Archive for the ‘Conor O’Donovan’ Category
Its not every day that you get to listen to the former White House economic advisor to President Obama and when you get the chance to listen up, my personal view is that you should take it.
Larry Summers is currently in Ireland for the F.ounders event and meeting various Government Officials and gave a talk in the Citi Building, which is where the City Centre EMBA lectures take place. One of my MBA classmates tipped me off and I decided to drop by before going into our Investment Management lecture on derivatives.
It was interesting to hear Mr. Summers talk about economic policy and afterwards give advice to the audience on career paths and success. He said that you need 3 things to succeed in your career (and maybe life) – ability, work ethic and ….luck – and an equal measure of all three.
Mr. Summers advised the audience to figure out what they like doing – what they are good at and to find out where that overlaps with what the market wants. Once they find that, he advised people to work hard and that having a ‘healthy attitude’ to working was vital. While the third aspect, luck, is a little more intangible and is somewhat out of one’s control, he quoted golfing legend Gary Player who said ‘the harder I work, the luckier I get.’
After the talk ended, I spoke with Mr. Summers and asked him if he had any advice for MBA students given his experience as President of Harvard. He explained the importance of an economic term I had not heard before called ‘fungability’ which relates to interchangeability. He also spoke about the importance of finding a niche area.
Cheryl Sandberg previously worked for Mr. Summers and after consulting with him, decided to leave her secure Government job and join a then unknown start-up called Google. She is now on the Board of Directors of Facebook, Starbucks and Disney – so I’d be inclined to heed his advice!
- Conor O’Donovan, EMBA 2011-13
Marius Smyth, a Smurfit MBA graduate and Head of SMB Sales with Google explains his role within Google, his views on mobile advertising and how the MBA helped him to achieve success in his career.
1. Can you tell me a little bit about your background?
I have been in the Media industry for the past 11 years. I started selling print advertising straight out of college and progressed into Online advertising sales with Google back in 2005. I have had a varied career in Google, working within acquisition sales, Agency, Mobile and most recently within our SMB Sales organisation.
2. You recently were promoted to UK and Ireland Country head of SMB Sales for Google – what does your role involve on a day to day basis?
I manage a direct team of 5 managers who manage a team of 50 SMB Sales Strategists working with our SMB customer segment. We service the UK and Irish markets. I develop the strategy for our sales teams and work closely with the teams to drive sales.
3. How do you see technology continuing to change the advertising industry?
In my time with Google I have seen lots of interesting innovations in the advertising industry but without a doubt the change in consumer behaviour to online has been the big driving force behind the success within the online advertising industry. Historically, advertisers have followed the user and consumer and technology has managed to help create an accountable form on advertising online.
4. You have a background in Mobile advertising – do you see this as the next big thing and how much of a challenge is it to convert advertisers to the mobile platform?
We have a saying in Google that it’s never too late to be early in Mobile advertising. I think mobile is not the next big thing; it is the biggest thing right now. I think that advertisers are very much behind the consumer in this regard. I would say that if advertisers are not already invested in or thinking about mobile in the marketing mix, then they are in trouble and will be playing catch up.
5. What motivated you to do the MBA at Smurfit Business School ?
I had been interested in doing my MBA for some time. Had put it of for one thing or another and eventually decided to commit to what was to be a gruelling two years of my life. Of course it was one of the best decisions I eve made and I thoroughly enjoyed the MBA experience.
6. How has the MBA helped you in your career?
It’s really given me the commercial edge I would say. Although I studied under graduate business studies the MBA gave me a deeper understanding of business and helped me to develop my strategy, leadership and finance skills.
Interviewed by Conor O’Donovan, EMBA Yr 2
Heated discussions around the proposed ‘full’ Property Tax are taking place around the country at the moment and as I prepare to return to Smurfit Business School for the second year of the Executive Masters of Business Administration (MBA), I find myself thinking back to the lessons learned from the Financial Valuations module last semester.
Any form of taxation is going to be unpopular with the public and the property tax is no different. However, it is clear that we need a more stable and recurring source of finance for local authorities as stamp duty receipts to the exchequer have plummeted from €1.3bn in 2006 to somewhere around €40m in the last year. While property tax is likely to feature in the upcoming budget, implementing a methodology that is fair and equitable for everyone is going to be a challenge for Government.
So far, the commentary has focussed around four main methodologies. The first is Site Value Tax (SVT), which was recommended in the Commission on Taxation Report 2009 and values the site (and not the property). While this is a relatively equitable way of levying a tax, it is difficult to assess. For example how do you value the site of one unit in a large apartment block? The second is an area- based tax, which levies the tax based on the size of the property.
This is a relatively transparent method and is easy to assess but doesn’t take into account benefits of access to local government services. A tax based on the market value of the property is being reported as the methodology that will be used but it remains to be seen what method the Minister decides upon. In the current market basing the tax on the market value of the property will be challenging for non-standard properties due to the lack of available transactional data. However the Property Price Register, due later this year which will make actual property selling prices publicly available, should assist with this process.
After wonderful success of Katie Taylor and the Irish boxing team at the Olympics and the excitement that has swept through the country in recent weeks, I can’t help but make the analogy that going into second year of the MBA feels somewhat like getting back into a boxing ring.
Like boxing, the MBA requires a lot of self-discipline and a lot of sweat away from the bright lights of the ring/boardroom. Last semester, I lost count of the many late nights myself and my team mates spent pouring over company annual reports (corporate finance module), critiquing the management controls and budgets of large organisations (management accounting) and preparing SWOT analysis and brainstorming new market ideas for a company’s future (corporate strategy).
A successful boxer also has a great team of people that work with him/her every step of the way. One of the real benefits of the MBA is that you work in small groups on a number of assignments. For me, being part of the group gave me exposure to the views, experiences and perspectives of professionals from a wide range of background that I would not usually encounter in my day-to day-work. This has helped me to look at challenges in my own sector through fresh eyes, which has been invaluable.
A key element of achieving success in boxing is being able to perform at your best under pressure. As aspiring MBA’s, we need to be able to perform under pressure too. We need to be able to present our ideas and business cases to senior business people in a professional and convincing manner. The Smurfit MBA places a high level of significance on developing these skills and throughout the past year we have all had to deliver multiple presentations in front of our classmates, lecturers and senior business people and deal with their questions competently.
Of course, competition is inherent in boxing and it is no different on the MBA. The fact that you are on an executive programme which requires about 15- 18 hours of your time each week, on top of your ‘day-job’, means that the majority of people who make this kind of commitment are motivated to do well. Sometimes the competitiveness comes out with different groups ‘battling’ against each other on their group projects and presentations– but it is more out of a sense of friendly rivalry than anything else and usually ends up in a good laugh over a pint after class.
That said, a new fantasy football league has started in our class and the competition is heating up so let the games begin!
Conor O’Donovan -EMBA Yr 2