Nearing Half Time

ruary-martin-pic-1Having only had time to take a week off after finishing work any delusions I had of easing myself back into full time education were shattered within the first few minutes of MBA Foundation week with our first Performance Driven Marketing lecture. To be honest there has been little let up over the last two and half months.

We have had the same group for assignments for the first semester and had our final group presentation recently. The five of us led the rest of the class in a discussion around the difficulties of adaptive leadership within an organisation. Any fear I may have had of presenting has long since disappeared thanks to the sheer volume of presentations we have made. It’s difficult to overstate how our group (2 Indians, 1 Filipino and 2 Irish) have bonded over the last 12 weeks as we spent what seemed like weeks in the syndicate rooms completing seemingly never ending assignments. A brief move to the library ended when we realised there was no eating or drinking allowed. We have now returned to the MBA suite for assignment preparation where we can safely sample exotic pastries in the name of broadening our international experience.  Sadly, we’re still waiting on that Indian beer.


Although it sometimes feels like I have been at Smurfit for years it’s still hard to believe next week is the end of lectures for the first semester. This week we had our last lectures in both Performance Driven Marketing and Leadership & Organisational Behaviour and have our last Competitive Strategy case to prepare. The background reading for the case includes an interesting you tube video on “the Lego Story” which my 10-year-old son very much enjoyed, although he was less impressed with the standard of their board game offering. “It’s just Ludo Dad”. Perhaps I should have sought his insight on previous case studies !

One of the most attractive elements of the Smurfit MBA for me was the emphasis on personal development and as part of this we have been editing, re editing (and re editing again) our CV’s for the upcoming Class of 2018 MBA CV book. Enormous credit must go to Conor for the remarkable perseverance and patience he showed in pushing this over the line.

As I look back and reflect on the last few months it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience to date. The widely differing cultural and professional backgrounds within the full-time MBA class have certainly broadened all our outlooks on life. Now just the small matter of three exams to get out of the way before we enjoy the Christmas and get to briefly re charge the batteries before we enter the second semester.


Ruary Martin, Full-Time MBA 2017-2018

Theme: Preparation!


It’s an October day on campus at Smurfit Graduate Business School, and the MBA Class of 2017 have been at UCD for six weeks. The international students are getting to grips with the mercurial Irish weather and the Irish students are slowly coming to terms with Mayo’s disappointment in the All-Ireland. Summertime is officially over and it’s time to prepare for winter.

Preparation seems to be a theme this week!

First and foremost is preparation for the workplace. I’m a career changer: I studied medicine as an undergraduate, working as a junior doctor before coming to UCD. One of my priorities this year is explore my career options post-MBA.  Happily, Smurfit is making that task very easy.

At the start of term the Careers team circulated an MBA vacancy with a global brand, and I spent much of my Monday evening gearing up for a phone interview next week. There was plenty more to learn about potential employers on Tuesday, as a stellar lineup of firms sent representatives to Smurfit for the Audit & Consulting Recruitment Fair. With the graduate milk-rounds starting, we have a valuable opportunity to do some research ahead of the MBA hiring cycle.

Wednesday was entirely devoted to job-hunting skills with the fantastic Daniel Porot. We were in capable hands, learning from a speaker who works with 12 of the world’s top 20 MBA schools. I’ll have a chance to put M. Poirot’s advice into practice at the second recruitment fair of the week, which focuses on general business functions rather than professional services.

Planning a little more proximally, I’ve been finalising my travel plans for Global Network Week. Due to Smurfit’s membership of the Global Network for Advanced Management, full-time MBA students (and second-year EMBAs) get to spend a week in October participating in the GNAM Global Exchange. Many students opt for the programme hosted right here at UCD, others go to Yale, and a further cohort heads to IE in Madrid. Earlier this week, the destinations for our spring study tour were confirmed as Tokyo and Seoul; 32 of us came to Blackrock, but we’re getting to see the world!

Next Saturday, nine of us will fly out for an immersive exchange at Yale School of Management, studying Behavioral Economics, Marketing and Finance. We just received our schedules, which include a company visit day in New York. Some lucky scheduling means we’ll be able to catch up with UCD business alumni at the New York chapter’s annual benefit dinner, and find out exactly where our MBAs (and alumni connections) can take us.

Thirdly, as usual, I’m preparing for next week’s classes. My long-suffering boyfriend is resigned to the fact that my weekends will be primarily occupied with pre-reading and finance homework for the foreseeable future. Finally, though, I’m getting ready for a friend’s wedding reception on Friday afternoon, which should be a lovely occasion in Georgian Dublin – timely reassurance that normal life still continues during the MBA!

Laura Donaghy ~ Full-Time MBA