Surprising Application of MBA learning

The general expectation from the MBA program is to develop your leadership skills and prepare you for management roles. Our LATAM experience showed us how these MBA concepts could also transcend to other interesting aspects of personal life.

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After day-long seminars with important speakers, we were eager to experience the thriving nightlife at Santiago, Lima and Cusco. The odds were stacked against us as we had limited dancing abilities and very little knowledge of the local language.

The lessons learnt from our last semester, it all came back to us! On the dance floor, we strategically identified potential dance partners by scanning the environment through the lens of segmentation targeting positioning concept, which was taught by the three musketeers of marketing – Damien, Andrew and Marius. We reminded ourselves about McNutt’s lesson on Nash equilibrium and realized that it was better to cooperate than compete with each other on the dance floor.

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On analysis of our interactions with the local people, we realized that our competitive advantage was that we hailed from India – the exotic land of the Taj Mahal and Khajuraho temples! We tactically played this trump card, which turned out be a great ice-breaker and kept the conversation flowing.

News of our happening nightlife spread like wild fire to the other end of the globe where the other half of our bunch was chilling in Hanoi. This experience taught us the true meaning of Chinese whispers. Our innocent dancing with the local women was distorted into creative, hilarious stories which made us men of questionable character! Overall, those two weeks were truly a highly immersive cultural experience. This has boosted our confidence of our ability to effectively handle international client relationships by overcoming language and cultural barriers.

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On returning back to Dublin and resting on that weekend, we were directly thrown into early morning day-long sessions of Operations and Supply Chain Management with the effervescent George Onofrei. We had interesting presentations covering companies across a wide range of sectors – Ebay, Dominos, Zappos, Sonae, Amazon, Zara and Cincinnati Hospital. Some of the teams entertained us by offering us pizzas and fruits. However, my team member John Keegan stole everyone’s thunder when he introduced his mother as a guest appearance during our presentation on Cincinnati Hospital. Our first group presentation turned out to be very successful and we look forward to building on that momentum.

Osmund Allan, MBA FT 2017/18osmund-1

 

MBA International Trip – A True International Experience

I had the opportunity to visit South America for the first time as part of the MBA International Study trip. Narcos, Machu Picchu and football were few of the things I knew about South America. This International study trip was my opportunity to have a real taste and feel of the continent, while also understanding a different culture. This helped me to link the theoretical knowledge that I learnt in the MBA programme, to its market application in an unfamiliar country. The main reason of doing an International MBA was to obtain a global experience. This trip added the icing on the cake.

Santiago is one of the most developed cities in South America. However, it is also a city which lies in a highly active seismic zone, as earthquakes in Chile are a routine occurrence. I was astonished to find that the Chilean infrastructure is so strong and dependable and that the Chilean people are unperturbed unless an earthquake measures higher than 6.5 on the Richter Scale. I also had the opportunity to visit one a non-profit organisation- Fundacíon Vivienda, which makes temporary houses for earthquake affected people. I fortunate to meet with to Miguel Mora, the Operations Director of the firm. We discussed on how we could make use of the residing materials from the houses.

We also met a lot of renowned speakers like Nicolas Verdesoto, who manages investor relations at Banco Estada, the State Bank of Chile. He explained the Chilean economy and its fiscal policies. We had the privilege of visiting one of the finest vineyards in the world- Vineyard Veramonte in Casablanca and of course, we bought some bottles for ourselves!

After a few exciting days in Chile, we flew to Lima, Peru for the second leg of our journey. And guess what, we met the CEO of Vivo Air, one of the cost leaders in the Aviation Industry. He spoke about the history, the company strategy going forward, their beliefs and how being a cost leader gives them a competitive advantage.

This trip also gave me the opportunity to visit one of the leading textile manufacturing firms in LATAM. I had never been to a textile manufacturing factory before. Eduardo Elias, the Director of the firm, provided us with a great insight into the process of making clothes. We also visited his industrious factory and the textile testing centre.

We stayed back in Peru for five more days to understand the LATAM culture. We explored the cities on our own experiencing the nightlife, the remains of the Incas civilisation and the natural beauty that South America possesses such as Machu Picchu and the Rainbow Mountains.

Orientating and managing cultural differences is an essential part in a manager’s work life. As an MBA graduate, it becomes essential to learn how to conduct business in a completely different environment with a variety of cultures. Furthermore, it becomes vital to understand how to harness the theories learnt during the MBA to accommodate the cultural diversity in an International setting.

Finally, I would like to thank the Smurfit MBA Office for providing us this opportunity, my group who accompanied me to make each and every day special, Karan Sonpar for his speed dating networking tips, Thom Strimbu for capturing these wonderful pictures and the tour organisers for making this trip a memorable experience.

Himanshu Kamat, MBA FT 2017/18

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Inspirational Presentations in Chile

It was the second event of our second day in Chile, and having spent the last 6 months in Ireland none of us were conditioned for the Mediterranean climate we found in Santiago, especially leaving Dublin at a time when the Beast from the East was fresh in our memories! I would be the first to admit that staying focused is not my forte but when you have travelled the 11,460 km distance from Dublin to Santiago you need to make the effort. Fortunately for myself and my colleagues the calibre of the speakers lined up was fantastic and it made attending the presentations a privilege.

We arrived at Wayra just after lunch on our second day in Chile. Wayra are a start-up accelerator, founded by one of the biggest telecommunications provider in the world, Telefonica and are part their  Open Innovation Program. Soon after our arrival I was informed that to get to our presentation location I would need to climb 4 sets of stairs, as you know ladies don’t sweat we glow and I was glowing red hot 😉 On the way up the stairs to the presentation space I observed some of the people working in Wayra. They were from various start-ups, young, mostly male and sitting around at various locations on bean-bags. This scene brought back alot of nostalgic memories for me about the last start-up I was a part of. Even though our group of 30+something MBA candidates were dressed in business attire, one of the Wayra employees continued to sit amongst us, on a bean bag in true start-up tradition and spirit, absolutely unbothered by the presentation. There was a great atmosphere throughout the presentation and we all found it extremely interesting. Unfortunately, the entire presentation was in Spanish but thanks to the presenter Pepe Pascual, nothing was lost in translation.

What really captured my interest at the presentation was that even though Chile is a developing economy there is still a strong presence of startups venturing into technology industries in areas such as AI, machine learning, cloud computing etc. This  made me realize that these technologies are already highly in demand. Below is a sample set of the start-ups that Wayra are working with:

Smartbox – The team at Smartbox believe that they have taken OTT to the next level. Through their Nunchee platform, users could customize their personal video & audio playlists with many new and interactive features. Nunchee platform could also be easily integrated with any device, including laptop, tablet and mobile. Cool right! Let’s talk about the next one.

Wivo – Another name for retail analytics. The most challenging work done by the team to date is to understand  customer behaviour though algorithms which use data acquired by sensors and heat maps installed in the shops. To highlight their work here is a fun fact that I spotted on their web page.

‘Did you know that people who like dogs are more likely to purchase an iPhone by as much as 37%?’ Very intriguing!

Inbenta – Now I believe this start-up will change the future of customer service or BPOs forever. Inbenta has created a chatbox which interacts with customer queries in the absence of a human customer service representative. This is done with the magic of machine learning and NLP as the underlying technologies. Through these technologies it is possible to predict what the customer is looking for and help precisely direct them to their desired products, vastly reducing search time. Sharp!

And as always I have kept the best till last!

Poliglota – This start up is by far the most original and innovative (in my humble opinion!). Have you ever wanted to learn a new language but didn’t like the mundane tutorials. Poliglota allows people to learn languages in places like pubs, cafes and learn face to face from people who are experts.

The company visit to Wayra really inspired the Thought Leadership Club members and as a result we have decided to bring these revolutionising technologies together on the same platform and help other students to learn more about them. It is my pleasure to present to you the Thought Leadership Club’s  keynote event ‘Digital Transformers’ that will take place on the 24th of April 2018 at UCD Smurfit. For more details, kindly follow the link.

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Last but not the least, muchas gracias to the MBA programme managers for organising this amazing trip to Chile and Peru. We had the best experience of both culture and business together. Salut! :)

Nadisha Garg, Full Time MBA 2017-2018

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Bursting the MBA bubble

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.

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*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.

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*Picture by Eoin Carroll

Lucy MacAuley, Full Time MBA 2018-2019

MBA International Scholarship

UCD Smurfit School are delighted to announce a brand new scholarship tailored specifically for international participants wishing to study an MBA in Ireland. This MBA (Full-Time) scholarship will be awarded to an academically exceptional student who has demonstrated leadership and impact achievements in their career to date. They will be an ambassador for the Smurfit MBA and UCD Smurfit School during their studies and after graduation. This merit based scholarship covers up to 100% tuition fees for the MBA full-time. A GMAT score of 650 or above is required. Closing date is the 27th of April 2018. For more information and to apply, please click here: MBA International Scholarship

Fuelling Ireland’s Future

On February 27th the MBA Thought Leadership Club held the event “Fuelling Ireland’s Future”, which examined the future of Ireland’s Energy sector. The event, organised at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, offered its participants the privileged opportunity to hear from key decision makers in the energy industry about how leadership and innovation are shaping the country’s energy future.

The speakers’ impressive backgrounds and eloquence inspired high-level discussions on Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions, European targets, future projects and the country’s approach towards development and innovation. “Ireland’s fuel must be Sustainable, Secure and come from the right Sources (SSS) but also Affordable, Accessible and Available (AAA). Ireland’s future depends on multiple factors including political, economic, climate change, Brexit, technology and infrastructure,” declared the event’s master ceremony John Power, Director General of Engineers Ireland.

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The panel at the event included a mix of personalities from the country’s energy industry. Starting with Jim Gannon, Chief Executive at Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI); Peter O’Shea, Head of Strategy and Regulation ESB and Michael Walsh, Managing Director European region at Smart Wires Inc.

One of the  biggest issues currently facing  Ireland is the high rate of carbon emissions. Peter O’Shea, in his presentation, identified the main contributors to this problem. He noted that approximately 20% of Ireland’s carbon emissions come from electricity generation, a further 20% from the heat sector, 20% from the transport sector and 32% from agriculture. It appears that decarbonising electricity and the electrification of transport and heat seems to be the way forward for Ireland if they want to achieve future emission targets.

The decarbonisation of electricity generation is being driven by various initiatives to increase renewable energy production, but despite good progress there is still a need for investment and quicker developments. Onshore wind farms are the preferred path for big scale production but they often face negative public opinion, and offshore wind developments are costly. There is also a need for a better mix of renewable sources such as solar panels, biomass and others if  renewable energy production is to be increased considerably.

Currently transport decarbonisation is happening at a very slow rate. To improve this, Ireland needs to invest in infrastructure which will encourage the use of electric vehicles, while also making a  more significant effort to change the mentality of the larger population towards an eco-friendly transportation industry. Finally, decarbonising heat for households is a must. This is easy to implement in new buildings, but a lot harder to implement in existing households. ESB is leading the way in trying to make these transitions successful.

Jim Gannon from SEAI emphasised that under the current trajectory it would be difficult for Ireland to reduce it’s emissions and achieve its year 2020 target. The target could be missed as Ireland may only be able to provide 13% of its energy through renewable resources. To incentivise companies to reduce carbon emissions, different initiatives are being led by the SEAI.  The focus of these initiatives has changed in recent years to a more consumer focused approach . “We want the consumer to want it,” said Jim Gannon.

The discussions at the event were not only about  energy production but also about  its efficient distribution. Ireland uses about 20% of its grid capacity and Smart Wires’ innovations aim to improve the use of the grid’s spare capacity. “Bringing intelligent technology to the grid is where we want to be,” stated Micheal Walsh. Smart networks link information technology to electricity networks in order to control fluctuations. The increase in sources of electricity, including solar parks and wind farms along with small generators in households, require a better management of the grids.

Data centres planned by Google, Amazon and Microsoft among others will transform Ireland into the data capital of the world. However, while this increase in electricity demand will be a significant challenge it could bring financing opportunities for renewable electricity production projects.

Brexit is another obstacle which must be faced and the outcome does not look good as Ireland’s electricity interconnector is linked to the UK.  Any changes to the trading regulation could put the country at risk.

Energy from fossil sources will still play an important role in the country’s energy mix but it will require the adoption of a low carbon emission approach. If all the industries work toward the same target, then Ireland will have a successful transition.

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I was delighted to lead the event’s organisation and listen to the leaders who will ensure a bright future for Ireland. “Fuelling Ireland’s Future” was definitely an event worth attending.

Sauyith Cueva, Full Time MBA 2017-2018

The Tale of Two Cities

Decades ago along the sands of time, Latin America gave birth to two children, Chile and Peru. Both were born with rich Spanish blood and long mountains running down their back. Skin that sparkled brilliantly from the varied numerous minerals hidden beneath its surface, mostly copper and soil rich for food production. Two beautiful children whose fingers and toes were dipped in the blue Pacific Ocean. When Chile became of age, his independence took him to boarding school. He learnt to play by rules no matter how difficult they seemed. He met other boys there and he was instructed on how to treat everyone independent of another. A bank that is fully owned by the state should operate fully independent of state influences. It should do no business with other state agencies to keep it free from financial risk. Chile also learnt to engage in fair competition, no companies are subsidized by the state and regulation allows for participation in free trade for all. Chile learnt to wake up early, dress in uniform, make his bed, walk down the hall in silence and show up for his classes. Children are assigned a social number at birth at the state bank and start carrying a debit card that allows for basic transactions at the age of 14 years. The citizens of Chile do not compromise with the police and it can be seen in the order on the road and obeying of traffic laws. Buildings meet strict regulation building codes which ensures they withstand even a major earthquake. Earth tremors that are the norm in that part of the world do not easily frazzle Chileans-unless the tremor is big enough that one cannot get up to a standing position, they smile and continue to have lunch.

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*Chile

On the other hand, at Independence, Peru decided to explore the world. He wanted to live young and free with no rules. He made fast and easy friends who fell in love with the copper color of his skin, the mountains down his back and rich soil. They offered to show him the way to live and lead him and he gladly accepted. Peru has embraced leaders with such diverse origins including Irish and Japanese, something not many countries can attest to. These leaders invited Peru to parties where they filled his cup with wine and laid a table of sumptuous food. Peruvian food is acclaimed to be one of the best cuisines in the world due to the influences from all over the world that has led to a wonderful fusion of tastes. Peru’s friend’s played music and his intoxicated body stood and danced to their tunes. His mineral rich skin sparkled and everyone wanted to run their hands over it. Peru’s land is mined not just for copper, but gold and is the world’s highest producer of silver. Peru spent his days sleeping off his hangover and getting up just in time to get dressed for the next party. The party had to keep going and Peru played his part to ensure it. It is the highest producer of illegal cocaine and counterfeit American dollars. His friends that clapped and cheered were actually laughing and mocking as he stumbled in intoxication. Peru has had an unfortunate selection of leaders who have rummaged through it, amassing riches from its copper and mineral rich economy, engaging in boundless corruption that has steeped Peru’s economy in a hole where only a few benefit at the expense of the masses. 10 companies own 70% of the current economy while the population struggles with sub- standard education and a failing healthcare system. The lack of rules has filtered down to the street where even crossing the road is a hazardous fete as road rules are more of an option than an obligation.

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*Peru

Eventually after a couple of decades, Chile left the closed walls of the boarding school and ventured out into the big wide world. He saw people wearing interesting clothes, driving cars and living life as they wanted to and not as instructed to. Wide eyed, Chile began to embrace difference and question the rules cautiously. He learnt to drink wine and dance some nights away. But he finds that most days, he still prefers to stay within the rules he had learnt to follow those many years ago.  Chile is concertedly opening up its doors to the world and signing free trade agreements to encourage the world to come and explore Chile as they too learn from the world.

Peru, after may hungover days woke up and his sober mind realized he needed to break away from his friends. He started to set rules in place to guide him. He started staying in some days instead of going out and with a clear mind he began to strategize. He cut off some of his past friends and some friendships are still being assessed. The current president is under motion to vacate the presidency while the former president and his wife are in jail for corrupt practices they engaged in while in office. Other corrupt presidents before these, unfortunately have managed to get away after a sizeable payoff. Peru continues to grapple with the need of necessary rules for a thriving economy but are determined to make meaningful change. Meanwhile, tourists continue to flock to it to enjoy its sumptuous delicacies and dance to its hip swaying tunes that it perfected in its youth. Chile still comes alive several nights of the week where the streets fill with men and women looking for some delicious wine and fun.

Chile and Peru, siblings and neighbours, similar yet still different. Still growing and learning. Adapting to embrace the good and shift the bad. Still beautifully Spanish, still captivating suitors with their beautiful mineral sparkling skin and rich soil, encompassing captivating mountains and fingers and toes dipped in the Pacific Ocean.

Elizabeth Kiathe, Full Time MBA 2017-2018

UCD Smurfit MBA Graduation Ball

The MBA Classes of 2017 traded caps and gowns for glitz and glam within a few days in early December. On Saturday December 9th, the eagerly anticipated Smurfit MBA Graduation Ball 2017 was held in The Hilton Hotel, Charlemont, Dublin.

With over 130 people in attendance, the black-tie event was thoroughly enjoyable and the perfect way for the graduating classes to celebrate reaching the MBA finish line together with partners and friends who provided support throughout the journey.

grad-pic-4The event, which raised €7,000, was organised by 2017 MBA graduates: Anne Marie Barcoe, Ciarán Hope, Tanya Kenny and Catherine O’Brien. Following the lead of last year’s class, it was decided to use the event as an opportunity to raise funds for charity. The class elected to once again support Spinal Injuries Ireland, and this year it was decided to also support Friends of St Lukes Cancer Care Rathgar. Both charities are very worthy causes, and the vital funds raised on the night will contribute to the important work they do to support their patients and families, so details on how the donation will be used are outlined below.

A charity raffle was entertainingly compered on the night by MBA graduates Fenton Murphy and Marcus O’Dwyer. The very generously donated raffle items generated much interest with hotel stays, rugby tickets, sports jerseys and electrical items among the prizes on offer. There were also spot prizes awarded for Best Dressed Lady (Christine Kiernan) and Best Dressed Gent (Brian McGrath).

The funds raised by Smurfit MBA graduates, current students, alumni, Aspire scholars, and Smurfit school staff, together with partners and friends, means we are all part of doing something very positive. Sincere thanks for the incredible generosity by all who attended the event.

The committee would also like to acknowledge the generous support of all those who helped in the run up to the ball, especially our prize donors and sponsors.

MBA Graduation Ball 2017 Committee

Anne Marie Barcoe | Ciarán Hope | Tanya Kenny | Catherine O’Brien

Spinal Injuries Ireland will use the donation to grow their national Peer Support programme entitled ‘Someone Like Me’. When patients have returned home, after completing their rehabilitation at the NRH, SII works alongside them and their families to support full integration into their local communities. More information available https://spinalinjuries.ie/ or follow them on Facebook @SpinalInjuriesIreland

During 2018 The Friends of St Luke’s Cancer Care are fund raising for  some very important projects across the Network which include; Child and Adolescent play areas for their paediatric service. St Luke’s is the only centre that provides Paediatric Radiation Therapy, Gated VMAT Radiotherapy, 3D Bolus Printer for treatments, PICC line ultrasound system for the Day Ward and many other projects. More information available https://www.friendsofstlukes.ie/ or follow them on Facebook @friendsofstlukes

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Inspirational Presentations in The Thought Leadership Club

The 19th September 2017, the day we started the Thought Leadership Club. Before we started the club I decided to do some research and I googled “what makes a Thought Leadership club different from any other leadership club” and I found this blog; ‘Thought Leaders Are Made, Not Born. Here’s How to Become One

Interestingly, when I dug more I came across words like digital marketing, email marketing, content marketing and even networking and branding which quickly piqued my interest and I decided to take up the onus of running this club. My interest in digital marketing developed when I needed to promote my mom’s business on Facebook and Twitter. In addition to this, I have a few memories from my initial days as a web developer, developing a product which was the vision of the CEO of the startup company I was then working at. During the final phase of the product development, he used an SEO trick to find the most commonly searched keywords. Based on this he decided the name of the product and he also used it to promote the product. That was my first practical lesson in thought leadership.

As I started sailing across ideas for the club and discussing them with the club members I realized the importance of networking with leaders of different fields and getting out of our comfort zones. Personally, at the start of semester 1, I was struggling to find the right career path for myself and found it difficult to connect with people. In order to not doubt myself more than I already did, I realized I needed to start connecting with like-minded people. Somewhere around that time, our then career representative, Eoin, shot this idea across the  group to network using the apps meetup and Shapr, which he clarified was nothing like tinder :P. I forced myself to attend a few events and then found one on ‘ New trends in digital marketing and latest in SEO’. I booked myself onto it quickly and promised myself to not change my mind at the last minute. I was extremely glad  I stuck my initial promise and attended the event.  Karyn, the organizer,  had made the effort to prepare a presentation on current trends in SEO and talked us through it for good 40 minutes.

During the event, I realized that this presentation could help the club members to understand more about thought leadership. I met Karyn at the end of the session and invited her to come to Smurfit and give the same session again with a few more bits added to it. She said yes to the idea immediately. I  asked her why she organized events like this, in order to understand what was in for her, so that I could offer her the same if possible. I learnt that she did this for her own networking opportunities and to promote digital marketing. Well, to me it seemed  like a win-win situation and finally we had a successful session on 23rd Jan. She later revealed that she is an alumna of Smurfit and did her Master’s in Management. Surprise!

The event was great and Karyn was even better. The session covered the topics “Search Neutrality” and “The Latest in SEO” specifically, the topics voted for by the audience. The best part about the session was the Q&A round in which everyone had so many questions and Karyn did an amazing job in answering them all.  I remember thanking her later at Three tun’s ;)

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My idea on  thought leadership has definitely changed since starting this club, I don’t think the same way  anymore. Like they say, the more you learn the more confused you get- just kidding! As per this article ” The Difference Between Content Marketing and Thought Leadership”

Thought leaders focus on crafting ideas, not audience reaction and reach.’

So, to all the future thought leaders, while you may know how to market yourself effectively,  it is most important that your work speaks volumes and that is where your focus should be.

This club couldn’t have been possible without all the club members and especially without James, whose efforts have been very sincere since the start. I hope that we all can learn from  great leaders, connect with them and be inspired by them,  and who knows perhaps become one through  our Thought Leadership Club and its events. ádh mór

Nadisha Garg, Full Time MBA 2017-2018

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Global Virtual Teams

The GMAT is well known to all MBA students as the meter by which candidates can qualify for selection for most Business Schools. The numerical and verbal aspects are necessary content in what is essentially an exam testing Executive Reasoning, the ability to prioritise your time and make effective decisions under substantial time pressure. At the time I thought little of it but looking back the same principles have universally applied since the 28th of August. We are drawing towards the end of February and it feels like my feet have hardly touched the ground since Christmas. That small extra hour of brightness in the evening makes it that much easier, somewhere in the back of my mind I know that it’s not too long now until I’ll see my car during daylight hours!

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Dolly Parton once said, “If you want the rainbow you’ve gotta to put up with the rain” and it never seemed more apt than over the last few weeks with assignments due dates coming thick and fast and the small matter of our Global Virtual Teams (GVT) project.

Forecasting aspects such as re-order quantities, job wait times, customer contract values and most importantly revenues, myself, Karl McEntegart and our two counterparts from Yale SOM managed our own virtual production facility for the week.

What started out as a friendly, co-operative atmosphere in the MBA suite early on Monday morning turned quickly into levels of secrecy and espionage not seen since the Cold War. Incognito meetings and guarded secrets regarding customer orders levels and optimal machine utilisation rates were commonplace as we were pitted against our classmates in a winner takes all competition to see who would finish the week with the greatest cash balance.

The jostling for top position amongst the 160 teams was akin to the Grand National at times and the competitive streak of certain individuals came to the fore. Despite the much-publicised traffic laws in this country, one unnamed Full Time MBA Student was heard to complain that he couldn’t check inventory levels on his phone whilst driving in to college.

We worked well with our American counterparts, dividing the workload evenly and playing to our respective strengths as we set out our action plan for the week. Our new-found appreciation for operations management was put to a stern test throughout and regular Skype calls and WhatsApp messages at unsociable hours re-assured us that our Yale team mates were as invested in the process as we were.

We finished off on Friday evening in a respectable 51st position after working our way back from an early hiccup which set us back on the previous Sunday night. Pats on the back all around, except for one team from the Full Time class, who somehow managed to sell off their machines for scrap rather than purchasing additional units.

All in all, this was a unique and enjoyable experience, giving valuable insight into the challenges of working across time-zones and cultures towards a common goal. It’s interesting to note that during the same week I also negotiated the sale of a high quality smart phone platform, participated in an invaluable mock interview with a Manager from a large consultancy firm, underwent an interview skills workshop, a career coaching session and negotiated funding for the MBA Rugby World Cup which nine of our class will be attending in Danville, VA in April.

Between now and then we have the small matter of the ‘Doing Business in International Markets’ module which will take us to Santiago and Lima. Having already spent a week in NUS in Singapore for GNAM in October, the international focus of the course is obvious.  Looking back, it’s hard to believe that we have been together for six months at this stage- as I said, it feels like my feet have hardly touched the ground.

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Peter Condon, Full Time MBA 2017-2018