Archive for July, 2011
As part of the MBA we did a course in Negotiations where we learned about expanding the pie and creating ‘win win’ situations. As a final gesture towards the meeting of minds and cultures, the MBA women of 2011 translated this idea into the ritual of creating a dish and sharing it together at the table.
Thirteen may be considered unlucky, but in this context we are thirteen extremely skilled and confident women who have just qualified with an MBA. We certainly feel lucky to be in this position and with the world at our fingertips.
For us, this small but unique microcosm represents the world and it’s differences. The table acts as a common ground no matter what our religions or nationalities. For each of us, the act and art of making food gave us an opportunity to represent who we are and where we’ve come from and we did this with pride. Our menu ranged from Vietnamese fried spring rolls and chicken fried rice, Kyrgyz beef noodle, American brie in pastry and macaroni cheese, German potato salad, Haitian Curry, and Irish apple tart.
The ‘table’ represents the symbol of engaged exchange. In the future we will gather around different tables dotted around the world developing strategies, designing products, managing teams and deciding our own future. Although we will be in different contexts, we will continue to bring the same enthusiasm and creativity to our future challenges as we brought to this table.
As a unique group of Smurfit MBA graduates, we recognise our differences but also realise our future experiences will be similar, dealing with the challenges as young woman in business. These will range from our family expectations, stereotyping of our roles, how we fall in love and how we fulfil our dreams. We will also need to balance how society dictates how we should live, how we should behave, what our remuneration should be as business women, and how we will cope with raising children and doing the work that drives us to be successful.
We have promised each other we will meet again at another table in ten years’ time. But before we re-unite with our stories of work and life, it would be great to keep the idea of the metaphysical table intact, where we could advise and support each other as we meet our individual challenges. As we look to the future we hope to bring the same enthusiasm and engagement to our future tables, as we brought to sharing this last meal together as Smurfit 2011 MBA students.
-Gemma Ginty, FT MBA 2010-2011
The title of Bjork’s song captures the mood in the MBA Office at the Smurfit School at the moment. It always strikes me this time of year how quickly the last year have passed – it only seemed like last week I welcomed the Full-time MBA Class of 2011 and was running around outside participating in the team building exercises and discussing what kind of animal we all were. Throughout the year, I have enjoyed getting to know these talented individuals and seen how they have developed over the year and taken on everything that we threw at them (in the nicest possible way).
And now, most of the FT MBA Class of 2011 is enjoying some well-earned time off, but I am sure I will see them again soon. As I said as they were coming in to say their goodbyes and thanks, for better or for worse they are now part of the large Smurfit MBA family and we will continue to stay in touch.
- Rikke Budolfsen, FT MBA Programme Manager
Recall last August when arriving in Dublin, many things were strange to me: people go on the left hand-side on streets, the weather was cold even in the summer and the sun was still on my head even in the evening. In my country, Vietnam, evening means dark and no sun, summer means very hot and humid; and of course, we go on the right hand-side. All those things made me feel unusual and I asked myself how could I adapt to a new society and what should I do to perform well in the MBA?
How am I now after one year? Everything is different. I am confident walking on streets in Dublin, I am confident to be a tour-guide for my friends visiting the city. I can speak fluently about Cork, Galway, Killarney, Cobh, Dingle bay, Belfast and Giants Causeway. More than that, I also have experience of working in family farms of my classmates in Sligo and Mullingar. I love to play football and hurling with my mates in sunny evening (you cannot say “sunny evening” in my country!). What has changed me? That is one year MBA with lovely people.
The first day coming to my class, I worried – how can I catch up with the class, how can I work with people from various countries? My concerns were reasonable because the difference in culture, the unfamiliar business environment and the language barrier were big challenges waiting for me. In the first term, those challenges accompanied with heavy workload were extremely tough. Indeed, language barrier was the major obstacle. For example, sometimes, I was confused in class discussion; and it took me double or triple times to finish all readings and assignments in comparison with others in my class. I feel that the first term was the hardest time of study in my life.
How am I now? Now I am confident to involve in discussions and presentation in my class, I understand the business customs and I am comfortable to contribute ideas from the viewpoint of people from an emerging and dynamic economy in the East. My contributions are valuable to the class because I give them the perspective from different experience and different angles. What has changed me? That is the MBA.
It is the end of June now and there are only three days left for me to finish my journey with the MBA. I am very sure that MBA in Smurfit School is my best decision ever. It is a bridge for my future, both in career and in life. I came here with a group of Vietnamese people and I am very sure that they learned a lot too. I would like to say thank you to my classmates, to the school, to all my professors and teachers and especially to Irish Aid who sponsors me for my MBA. Only three days more in the school and several weeks before coming back to Vietnam, I am very sure that I will miss Ireland and the school a lot. To me, MBA is unforgettable in my life and Ireland is my second home.
- Phuong Hoang, FT MBA 2011
After been released to the wild for 8 weeks it was back to the comfort zone of C301. Getting back into case studies, assignments and group meetings initially seemed daunting but the quality of the courses on offer made it enjoyable. A highlight was the opportunity in the Entrepreneurship in Practice course to visit companies, incubation centres and support networks.
The course allowed for an opportunity to speak to start up businesses and get a practical opportunity to understand whether are learnings are truly applicable; outside of understanding how to read a case study. It was inspirational to see so many budding entrepreneurs starting up their own enterprises even when all the news around us talks of Ireland as an economic basket case. In many respects this is the kind of course you want when starting the MBA to offer inspiration of what Ireland has to offer in terms of support from Nova UCD to the Guinness Enterprise Centre and what the latest research is been made available. As already noted this sort of opportunity offers a positive outlook amidst all the doom and gloom.
And there it ends, at this stage I am writing this blog from the couch while watching the tennis, there lies the bonus of been finished. It truly was a great year with a great class.
- Colm O’Reilly