Archive for June, 2011
As the end of the MBA draws near, my classmates and I had to ask ourselves a final academic question – which two electives would we choose to complete the program? While I was tempted by Strategic Brand Marketing and Design and Artist-like Thinking in Business, I ended up selecting Entrepreneurship in Practice and Mergers and Acquisitions – two topics I’ve been intrigued with from a distance but haven’t had much direct experience with. In both cases, I’ve been truly pleased with my decision.
Entrepreneurship in Practice was taught by John “the serial entrepreneur” Cashell, a man with more stories about starting businesses than anyone I’ve ever encountered. Throughout the week, our class was given a crash course on the “dos and don’ts” of entrepreneurship, as we listened to John talk about his experiences developing new ideas, creating teams, designing business plans, and acquiring finance to make it all come together. Furthermore, we visited numerous companies throughout the week – small start-ups such as HeyStaks Technologies and Equinome, and large multinationals such as Intel and Microsoft – learning about the entrepreneurial process in both environments.
In the Mergers and Acquisitions course my classmates and I have enjoyed the great opportunity of learning from a visiting professor from the University of Denver, Dr. Donald Bergh. Dr. Bergh comes to Smurfit with 27 years of experience in M&A’s, both as a practitioner and as an academic. This experience has been obvious to us all, as the week has been full of valuable discussions, presentations and lectures on a topic that has arguable influenced more people than any other organizational action.
As a result of both classes, my classmates and I have been given yet another couple of tools that will enable us to achieve success in our future business pursuits.
- Patrick Hillis
Last Saturday, 25 June 2011, saw the annual Smurfit MBA Summer BBQ which has become a much anticipated event marking as it does the period just after semester 2 results, the last modules of the year and the beginning of the summer. The BBQ was held in the school grounds and gave us all a chance to see them at their best in a way we usually don’t have the time to. We were a little worried about how things were going to go on Friday as the rain and the wind made their presence felt but happily by Saturday morning the temperature had risen markedly, the grounds had dried out and not long after the BBQ began the sun put in an appearance. In the end Saturday afternoon turned out to be one of the best of the summer so far (not difficult), some people even reported minor sun burn.
There was a great turn out of over 180 adults and 60 children, representing the MBA full-time class and all three EMBA classes (Year 1 and Year 2) and accompanying partners and children. The event allowed people to relax and enjoy each others company and talk about matters unrelated to Management Accounting or Performance-Driven Marketing, although I did over hear a very interesting discussion concerning the success rates of mergers and acquisitions inspired by an option module the previous week.
The children’s entertainers did a terrific job and kept all the little guests occupied and amused with the bouncy castle, puppet show and related activities, particularly popular was the face painting and when all the children who wanted adornment were catered for some of the MBAs decided to participate in the face-painting experience too.
All in all, it was a great event, plenty to eat and drink, good conversation, catching up with friends, classmates and the occasional academic outside the pressure cooker of the average MBA semester.
Many thanks to Mary O’Dwyer from the MBA Office who was the main organiser of the day.
- Roisin O’Loughlin, MBA Programme Manager
So there I was, in September 2010, sitting in my class , Mid-Week Executive MBA; I think it was a Thursday night. Roisin O’Loughlin, the EMBA Programme Manager, comes in and announces to the class that we need to elect a Class Representative (Class Rep) for the year:
“They will be a conduit for information between the staff and the sudents”, she says. In my own mind, I was expecting a vote to elect someone. Before you can say “Decision Making” , I am proposed and elected as Class Rep. Done deal!! So, thats how I came to the role; by the “democratic” will of the Mid-Week Executive MBA class of Year 1.
I must admit, though, it has been a thoroughly fulfilling role and it is a role that I would recommend to anyone on entering into the MBA programme either Full-Time or, as in my case, the part-time EMBA.
The academic year between September and May has flown by and it is now June as I put down my thoughts to paper on the role of the Class Representative and take time to reflect on the year that has been. It really has been a fast year but, I can honestly say, a massively challenging year. But, ultimately, it has also been rewarding and satisfying. The MBA is always about developing the person as we are expected to broaden our thinking from the tactical or micro into the global and strategic. This is the type of thinking that we are now expected to be equipped with as students of the top business school in Ireland.
The role of Class Representative is a key leadership and management role that is given to one of the students. As Class Rep, your role is one of liason between the lecturers, programme management staff and fellow class members. All of the above assist with the smooth running of the many moving parts that make up an Executive MBA Course at UCD Smurfit. From a Personal Development aspect, the role has been excellent, as it gives you good practice at putting simple management procedures into play when acting in the role within the class.
The role of the Class Rep is an excellent mechanism for the class to speak with the “one” voice especially if there are certain issues that need to be addressed. The Class Rep will canvass fellow students to get their soundings on an issue and then he/she will liaise with the relevant UCD Smurfit personnel. Good clear communication is an essential part of being Class Rep between fellow students and staff.
There are a few duties associated with the job. Twice per year, once each semester, a lunch of all Class Reps and programme management staff is organised and at very nice locations i might add. This is a good chance to compare notes with the other Class Reps from the other UCD Smurfit EMBA cohorts. A good bond between the various Class Reps pays dividends when trying to organise the functions that the Class Reps organise at the end of a semester as it’s often better to unite and hit the one location. I think anyone that was at the Christmas function will vouch for this, a good example of pooling resources!
All in all, the role of the Class Rep, whether elected each semester, each term or as in my case for the duration of the academic year, is an excellent opportunity to get stuck into the running of the class and programme and it is an essential appointment. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my year as Class Rep. Year 2 is upon us soon , so roll on! And, I think a handover is in order, time to vote , time for a new leader of the soon to be Year 2 Executive MBA Mid-Week Blackrock for 2011-12.
Fintan McGovern, Class Rep, EMBA YR1 Mid-Week Blackrock 2010-2011
I usually sleep soundly. A couple of years ago I found myself waking in the morning with a sense of anxiety, which I could not explain. Then one morning I woke in the middle of a dream, in which I had arrived at an exam for which I was absolutely unprepared. Well, I thought as a not particularly academic person, I will never study or sit an exam again, so I can relax. And I did. The sense of anxiety departed. How then do I find myself in the tenth month of a full time MBA; surely the epitome of all that created my anxiety?
Without delving into the details, I found myself at a point in my life where I had worked in the government, commercial, self-employed, charity and entrepreneurial sectors, over 20 years. Yet my CV did not say what I was; a soldier, a facilities manager, a property developer, a do-gooder or an e-tailer? I entered the Newstalk MBA scholarship competition, did not win, but did secure a place on the course. I realised that the MBA was just what I needed to focus my CV, so I accepted the place and started the course in September.
So, how has that worked out for me? Apart from not yet having secured a job, it was a brilliant decision. The MBA is an amazing product, experience and challenge. Central to the MBA is understanding relationships; between people, decisions, structures, markets etc. This applies to the subject matter but also to the students. For 10 months we have been ‘mushed’ together in class, groups, at lunch and socially.
However, I believe that the MBA is essentially a course about thought, about thinking and about joining the dots. It is a slow burner. During the first seven week term we were so busy, and the subjects so seminal, that we gained five separate perspectives. The second term saw the thought, the dot joining, commence. Financial Reporting was leveraged by Managerial Accounting, Decision Making contextualised by Financial Markets & Valuations, Business Economics de-mystified by, well everything. By May, when the In Company Projects were in full flow, we were deep in the art of demonstrating ‘cross learning’s. This cross pollination of ideas is what the MBA takes away from the course, not the T Account, Black Scholes, ROI, Decision Trees or Porters Value Chain. No, the MBA graduate is a business thinker, leader and manager. She is primed for the future. He is launched into an interconnected world, with an interconnected way of thinking.
But is he/she the stereo typical arrogant MBA? I will leave you with this anecdote and let you make up your own mind. A student on the premier UCD Smurfit marketing course, the MDP, asked me “what do you do on the MBA?”. “Well” I said “they teach us to be your boss!”. I presume he got my point.
- David Gosling, FT MBA Class of 2011