Ciara O’Brien (weekend eMBA 2014), founder of iSave, recently joined UCC’s start-up accelerator Ignite.
My advice to new MBAs is to really make the most of every resource that’s available to you within the MBA system. While there’s lots to learn from your core modules and lecturers, don’t forget to look outside the curriculum to find other opportunities. Two years is quite a short time frame to achieve big things!
My only regret from the MBA is that I didn’t seek out those opportunities even sooner. Starting the course is such an overwhelming experience – learning to deal with the teams, assignments and exams.
In year 2, once I kick-started my start-up idea, the various MBA structures were a huge asset. Michael McDonnell brought me the UCD Student Innovation Fund (which we subsequently won!), Brian Marrinan connected me with MasterCard’s start-up accelerator which was invaluable and Bruce Martin, entrepreneurship lecturer, supported me to refine iSave’s value proposition even though I wasn’t in his class!
This has all been key to our success in winning seed funding, acceptance to the Ignite programme and now a potential spot at The Summit’s APLHA programme for start-ups.
So whatever your goal: take the knock-backs in your stride, seek out people who believe in your idea and can help and don’t waste any of the resources that are available to you. If you have an idea you want to pursue this is probably the best time in your life to do it. It’ll all be over before you know it!
Ciara O’Brien, EMBA 2014 and Founder of iSave.