Our International Study Trip ‘Doing Business in International Markets’ brought us to Singapore and Hanoi with visits to a number of organisations including Citigroup, Amazon Web Services, Caterpillar as well as the Irish Chamber of Commerce in Singapore and the Embassy of Ireland in Hanoi. We had the chance to listen to senior executives of both local and expatriate backgrounds, including a number of Irish expats. The focus was on how they succeeded in business, with insight into the cultural nuances, adapting to the country and the way things are done. We travelled as a large group of both full-time MBA and Executive MBA students together with Professor Patrick Gibbons and Roisin O’Loughlin from UCD Smurfit Business School. Much of the advice and counsel focused on building relationships and the need to invest in and nurture those relationships. Culture, language and traditions may vary in different parts of the world but people still value people who have shared ambitions, ideas and values.
*Picture by Eoin Carroll
Singapore oozed sophistication, calm and control with their increasingly wealthy economy and well developed infrastructure. Hanoi’s frenetic energy couldn’t have been a greater contrast with the noise and excitement and vibrant night life as we drove to our hotel on arrival. We spent a lot of time together; travelling, visiting companies, eating, sightseeing, shopping and even some socialising.
The intense goldfish bowl of the MBA means you spend a lot of time in each other’s company, at lectures, group work, social events and in both structured and ad-hoc meetings. Having come together just six months previously we soon found ourselves spending much of our lives in each other’s pockets. Almost all the deliverables are developed as group projects so that, not only is the MBA an accelerated learning experience covering the academic content, but you build strong relationships with your class. We see each other at our worst, but also at our best; under pressure when numerous assignments are due at the same time; trying to understand a subject that may be completely out of our comfort zone; sharing the expertise in the class and, with the collective efforts of the whole class focused on a weekend deadline -and a large pizza delivery needed to sustain us through the night. There is the immense satisfaction of achieving those deadlines with seconds to spare, supporting each other through presentation after presentation, asking the right questions and applauding appropriately; celebrating exam survival and success, and, of course, some days it is just about keeping each other going and helping each other make it to the next deadline. And even after all that time spent working so closely, many of us chose to extend our International Study Trip and spend a week’s holiday together afterwards.
As we listened to our international business colleagues talk about the importance of relationships in their different corporate environments, it may be worth reflecting on what we have achieved ourselves. Our class has become our primary network, our support network and our current, and no doubt, future career network. With such an international class, our networks are far-reaching; future business leaders, future business partners, mentors, business confidants, coaches, friends; those who can help us make the next biggest decision. Travel broadens the mind, widens the experiences, and helps us learn from international colleagues. But, sometimes it also makes us appreciate the international network we have built for ourselves in such a short time.
*Picture by Eoin Carroll
Lucy MacAuley, Full Time MBA 2018-2019