Editor in Chief IMAGE Magazine, Melanie Morris. R - MC Anne Doyle.
L – Editor in Chief IMAGE Magazine, Melanie Morris. R – MC Anne Doyle.

Now in its tenth year, the much anticipated IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards champions trailblazing businesswomen’s contribution to Ireland’s economy and their vital role within the Irish business community at home and abroad. There were nine categories, with over 90 nominees; all inspirational, talented, not to mention glamorous, Irish businesswomen.

You can see the full list of winners here.

L-R: Susan Murdock, Davinia Anderson, Avril Donohue, Kathy O'Reilly, Ro Downing, Aisling O'Keeffe, Grace Milton, Virginia Stewart, Paula Thomas
L-R: Susan Murdock, Davinia Anderson, Avril Donohue, Kathy O’Reilly, Ro Downing, Aisling O’Keeffe, Grace Milton, Virginia Stewart, Paula Thomas

Ahead of the awards we enjoyed Winter Wonderland themed cocktails and admired the amazing, glittering backdrops by Miller & Lamb. It was a fantastic evening which left all guests feeling inspired and empowered. It was a pleasure to share it with so many extraordinary women. The Smurfit Team didn’t come away empty handed, we won the much coveted prize of ‘Best Selfie’, chosen by IMAGE and The Irish Independent.

Winter Wonderland Cockatils
Winter Wonderland Cockatils

I’m sure I speak for all guests when I say that I’m already looking forward to #BWOTY17!

To find out more about the IMAGE MBA Scholarship; application dates, entry criteria and how to apply, click here.

Avril Donohue ~ MBA Alumni Relations, Communications & Events

Barriers to Entry

Noticed in canteen last week (look closely at the top-centre of the window!) – Proof that not all high-fliers get into the Smurfit MBA. I just hope the unsuccessful candidates weren’t exposed to these “barriers to entry”…(Porter, 1979)
Noticed in canteen last week (look closely at the top-centre of the window!) – Proof that not all high-fliers get into the Smurfit MBA. I just hope the unsuccessful candidates weren’t exposed to these “barriers to entry”…(Porter, 1979)

Whoever screened the applications did a pretty good job. As Ciarán rightly said below, there’s always that trepidation before meeting your assigned study group. How will we interact? Will there be a common work ethic? What are the others’ beliefs around team values and respect? In our first week together, we were encouraged to set in writing a team charter. I’m happy to report that we haven’t had to revert back to it (too much!) as we wade through the perils of group assignments!

I’ve learned some valuable lessons in teamwork already. Last week we spent hours debating the best option for a competitive strategy assignment. The vote came to three against two, and I wrote a report that was the complete opposite of my initial opinion. But having engaged with, acknowledged and understood the other’s viewpoints, writing the report became surprisingly easy.

There were more than a few raised eyebrows when people heard I was considering an MBA so soon after my son was born. The MBA office gave me honest and frank warnings of the time demands involved, along with plenty of tips and success stories. When you have to get home every evening to see your children before bedtime, time-management and motivation to get work done efficiently, suddenly come a lot easier.

On a final note, I’ve spent nearly a decade in engineering (half of that in Brisbane), but I had a growing desire for something radically new and different. I’m not able to put my finger on what that desired change is, and being honest I seem to alter my target career every fortnight! But I’m ok with that, as all of those post-MBA opportunities are thrilling. The past few months have been the most enjoyable learning experience of my life, and my classmates are simply extraordinary.

Our group are particularly lucky – we have 6 members!

Teamwork
Teamwork

Conor Hurley ~ Full-Time MBA

The Importance of Teamwork

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When I decided to put my music business on hold and to take a year out of life and return to college at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the raw intensity of what was to come. Even after 15 years of intense work in the Hollywood entertainment industry, MBA life often seems to be an exercise in survival training for business more than academic learning. Part of me feels that this is the point of it all. From the beginning, the high pressure environment has created a strong bond between the Full-Time MBA students. We realise that supporting each other is the cornerstone of our fast evolving class culture, and this family attitude increases the chance of us making it through the year relatively unscathed!

Teams, teams and more teams

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From the start, teamwork has been a huge part of our MBA experience. We work in assigned teams, in self-selected pairs, and as individuals. We also share ideas as a class on a regular basis. The thing about assigned teams, as you can well imagine, is that there’s no choosing who you get. At the start of Semester One, I think a lot of us collectively held our breath before meeting our teams after hearing all the rumors about teams being customized to create minor conflict to challenge us. I feel I have been very lucky. I have four teammates from different backgrounds, countries and cultures who support each other and have been there for each other every step of the way. It has been a great support to me personally.

I’ve actually been discovering a lot of hidden things about teamwork that will benefit me for many years to come. So many of us are being reminded that there is a lot more to it than simply having a meeting and then going our separate ways to work on tasks. For example:

  1. What are our individual and collective strengths?
  2. How can we learn from and with each other?
  3. How do we engage with each other?
  4. How can we align our goals or expectations?

Virtual Teamwork at Smurfit

Recently, we were hit with a new challenge – working in virtual teams across the various Executive MBA and Full-Time MBA classes. The task seemed simple: collaborate through virtual communication and make a video about the experience. In reality, it proved to be an engaging challenge. Trying to agree on simple things such as an online platform or when everyone is free is apparently harder to do with teammates you don’t know or see!

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We tested the virtual team experience in a “safe psychological environment” (a phrase heard a lot in our class) and had a lot of fun doing it. When two of us attended Global Network Week in Yale’s School of Management for example, we took the time to organise a Skype call from Yale with our teammates back in Ireland to give us an authentic international Global Virtual Team experience.

Our final video project revolved around interviews with fellow Global Network Week students and our own team discussing our experiences.

The MBA Leadership Development Programme

There is a growing awareness among many of us, that developing our ability to work with and lead a team of diverse individuals is a far more significant part of our growth as future business leaders than simply getting the top grade in an MBA exam. It’s proving to be an interesting psychological transition. The ego wants to be selfish and to focus on what is best for the self, yet we see time and time again that the collective delivers better decisions and outcomes.

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The Leadership Development Programme (LDP) focuses on the skills necessary to help us. It IS all worth it. This voyage of self-discovery feeds our emotional growth, and our capacity to be more productive both individually and collectively. At the end of the day, we unquestionably need to understand who we are, before we can lead others in the future. To help us understand our psychological preferences and our emotional strengths and weaknesses, we have done a barrage of personality tests such as an ESCI 360 Peer Review and a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test based on C. Jung and I. Briggs Myers type theory.

Honestly, it sometimes feels like we are doing a new test every second week!

Moving Forward

So what is next for me? I think most of all, I simply look forward to continuing on this voyage of self discovery and enjoying the remainder of my MBA experience.

Ciaran Hope ~ Full-Time MBA

 

MBA Gala Ball in Aid of Spinal Injuries Ireland

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Smurfit MBAs are cordially invited to this year’s MBA Gala Ball in aid of Spinal Injuries Ireland

Excitement is building among this years’ UCD Smurfit MBA graduating class for the Gala Ball in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin on Saturday 10th December 2016. This year the conventional graduation ball will double as a Black Tie charity event in aid of Spinal Injuries Ireland. The organising committee also wishes to extend an invite to the current Smurfit MBA classes and Smurfit MBA alumni.

The committee have been busy in recent weeks organising everything behind the scenes! Guests will be treated to a four course meal followed by entertainment from in-demand 80’s tribute act, Spring Break. There will also be a raffle and spot prizes on the night. Prizes include overnight stays in four and five star hotels, signed rugby memorabilia, tickets to sports events, and vouchers.

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Imagine your life changing irrevocably in a split second. Over 1,800 people in Ireland live with a spinal injury. The majority are aged between 18–35 and 70% never return to work. Spinal Injuries Ireland is the only support service for people who have sustained such injuries.  Just 40% of funding is provided by the HSE, the rest is through fundraising and donations. Spinal Injuries Ireland has been trading at a loss for the past two years and therefore is in urgent need of support.

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This is a one-time special event and the MBA Class of 2016 would greatly appreciate all the support they can get. This is a fantastic opportunity to network with fellow MBAs, so why not get together and organise a table?  Please join us on 10th December to raise vital funds for Spinal Injuries Ireland and have a great night in the process! Tickets are €100 each. For details on how to purchase your ticket(s), please email mbaball2016@gmail.com.

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If you can’t be there on the night, donations are also greatly appreciated. These can be made via PayPal to mbaball2016@gmail.com. Simply include a note that identifies it as a donation. Alternatively, please email us at the above address if you would like to donate using a different payment method.

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Finally exclusively for gents:  There is a 10% discount on tuxedo hire from Tangos. If 20 people hire a tux from Tangos they will donate 10% of the cost of hire to Spinal Injuries Ireland. Check out Tangos Tuxedo Rental for all information on fittings, location and opening times. To get the code, please email mbaball2016@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing you there!

2016 MBA Graduation Ball Committee ~ Dorothy Chestnutt, Barbara Gilleran, Ciarán Reilly, and John Ryan

Home from Home!

Moving to another country is never easy; especially when it is your first time. My journey started with my enrolment in UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. I started my preparation with a lengthy visa process and then scheduling my arduous travel accordingly. I am from the northern part of India which is one of the most scenic places in India: Jammu & Kashmir. Like Ireland, there are lots of lakes, rivers and mountains.

My Home Town
My Home Town

Amidst many differences between India and Ireland, there are similarities also. We both share the same tri-colour in our respective national flags: Saffron, white and Green. Both nations have emerged through similar historic experiences. Moreover, Indian constitution resembles Irish constitution more than any other constitution in the world. When Indian constitution was being drafted, Eammon De Valera was frequently approached. There is uncanny similarity between the Irish pronunciation of numbers and pronunciation of numbers in Hindi and between old Irish and Sanskrit. Also, it is amazing to know that Irish time is the same as Indian time, which pretty much means, not on time.

Ireland
Ireland

Well all the hassle becomes easy if you have good company, warm welcomes and friends around you. We can learn to be happy with very little things in life. My first day in Dublin made quite an impression, while taking bus to my temporary accommodation, I went off the route. The driver pointed to the correct location and dropped me there. It is not just me; one of my Indian colleagues had a similar experience. He (guess who) was stranded because someone robbed him but then a complete stranger helped him with the travel fare and guided him home. I have to say Irish people are very warm, which is something that they share with us.

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A diverse classroom and welcoming staff made the transition easier. Next was our culturally and functionally diverse study group. I have a spread of different cultures (Irish, Kenyan, Chinese and Indian) and experience (Engineer, Music Composer, Chef and Sales Analyst). It may be perceived that we would have a lot of differences but unexpectedly there are not, making it easier to overcome the cultural lag and innate hesitation. Out of the blue was the GNAM Global Network Week, a week full of learning, fun and frolics. We engaged with students across 10 different Business Schools. This provided the level of exposure and networking platform to expand one’s perspective. The surprises don’t end here. Everyone here seems to love Indian food. In addition to that, the food may be very different here but there’s still the sort of bickering and slanging going on that I’m used to. In future, I would love to stay here in Ireland after my studies. For now, I hope my stay here is pleasant and I am looking forward to more surprises and to explore more of Ireland.

Medhav Gondi ~ Full-Time MBA

Semester 1

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I still can’t believe it’s already been three months since I’ve started doing my MBA in Smurfit Business School! It seems like just yesterday I was back home in India thinking about which colleges to apply to, sending out applications, sorting out my Visa issues and deciding on a travel date. The whole anxiety of going to a new foreign country, making new friends, starting college once again and literally starting a whole new chapter in my life kept me awake at nights thinking whether I am making the right choice or not. But here I am three months down the line and I couldn’t have made a better decision!

From the moment I stepped out of the airport to date, it has been a roller-coaster ride. Each day in college has been unpredictable- making new friends, quarrelling over assignments etc. Though we have a timetable, we can still not be certain of when we are going to come back home each day. Every week is different from the previous week with new tasks and experiences. However, the best week for me so far was the GNAM Global Network Week in which we had an opportunity to meet students from different colleges across the globe. That week, we got an opportunity to extend our network beyond college as well as a chance to experience the Irish culture with events like a trip to “The Happy Pear” and trip to Guinness Storehouse.

Circa two weeks after GNW, we had our first end of term exam in the Financial Reporting module. It’s only been three months since the start of MBA and we have already completed two modules- GNW and Financial Reporting- so you can imagine the pressure of being an MBA student! The stress at times is immense but then it’s something we had already prepared for. This month is going to be the most hectic so far. We already have all our assignments lined up for submission and then end of term exams before we can finally get a Christmas break!

The best part about the whole experience is the feeling that I am a student once again and that thought makes me feel young. After obtaining my undergraduate degree and starting work, I never thought I’d have the patience to study once again and particularly a hectic programme like the MBA! Though it’s hectic, you’re not in it alone. Though the stress may be intense, you’ll always see an MBA student with a smile on their face. All the best to everyone for the upcoming exams! We’ve come through so far so we will survive this as well!

Aparna Godara ~ Full-Time MBA

The Sunday Business Post – MBA Scholarship

UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

The Sunday Business Post, in association with UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, is offering one exceptional candidate the chance of a lifetime; An MBA scholarship to an upper value of €34,500, for the Full-Time or Executive (part-time) MBA Programme, starting in late August 2017.

Over four weeks from Sunday October 30th to Sunday November 27th, applicants for the Scholarship must complete Stage 1 of the Scholarship Application Process, which involves completing a short entry form and answering 3 GMAT questions correctly.

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Entrants who answer the 3 GMAT questions correctly and who also fulfill the minimum UCD Smurfit MBA entry requirements, will be invited to complete Stage 2 of the process which involves completing a full application to the Smurfit MBA Programme, if they have not already done so.

Candidates deemed eligible to be considered for the MBA Programme will then be invited for interview,  with an overall winner selected by a panel of judges.

Before commencing your Scholarship entry, please review the entry criteria and terms & conditions which can be found here.

How to Apply

To enter the Sunday Business Post MBA Scholarship 2016 you must complete the online entry form by the deadline of Sunday November 27th.

Click Here to Enter

Participants who fulfill the minimum entry requirements for the Smurfit MBA, as outlined above and who answer the 3 GMAT questions correctly, will be eligible to progress to Stage 2 of the competition.

If you have any questions about the MBA Programme or application process, please email mba@ucd.ie

Avril Donohue ~ MBA Alumni Relations, Communications & Events

Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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