School’s out!


What a difference a year can make. The MBA is all but done. On Tuesday, our Capstone team will present its Social Media Consulting Project to Aer Lingus, and that will be that: The MBA journey, as we know it, will be over.

It’s been a fantastic experience. It’s not quite so fantastic when you’re up close and personal with the workload, but in those moments when you get to stand back and reflect upon it all, it’s pretty immense how much knowledge you can absorb in one single year, and how quickly things can change.

On Thursday, I’m heading off to Yale University, to do it all over again. Thanks to the ambition of Professor Damien McLoughlin and Dean Ciaran O’hOgartaigh, Smurfit is now part of the Global Network for Advanced Management and thanks to the support of Yale and Smurfit, I hope I’m just the first of many Smurfit MBA Graduates who’ll experience the adventure presented by the Masters in Advanced Management (MAM) Programme over there.

Without Programme Director of  Strategic Marketing, Ciaran Doyle, picking up the phone  to me last Summer, and steering me onto the MBA (“You’d be MAD not to do it!”), and without MBA  Director, Orla Nugent, and MBA Careers, Brian Marrinan, thereafter, taking a chance on me with the IMAGE Magazine Scholarship; and Dean Ciaran O’hOgartaigh and Professor Damien McLoughlin now rowing in behind my application to Yale, never mind the enduring support of my family and friends,  this adventure to the US would not be happening.

As Newton once said, “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”: I didn’t get here alone, I didn’t get through it alone, and I don’t go to the US alone. The support I’ve had sustains me and goes with me. Thank you to everyone who has made this adventure possible for me, in every way.

To anyone about to start the Smurfit MBA this year, enjoy it! You’re in for a great year ahead, full of challenge: The type that’s worth it. I recommend getting your hands on a copy of, “Snapshots from Hell: The Making of an MBA”, by Peter Robinson. Read it as fast as you can, before the course begins.  It’ll get you in the right frame of mind for the year ahead (you’ll be reading fast all year!), and if you like it, I reckon you’re going to enjoy what’s coming down the tracks at you.

For anyone juggling the MBA as a possible option; know that there’ll never be a day when you’re ‘sure’ that it’s the right thing to do. I don’t think any of us were. But you’ll never find out from the side lines. Jump in. And figure it out later. I doubt, very much, you’ll regret it.

To our Lecturers: Thanks for all that you taught us. I hope, one day, we will have our revenge for cold and warm calls, case study avalanches, and sleepless nights.

To my fellow MBA Classmates: Thanks for all I’ve learnt from you during this past year: It’s been immense. I doubt there’ll be pitch-and-putt, magnetic darts, or a ‘quote board’ in Yale’s equivalent of the MBA room! (And seeing how much I featured on the latter, I won’t be suggesting they invest in one, any time soon!) I wish you the best: I hope you’ll all collectively knock it out of the proverbial park in the future.

School’s out.

What a year.

– Davinia Anderson, Full-time MBA 2011-2012

Smurfit – great for socialising

And so we’ve all arrived back safe and sound from our international study trip. About thirty five members of the full-time class went to Brazil with the balance opting for China.

The trip turned out to be a fabulous experience. We learned a lot about the Brazilian economy and society. Of course, there was an onus on the travelling group to take a holistic approach to sampling Brazilian culture.  This sampling of the culture ranged from sipping caipirinhas on Ipanema to some of the group attending a local football game. These extra-curricular activities could be viewed as burning the candle at both ends but we would like to look on it as making the most of the trip.

The other group seemed to have just as interesting a time although based upon the photographs of their trip we seemed to get the better weather – hats and coats for them, shorts and flip-flops for us!! One of the more unexpected benefits of the trip has been the manner in which it allowed us to get to know each other even better. This is especially true for those of the people who were not part of the same study group up until now.

What I would like to understand is how the students of MBA programmes with classes of more than 250 manage to get to know each other. With that many in a class, it must be difficult to get to know everyone’s name!  Within Smurfit, the class is less than fifty so everyone knows each other a lot better. This makes for a great atmosphere and a more rounded experience.

-Donal O’Sullivan