All Set for the Second Innings

anupam-pic-1It has been five months into in the Smurfit MBA programme and the change couldn’t be any bigger. From the ‘tropical monsoon’ type climate in India to the cold, temperate oceanic climate in Ireland; from machines and client-first attitude in business to personal individual development, from learning to work in small core teams to open exchanges with a very diverse group in the MBA class, even from being in my first semester to the second. It has been a wow journey.

As someone who loves variety, I have been in awe of the intense fast-paced environment and have loved the engagement with intellectually curious and culturally diverse people. The learning has been endless and so has been the joy. I have not only worked hard but also thought hard. It has been a considerable part of investment and I feel transformed. I finished the first semester feeling content but the thirst has deepened to experience what the second innings has in store for me. It’s a new day, new group, new semester, new challenge in the New Year. I’m looking forward to the fun and constructive group time with Bhavya, Elizabeth, Lucy and Thom though I will thoroughly miss my earlier teammates. Each of them brought a wonderful personality to the team. Joanna was our organizer and our beloved social butterfly. She taught me to be focused (an instance: one should see her type). Ruary was the motivating factor of the team, often extracting a “eureka” insight that wowed us all. I adored him and his quality to keep calm and work tirelessly taking the team along. Manish, being super energetic, taught me to live life king size and work silently while I learnt versatility from Bob. He was the seasoned, witty manager, who calmly worked in alignment to the team.

I’m now on my second semester with another set of people waiting to learn and give back in equal measures. The semester started with a class on Financial Statement Analysis by Professor Eamonn Walsh. In a span of a mere two hours, I knew I was in for a great experience. Surprised by Prof. Walsh’s knowledge about anything and everything under the sun, I am sure this subject will leave a lasting  impression on us all. A whole day class in Operation and Supply Chain Management by Mr. George Onofrei followed this. Attending his lecture and listening to the real life experiences of George, made me grasp and understand the fundamentals of supply chain management smoothly. With a follow-up lecture by Mr. Eamonn Ambrose regarding Global Virtual Teams (GVT) Littlefield Operations Simulation, designed to enable us to apply operation and supply chain theories in a real world setting was enticing. GVT is one of the primary focuses of this semester and the opportunity to work as a team with Yale students makes the experience even more worthwhile.

The optional module is another fascinating element of this semester. It was a hard decision to make but my gut feeling drove me towards my keen interests and I chose ‘Entrepreneurship and Managing the Negotiation Processes’ as my optional module. Taught by Prof. Raomal Pereira, the entrepreneurship class was one of the most fun and fundamentally driven classes. In the first class, we ended up formulating and finalizing three business ideas on which we plan to work for this entire semester. We are all hopeful to be able to convert the idea into reality.

Negotiation module taught by Mr. Stephen Boyle is another subject that has been one of the most popular subjects amongst our batch. We were advised by our alumni not to miss this class particularly and they couldn’t have been more right. After a lecture and an intense negotiation role-play interestingly Thom, Emrecan and I were able to sell a factory at the highest rate.

The Entrepreneur Club has helped sharpen my leadership skills and enabled me to explore and pursue new interests and old passions by becoming a member. It has been as great experience promoting new ideas and working with a group of people with different backgrounds that share the same passion.

With a satisfying result, great group mates and amazing professors this semester has already taken its flight. The trip to Peru and Chile for some and Singapore and Vietnam for others is the next big thing all of us are looking forward to.These five months flew past wherein I learnt a lot, taught somebody something (I believe), gained some things while I lost many. But it has been an exhilarating adventure. Life as I knew it had changed; and I ain’t just talking about pin addresses and food habits. Sure, living by the ocean is amazing. But I have to cycle many kilometres in the cold, prepare food, fix clogged toilets, and so much more. I have learnt so many things beyond the classroom too and I must say it has been nice. I now know what it takes for every chore to be done. Little by little, I think I have become a local. For me it started with learning the local language and has now gone way beyond understanding conversations. Eventually, I got to know when to go to the market for the best deals, find a coffee shop/pub where I know what I want before I even order. Even though I will probably never become as local as someone who grew up in Dublin, I have caught myself “doing as the locals do” and trust me being part of a new culture is a pretty awesome feeling.

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Anupam Tiwari, Full-Time MBA 2017-2018

One Down, Two to Go

The Christmas break was a great opportunity to unwind and spend some much needed free time with friends and family. The additional time off in January was also a great opportunity to plan and prepare for semester two and try to take stock of everything we had learned and experienced during the first four months. Reflecting back on semester one it was hard to believe how quick it had passed, it seemed like only yesterday we all met for the intense but rewarding induction week, and somehow in the interim we had now completed eight different modules for the course.

Before undertaking the MBA I was a bit apprehensive about the gruelling work load that is generally associated with the degree but quickly found that the secret is simply to stay on top of everything and hit the ground running from the beginning. This approach not only minimises stress and time pressure for the various assignments but also allows you to get the most out of each and every class.

Looking towards the semester ahead we once again have a busy schedule. I’m particularly looking forward to visiting Singapore and Vietnam in March as part of the ‘Doing Business in International Markets’ module and staying on an extra week in Vietnam with the class to relax by the beach and travel around the famous Ha Long bay by boat. The fact that it is supposed to be 25+ degrees there this time of your year is an added bonus!

Semester two brings with it six new modules and also provides the opportunity to work with and get to know a whole new study group, which is something I’m really looking forward to. Before we know it, we’ll be three semesters down and moving on to the next stages of our careers but so far it has been a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience meeting lots of new people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

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Cathal Conroy, Full-Time MBA 2017-2108

Spending the Christmas Holidays in Ireland

Spending Christmas away from home could come across as a challenge. While normally, the rigor and busy schedule of the MBA hardly gives you time to miss home , as an international  student  the start of the holidays can come across the same as the existential crisis you get when you finish binge watching a Netflix series.

Most of the students look forward to the Christmas holidays as they finish exams by the 3rd week of December. For an international student, it would certainly be advisable to have plans ready,  either to visit your home country or anywhere else around Europe. Ireland literally shuts down during Christmas with no public transportation or grocery stores open on Christmas day. And if you have no family or friends, its going to get monotonous.

Fortunately for me, my MBA peer John Keegan asked me to join him and his family for Christmas. However, due to unforeseen circumstances we had to drop the plan at the last minute. I mentioned this part as it shows how considerate your Irish MBA peers can be, and that they understand how tough it is for an international student to spend holidays alone. I didn’t make any plans to visit home or anywhere else as both my flatmates from India started working in Dublin in November 2017. Hence, I had plans of spending the holidays with them exploring Dublin. On Christmas day, my friends and I went for a walk around the city centre. It was both a haunting and a serene experience. The streets which are usually bustling with people were empty. It is in this moment that you take a deep breath and realise how beautiful Dublin is. Fortunately, we stumbled upon an Indian Kebab shop, which seemed like the only shop open in all of Dublin. After having the most amazing kebab for Christmas dinner there, we headed home on the lonely streets of the Dublin city centre.

As for New Year’s Eve, my American house mate Shannon Dean suggested that we drive down to Cork to celebrate. Again, it was a fabulous experience wherein we sat in a cosy Cork pub celebrating the new year with some new found Irish friends. This is the best thing about Ireland, you can talk to anyone and everyone, and make acquaintances if not friends very easily.

All in all, it was a successful Christmas even though I didn’t plan anything in advance. I would however recommend international students to make plans early on for Christmas and not to wait till the last minute. In addition to this, make friends – in your accommodation and your cohort – they are going to be your family away from home!

Bhavya Verma, Full – Time MBA 2017-2018

John Molson International Case Competition: The Moment of Truth!

molson-pic1Months of intense preparation and coaching, facilitated by UCD Smurfit, had prepared us for this moment. As we took our places on stage in front of 200 plus people, we were totally in sync, a true team. We knew we could win if we made this the best show of our weeklong adventure at the John Molson MBA International Case Competition, the world’s largest business case competition for MBAs. And so, after a slow and measured breath, we assumed our temporary roles as Smurfit Consulting and dared the audience to buy into our unconventional pitch.

Exactly 3 hours and 10 minutes earlier, we had been given an unpublished case and locked in a room with no internet access, robbed of our phones, smartwatches and anything to connect us to the outside world. The challenge: How was Wal-Mart’s e-retail business to survive in the face of the ever powerful Amazon? Just as we had practiced, we methodically analysed Wal-Mart’s core competencies and opportunities, with each of the four team members developing a particular part of the analysis, solution or proposed implementation strategy. The 20 minutes of allotted time for group debate were, as always, the most intense. But with everything riding on our solution to this case, today was a flurry of ideas in which we debated the future of retail, the internet and even basic human needs for interaction. Finally, we settled on a plan and with 2 hours of furious scribbling, calculating and putting together a power point, we were ready.

2 minutes in to the presentation, we witnessed an abundance of raised eyebrows and sideways glances in the audience asking “how could they be proposing that?” As time progressed, quizzical looks changed to heads nodding in agreement, even a few smiles. At the end of our 25 minute presentation and 15 minutes of grilling from the judges, we exited the stage to resounding applause knowing that we had sold our plan. If this wasn’t going to win the competition, well, it just wasn’t meant to be.

The moment of truth: despite our knowledge that we had given it our all, we had watched a number of the other 35 teams present during the week and knew that the competition was formidable. They were, after all, some of the brightest and most engaging students from many of the world’s top business schools. By the time Smurfit was announced as the winner of the 37th annual competition at the formal dinner on Saturday evening, we had lost track for the first time that week of the slow count of breathing in and out, instead holding our breaths in anticipation. Collecting the Concordia cup on stage, it finally sunk in that all the Sundays we spent pouring over cases and being drilled on presentation skills had paid off. Indeed, we will certainly remember that moment every time in the future when we take a deep breath and pitch a crazy, innovative idea in a boardroom whose occupants aren’t quite prepared for what they are about to hear.

How did UCD Smurfit’s team solve the Wal-Mart case? Find the video recording here (third finalist presenters): https://mbacasecomp.com/media/videos-2/.

Maria Barry, Paul Donnelly, Andrew Gebelin, Ruth Lalor, and Gearóid O’Briain travelled together with coach Professor Patrick Gibbons to compete in the 2018 John Molson International Case Competition in Montreal, Canada. Professor Gibbons and Paul Slattery deserve many thanks for coaching the team

 

Andrew Gebelin, EMBA 2016-2018  and Ruth Lalor, EMBA 2016-2018

Huge Success for the EMBA team representing Smurfit at the 2018 John Molson MBA International Case Competition at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada

Congratulations to our EMBA team of Andrew Gebelin, Ruth Lalor, Gearoid O’ Briain, Maria Barry and Paul Donnelly and their Coach Prof. Pat Gibbons who performed exceptionally well to claim victory with stiff competition from 36 international business schools from over 18 countries to be crowned 2018 Champions!

The many hours of hard work and preparation of the team as well as their drive and ambition was evident throughout and demonstrated the quality of our MBA cohort. Congratulations and a huge thank you to their team Coach Prof. Pat Gibbons who spent a huge amount of his own time preparing and training this team and who has travelled with previous Smurfit teams, offering his insight, expertise and vast academic knowledge, to Concordia over the last number of years. Paul Slattery our renowned MBA Presentation Skills expert was hugely influential and invested time and offered much support to the team. Thanks also to all the academic staff, the MBA team (notably Zoe O’ Connor) and previous EMBA Molson teams who have all played an important role in this victory for our MBA Programme, the Smurfit School, UCD and Ireland.

The John Molson MBA International Case Competition is open to top business schools worldwide, and is recognized as the largest case competition of its kind. Taking place over five days this is a tough and intensive competition which requires hard work, stamina and excellent preparation. The competition format is a round-robin tournament consisting of seven unpublished business cases, the highlight of the week is a live case presentation by a major company facing a real-life business challenge. With up to three hours of preparation time, teams of students must analyse and evaluate unpublished business cases using the skills, knowledge and experience they have acquired from their respective MBA curriculum. The students must then present their detailed plan of action to a panel of judges. More than 300 business executives serve as judges, using their unique backgrounds, experiences and perspectives to critically assess the participants’ presentations. Teams are evaluated on creativity, insight, substance and plausibility of implementation.

Roisin Downing

MBA Leadership Development Manager

Revisiting great GNAM memories in Yale

What is the best time for writing a reflection after a new experience? For some people, it would probably be right after the experience when the memories are still fresh and vivid. For me, it’s before the exams.

Our brain is amazing. When we’re not having fun, it either makes us want to go to sleep or reminds us of the good times. Being in the middle of the hectic revision period myself, I find it a perfect occasion to reflect on one of my best experience in Semester 1 as a Smurfit MBA student – the Global Network Week (GNW) at Yale.

  1. The morning walk on Yale campus:

When you’re too lazy for the gym but enthusiastic enough to take some amazing photos, I would recommend booking accommodation at a location not too close to Yale SOM as you can enjoy a long morning walk while contemplating some of the best American architecture of the last hundred years. Though we also had the campus tour on the GNW schedule, in which we were introduced to the history of famous spots such as the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Silliman College, Sterling Memorial Library and the Old Campus. It was an exotic feeling to be immersed in the tranquillity and ancient feeling all by myself in the middle of picturesque Georgian and Gothic buildings.

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  1. Cramming for Financial Reporting at Book Trader:

Coming to the GNAM with me, besides my 5 other MBA cohorts from Smurfit,  was a friend called ‘Financial Reporting’ with an exam coming the following week. I struggled to find a quiet place to cram for my Financial Reporting until I found Book Trader – one of Yale students’ most favourite spots in New Haven. Not only offering great coffee and cheap books, the place is ideal for those who prefer a quiet space to study, but not so isolated  that you can fall asleep.

  1. The lectures:

If someone asked me about what opened my eyes during one week at Yale I could go on forever: the lecturers, the class debates, the panel discussions, etc. Neuroscience and behavioural psychology were my areas of interest and they were the main reason why I signed up for GNW at Yale.  However it was not until I attended the classes that I realized the enormous possibilities to influence people and businesses with findings about the human brain. From Framing Effects, Context Effects and Choice Architecture lectures, we learned that consumer judgements and choices greatly depend on the context, and marketers could use this knowledge to nudge consumer’s decisions by structuring defaults, feedbacks, incentives and product design. In the Negotiation Mindsets lecture we learned the research-based steps and tactics to “carve out a larger slice of the pie”. And last but not least, from a panel discussion with the directors of lpsos and PepsiCo, we learned how behavioural science has become such an important resource for business decision making, especially in communications, product assortment, packaging design and in-store display.

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  1. New Haven’s “apizza”: 

Home to a number of Italian families in the twentieth century, New Haven offers some of the best pizza in the United States. Thin-crusted, charred and crispy, the pizzas brought by Yale SOM’s GNAM organizing team was a real feast!

  1. Getting connected with friends from around the world:

If the karaoke night, drinking nights and on-campus reception created opportunities for us to relax and reach out to one another and form new friendships, the lunches and dinners enabled us to have passionate conversations about things such as other’s interests, goals and experiences. In one meal I was fascinated to become a “trial customer” of a Berkeley fellow’s latest business venture, exchanged ideas about how learning from GNAM shed new light on our understanding of the business. In another, we were carried away with discussions about hiking trips in Machu Picchu with friends from Chile, Austria, Hong Kong and Spain.

To my amazement, GNAM is definitely not only about lectures and networking. It is also about exploring the world from different perspectives, exploring yourself, and feeling connected to different parts of the world.

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Huyen Tran, Full Time MBA 2017-2018

A Practice Run – Global Virtual Teams (GVT)

One of the main attractions of an MBA is leadership development. Within the first semester of the Smurfit MBA, we were presented with two challenges to develop our leadership skills. The first was an introduction to the Leadership Development Programme which is a yearlong, standalone program that develops student’s self-awareness, team skills and organisational leadership. The second challenge was the Leadership & Organisational Behaviour module which addressed the complexity of organisational structure.

In semester two, we will be challenged with a project where we work with students from around the world in a global virtual team (GVT). This project is part of the involvement with GNAM (Global Network for Advanced Management) and will partner with students from EGADE (Mexico), HEC(Paris) and Yale(US). The project will involve a simulation of a production line where cooperation and engagement from all team members is critical. This follows on from the learning in the Leadership & Organisational Behaviour module which included a trial GVT project.

The trial GVT project was designed to practice working in the unfamiliar situation of having remote team members who you had not interacted with before. The task was to analyse organisational issues within a case study, review related literature and provide a plan of action for the organisation. The submission format was not your typical MBA report or presentation, instead we had to create a video to provide our recommendations. One last curveball was that we were told not to meet in person.

The case study involved a character – Greg James, who had trouble managing his global team of 45 employees in the company Sun Microsystems. A sub optimal team performance had caused a recent problem for a customer and the organisation was starting to suffer. We identified GVT issues within Greg’s team as problems in communication, feelings of separation, feelings of unequal working conditions and lack of team spirit and camaraderie. I will omit our suggested solutions!

My trial GVT team included two full time MBA members, two mid-week EMBAs and one weekend EMBA. Some of our challenges included communication channels, finding meeting times to suit everyone, changing schedules, fluctuating engagement of team members, rapidly approaching deadlines and completely different personalities. We experimented with different IT solutions to facilitate remote meeting and work flow management. After many headaches, we settled on Google hangouts and Google Drive which gave us the most hassle-free work environments. We managed to scramble together an unpolished video and submit within the timeline . . . not our finest work but the learning is far more important.

Working in a global virtual team is never going to be straightforward, there are no perfect solutions and there will always be hurdles to overcome. I am looking forward to working with the GVT project next semester, the added variables of schools, locations, time zones and cultures will bring our skills to the next level. With the range of theory, challenges and experiences covered during the Smurfit MBA, we should be well positioned to excel in the increasingly global environment.

 

Eoin Carroll, Full Time MBA 2017-2018

The Entrepreneurship Society- Preparation of a Video Interview

zarina-pic-1As a full-time MBA student, I expect to be in the ‘hot’ seat. Yet somehow on November 7, 2017 the tables turned and I found myself interviewing one of the top executives in Ireland. Thomas Strimbu and I produced a video-interview for the Michael Smurfit MBA Entrepreneurship Society which will be released along with this blog post. I’d like to take you behind the scenes and share my experience of preparing for and taking an interview.

It all started on one evening in late September when we – members of a newly formed Entrepreneurship Society – put our heads together to brainstorm events for the year ahead. After 30 minutes of talk and laughter, a group of us, including Spilios, Thomas, David, Ayush, and I agreed to go with the idea of ‘video interviews’. I instantly liked the idea and volunteered to be the first one to take it live. 

At that time I had only been in Ireland for less than a month and did not have a big list of contacts. I did not have any lists at all! I had only met two people outside of the campus and both of them were very kind and generous to me. Kindness and generosity, as I discovered later in my MBA program, are the common traits shared by leaders in general and entrepreneurs in particular. Being conscious of the fact that the audience for our project primarily consists of UCD students, I decided to approach a UCD Alumnus.

Eager to inspire and learn more about entrepreneurship, I prepared a list of 15 questions on various topics from artificial intelligence and blockchain to competition and business models. Later on in the process, I reduced the complexity by introducing a structure using 5 simple topics; the guest, the company, the industry, the standard question (i.e. what is entrepreneurship?), and closing questions / remarks.

Meanwhile, I approached our guest by email asking for 60 minutes of his time for a small Q&A for the Society. To my luck, he kindly agreed. We exchanged a few more emails to set the date and time. A month later, the Entrepreneurship crew ‘landed’ in one of the landmarks of Dublin within a few steps away from River Liffey and nearby tourist attractions, such as Temple Bar.

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We took a few pictures outside of the building and a few inside. We were given a spacious conference room for the interview with a ‘floor’ and a ‘balcony’. The former is a custodian of the past; pictures, artefacts, and even an old quotation board. The latter is a key to the future; the stage, the staircase, and the opening bell. Remember Zuckerberg ringing the opening bell at NASDAQ? I believe almost every entrepreneur who dreams big uses an opening bell moment to visualise the success. 

Now we know where it crosses the finish line or at least where it passes the break-even point. But where do you start? How do you find that inspiration? What do you read? What do you watch out for? To these and many other questions we have got the answers in the upcoming video. So, stay tuned.   

To watch the video interview click here

Zarina Konkasheva, Full-Time MBA 2017-2018

Thought Leadership Club

On 23rd November, towards the end of our first semester, the Thought Leadership club organized its first event. We couldn’t have expected a better student organized event to start with. The club was really keen to organize the first event in the first semester itself. At the same time, with all the case studies, exams and assignments it was a really huge task.  Firstly to reach out to prospective speakers and then to organize the event and get others to attend the event. However, James Kelly (Full-time MBA) from our club actively reached out to Stephen Somers, co-founder of Marketplace SuperHeroes, an information product that teaches you how to start an international eCommerce business selling on Amazon, to share his experience as an entrepreneur with us. There was a lot of excitement in the full time MBA class, especially in the Thought Leadership Club, to organize and attend the event.
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Stephen Somers is a 30-year-old serial entrepreneur, who has developed multiple businesses in different industries. Before becoming an entrepreneur, he worked as a data processor with a government agency by day and a musician by night. However, having studied Business in college he also had an urge to start a business of his own. Therefore, when he was introduced by his aunt to Robert Rickey who owned an e-commerce business, he found a way to achieve his dream of starting a business.

With the philosophy of “The best way to start a business is to be in business” he worked in Robert’s warehouse for 9 months without pay so that he could learn and understand the nuances of an e-commerce business. This conviction, which I guess is one of the traits of a thought leader, helped him to take risks and believe in himself. Working in the warehouse he identified inefficiencies in the existing system and observed that there was a lack of well-defined process. He also observed that the products such as TV mounts that were sold by the business had a saturated market therefore a minimal growth prospect. Consequently, he removed inefficiencies, defined appropriate processes and looked for products with unsaturated demands. After working on all these improvements he decided to start online sales on e-commerce websites. Once the online sales business started doing well, he realized that a lot of other people were trying to do the same however without proper guidance they would inevitable either fail or give up. Furthermore, he noticed that numerous “How to make money online” courses in the market were scams. This motivated him to become a THOUGHT LEADER and share his knowledge of how to start a successful online sales business with other people through Marketplace Superheroes.

With Marketplace Superheroes, they teach people how to build a 5-7 figure global online selling business through eCommerce websites by selling simple, low-competition, high profit physical products without “risking it all”. Listening to Stephen, I found a practical implementation of a lot of theoretical concepts of marketing that I had learned in the class. He used direct marketing, through Facebook, for customer acquisition. Coincidentally two days prior, in our marketing class we discussed the importance of marketing channels in any business. He let us in on his secret to successfully selling on an ecommerce website which is “don’t create demand, instead fulfil the existing demand”.  Having had a business degree and having read loads of books about business he introduced us to some business concepts such as customer conversion and value proposition.

He told us how important it is to differentiate your products in an online selling business. He started selling products with a very unorthodox method i.e. by reaching out to people and selling products that did not exist. He reasoned that most businesses first put in 6 months to develop a product and then find out that there is no demand for that product, whereas he tries to identify demand and then address that demand through his products. He also stressed the importance of focusing on a limited number of products instead of too many products to keep the business simple and efficient.

Stephen Somers has demonstrated that being a thought leader in your business differentiates you from your competitors. While others in the business were just selling basic information on how to start an online business selling on e-commerce websites. Marketplace Superheroes was sharing information how to be successful at selling online on e-commerce websites, by proper market research and inventory management. Stephen Somers spoke about his journey and his business for about 50 minutes, however he took us through a very descriptive narration about how he came into business, how he struggled,  and then how he made it successful, and currently how he is utilizing his success and knowledge to help others become successful through his startup Marketplace SuperHeroes.

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At the end of the event, I realized how much these 3 months in the MBA have changed my perspective: I have developed a new way of looking at businesses. In the past 3 months I have been through numerous case studies, which have changed the way I absorb information about businesses and organizations. This change has been so significant that all through the presentation I was just relating information from Stephan Somers, about his businesses, to the concepts I had previously learned in class. Therefore, I am looking forward to finding out how the rest of the course will guide my thinking. Thank You!

Devinder Sharma, Full-Time MBA 2017-2018

IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2017


sauyith-cueva-pic-3From the entrance of the Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge in Dublin the grandeur of the venue is noticeable as soon as you set foot in the lobby. To mark the occasion of the 2017 IMAGE Businesswoman of the year awards the Clayton Ballsbridge was garnished with rich pink and purple imagery and decorations. Inside the ballroom the tables were detailed extremely tastefully with gifts for everyone in attendance. What a fitting location for such a special, meaningful and glamorous event I thought to myself as I made my way through the reception and into the bar to meet some of the inspirational women attending, some of whom were also up for nomination.

The IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards recognises all the women who have worked with passion, commitment and perseverance throughout their careers. Some of these women have come from abroad, inherited their family business, created a new company, found solutions to improve our society or developed remarkable innovations. Being able to listen to their stories on the night was truly inspiring and an evening I will never forget. It is not often that you get to sit in a room full of the most powerful businesswomen in Ireland, women so gracious, authentic and kind and also to see the human side of these outstanding women before, during and after the awards.

The key insight that really resonated with me from the incredible award winners are that you should never give up, you should keep working hard, face failure and stand back up, if you do that no one can stop you on the path to success. Be a leader, don’t be afraid to stand up. Be humble because nothing in life can be accomplished alone. Be balanced, there is no reason why you cannot be successful and have a family. “Follow your intuition”, said one of them, “you must trust yourself for others to trust you”.

This event is proof that everyone can achieve great things once the mind and body are focused on an objective. We are all different and the main lesson is that we should play to our strengths. The skills required to win each individual award were all different, the women in the room encompassing a wide spectrum of talents and socio-economic backgrounds. The amazing women have understood their strengths, capabilities and used them to great effect.

This year’s IMAGE Businesswoman of The Year Awards has been completely delightful, it was fantastic to spend it with everyone who attended from UCD, everyone at the table was extremely proud to see Orla Nugent present on the night. I will definitely be back again as I set out to not only make my mark on the MBA at Smurfit but also the Irish business world upon graduation.

I hope that new generations find inspiration from the experiences and the courage of the business women of today and that the coming years will be filled with the accomplishments of the women of tomorrow.

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Sauyith Cueva, Full Time MBA 2017-2018