The first days of the MBA are a whirlwind. Smurfit School staff and former MBA’s go to great lengths to impress upon you what a huge draw on time the MBA is going to be. There are lectures, assignments, leadership development activities, extracurricular events, networking opportunities and endless readings. They also tell you that you should also spend some time on your job and with your family, but this is optional.
The words “class” and “rep” are mentioned somewhere in the middle of this whirlwind. With everything else that is thrown at you in these first days, anything else could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. When the time comes to choose class rep arrives, everyone is very wary that this could be that straw. However, in a moment of clarity, I put myself forward to represent the weekend class. Upon reflection, this turned out to be one of my better decisions.
In a year where networking is so important, the class rep role gave me the opportunity to engage with my class mates more frequently, put the class perspective forward to lecturers and get insights from the second year exec class that I definitely would not have had the chance to do otherwise. As the intermediary between the class and faculty, the class rep role allowed me get a feel for the pulse of the entire class and aspects of modules that maybe at first were not apparent to me.
Class reps are offered first refusal to attend events at various points throughout the year. Examples of this were the Michael Smurfit Book Launch & the UCD Smurfit School Business Journalist Awards. These are excellent opportunities to network and a welcome break to the list of readings and submissions. They help highlight why we sign up for the MBA in the first place and give focus on the end goal.
Networking opportunities and engagement with class and faculty are great, but one benefit of being class rep outshines the rest. Class reps decide where we get to have the post exam party!
Far from being the straw that broke the camel’s back, I found the class rep experience to be extremely rewarding and actually helped me with the academic side of the MBA. I am glad I stuck my head above the parapet in that first week and recommend future Smurfit MBA’s to also.
EMBA Weekend year 2