Archive for June, 2012
So, we didn’t win.
The better team won on the day, and at least we lost to my old alma mater, NUI Galway. It was scant consolation to learn that it was a close decision.
Our case was on eBay and Amazon. Along with analysing the current state of play, we had to formulate a new strategy for eBay. The time got away from us as we searched in vain for the ‘secret sauce’ that could point the way to success. Unfortunately, there was no rabbit in this particular hat. We took our eye off the ball and with thirty minutes to go we still hadn’t formulated a new strategy. Tempers became short (mainly mine – sorry guys!) and our decisions became panicked. In the end, we rushed it and it showed.
“Win or lose, the important thing is that we never have to see each other again” was the toast that I proposed before the winning team was announced. We had a sinking feeling that it wasn’t going to be our day and, in my own inappropriate way, I thought some humour might lighten the mood (though I may be using the term ‘humour’ quite wrongly). We accepted defeat graciously, and, though downhearted and exhausted, managed to enjoy ourselves by invading the birthday party of our captain’s long-suffering wife.
The strategy competition was a great way to finish our MBA, and, while it would have been nice to ride off into the sunset with a trophy under our arms, it just wasn’t to be. I’m certain that my toast won’t come true, either for this team or for any of our MBA colleagues (but I would imagine that Eoin’s wife will just have to learn to deal with her suffering).
On behalf of the team, I would like to thank Brian McGrath for his help in our preparation, and on behalf of the Smurfit School I would like to thank Michael McDonnell and all in the MBA office for ensuring that the event was organised impeccably.
Finally, to the team of 2013 – avenge our defeat!
- David Collins, Exec MBA 2012
UCD Smurfit MBA Team 2012: Dr. Brian McGrath(Academic), David Collins, Kate Healy, Jonathan Cuthbert, Sinead Hope, Eoin Lyons (Team Captain)
MBAAI Strategy Competition 2012 – Main Hall, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
MBAAI Organisers: Ms. Christine Lewis and Mr. Gareth Quinn
This blog begins to reflect on one of my favourite memories from the MBA, the 2012 World MBA Rugby Tournament. I am humbled to offer my thoughts and perspectives from the trip as an international student at UCD Smurfit with no previous rugby experience just along for the ride. As a quick recap, this is an annual tournament hosted by Duke University for the last 30 years in Danville, Va. which attracts over 700 players representing the top business schools across the globe to compete in the prestigious rugby championship. There is a men’s tackle tournament and a separate women’s touch league. UCD fielded both a men’s and women’s team in the 2012 tournament. Somehow I found myself on the team (see my previous blog) and the stories review the beginning of the trip while still maintaining the Rugby player credo of “what happens on the rugby tour stays on the rugby tour”.
North Carolina Arrival
The MBA had its stressful moments but I never experienced a sleepless night like the one before leaving for the rugby tournament. I recorded a brief video before the trip espousing my excitement for our rugby fundraising website, but as I collapsed in bed after packing my gear, the weight of the moment suddenly hit me like a vicious rugby tackle. I was about to travel back to the States to participate in a sport I still knew little about with teammates I hardly knew. What was I doing? Would I injure myself or worst yet embarrass the team? Throughout the year I had overcome questions around how to motivate employees, calculating required break-even units produced, and evaluating industry attractiveness; however I was left grappling with the upcoming rugby challenges.
After a restless night I woke up at 6am (local time) in Ireland and soon found myself arriving in the Raleigh-Durham Airport in North Carolina around 5:30pm ET. I was joined with approximately 40 of my rugby teammates with bags all accounted for and everyone in good form. The excitement resonated with all the players having made the sacrifice to take time off from their studies at UCD Smurfit and participate in the 2012 MBA World Rugby tournament. However, I can confidently state that no one enjoyed being in North Carolina more than me as I was welcomed by my lovely wife and our friends from the area. As I walked off the plane I soon noticed a large “Welcome UCD Banner” held up by my friends and even a hand drawn poster from one of their 2-year-old daughters to sweeten the welcome. The scene was simply wonderful and I was delighted that my Irish teammates were exposed to Southern Hospitality so early in our adventure.
We then hopped in a bio-diesel powered van with our friendly driver Mark who drove us to Danville for our first team dinner. With about 40 total people on the trip it can be challenging to remember all the names and faces, but the night out allowed us all to bond and relax after a full day of travel. After stuffing myself with a plate full of ribs and sirloin steak, I smiled knowing I was back in the South sharing the moment with new teammates and friends. Now the only thing left to do was to start playing…
- Justin Thomas, Full-time MBA 2011/12
As the Smurfit Full Time Class of 2012 near the closing stages of the MBA programme, they get an opportunity to put into action all the new tools, theories and techniques that they have learned over the year with the Smurfit MBA Consulting Initiative.
It’s an opportunity for the students to go out implementing their new working styles, make contacts and apply their learning’s over an intensive seven week period before presenting their findings to the companies and Smurfit staff. In addressing the organisation’s business task, students immerse themselves into the business environment and develop a solution that is ready for implementation.
Armed with workshops in advance on management consulting skills, research methods, leadership, project management, presenting to boards and more, students have the opportunity to improve their analytical, problem solving and communication skills by developing a solution to a real problem faced by an organisation.
These projects are an exciting time not only for the students, but for the companies involved also. This year we were once again massively over-subscribed by companies looking to gain the insights of a team of MBA’s, with many unfortunately ending up disappointed.
The students on the other hand now have the opportunity to join some of the world’s leading names across the Technology, Life sciences, Financial Services, Digital Media, FMCG, Not-For-Profit, Aviation and Energy sectors. Companies such as SAP, Microsoft, GSK and many others are this week welcoming a team to assist in solving strategic problems in their organisations.
This year also sees an exciting partnership with the Walton School of Business in the United States whereby their students will collaborate with ours for an incredibly exciting global project for Henkel.
We wish the students well as they step back into working life over the coming weeks, I know they are relishing the opportunity to get their teeth into real strategic issues and an insight into what their future working lives will be as executives in organisations large and small.
- Brian Marrinan, MBA Careers
I’m sitting on the couch at home wondering where the last 9 months went and how I ever survived. Year 1 on the EMBA has been one amazing whirlwind involving countless projects, presentations and cases. In fact I’m so exhausted, all I can say is that 1) It was totally worth it 2) I laughed out loud a lot more than I expected 3) I’ve met and worked with some really interesting and clever people who I hope to know all my life.
I sign off this term with some photo highlights of a dream just realised – President Michael D Higgins’ visit to our Habitat homes in Inchicore as the keys are handed over to their new occupants….
Have a great summer!
- Karen Kennedy