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

The Clubhouse

The Professor Michael MacCormac Room, or more popularly known as the MBA suite, is considered by some, if not all MBA students as their second home inside the Smurfit School. Accessed by a secret code, the suite has been a constant hangout spot for the 2018 full-time MBA class for the past few months.

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However, if you expect a room full of students quietly drowning their minds in homework and books, you are sorely mistaken. In fact, if you want some quiet study time for yourself, this is the last place you would want to be. The MBA Suite is the common gathering area for study group meetings, club discussions and on rare occasions, 5-day pre-examination revision bootcamps.

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More importantly, the MBA suite is a place where you can unwind when the pressures of academic life and unknown future job prospects get you down. Stocked with full kitchen equipment, the suite is where everyone catches up over pre-packed lunches or a cup of coffee. No one stays silent for too long as people would constantly arrive and start a conversation.

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I’m grateful to have cohorts who are willing to share their thoughts and experiences and to have a place to hold these exchanges. Looking back at the past five months, I found that the best conversations I’ve had with my classmates happened here. It’s great to know that there’s a place where one can relax and have fun with people who are as stressed out as you are. If your colleagues are laughing in the MBA suite, it’s a good reason to kick back and not stress out too much over academics.

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Joanna Villanueva, Full Time MBA 2017-2018

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