I have earned my MBA one month after the start of the first semester. No really, I have… In my mind at least!
The “masterclass” delivered by Rosheen McGuckian, CEO of NTR, was all eight modules rolled into one. (Ok, an MBA requires you to do more than 8 modules, but what do I know, this is only my first semester!) She was all eight modules compacted into a single glass, drank up in one gulp that delivered an immediate kick to the centre of my brain. It was corporate governance, strategy, financial reporting, business ethics and more wrapped up in one honest, authentic, thought-provoking one-hour session.
In those 60 minutes, a good number of case studies and countless class hours came together in my mind like numerous puzzle pieces joining into one big picture as she recounted her business management journey. How what started as a seemingly great strategy, gave way to a very difficult ride. Then dealing with the opposition that arose from that. The passage to adaptation, the investment in change, making hard decisions, the place for personal reflection and ultimately, turnaround and business success. I was surprised, incensed, inspired, provoked, appeased, disappointed, hopeful, fearful and educated. She muddied my mind and then offered clarity and wisdom in such a simple, practical and real way. She was nothing short of everything and anything that the real business world is.
I took this MBA course because I am looking to enter the competitive business world and Rosheen McGuckian was my MBA experience personified. So indeed, after meeting her, I do feel like I earned my MBA. In the very least, a good part of it! I simply cannot wait to see which speaker I get to engage with next.
After a busy final semester, full of long days invested in the MBA Capstone project, the MBA Golf Society Classic had arrived. Once again the stunning K Club in County Kildare – home of the 2006 Ryder Cup – played host to the annual event. This year’s chosen charities were the UCD Ad Astra Academy and CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young).
Teams arrived to the clubhouse early to prep their gear, take in the scenes and get some vital practice on the range. Attire was varied – just like the golfing abilities! From the man-in-black Cadwell to Mr “Del Monte” Hope donning police sunglasses and a quintessential panama hat. Regardless, rumour had got around that this year’s prizes were worth leaving it all on the course, and focus was on the golf and not the outfits. Competition was on!
Father and son duo Padraig and Cameron Kenny were up first. Broad-shouldered Kenny Jr, an integral part of the Smurfit MBA Rugby World Cup Team back in April, was pipped as the favorite to win the Business Performance Perspectives Longest Drive on Hole 7. He wasted no time smashing his first up Fairway 1 against a strong wind.
Next up, the team led by Chairman of the MBA Rugby Team, Cathal Murphy, with fellow Full Time MBAs Conor Hurley and Traolach “Tray” O’Connor. Also joining them was Chris Cadwell a welcome guest best known for strength training the Smurfit MBA Rugby Team at The Edge in Clontarf. A solid all-round team that knew they had a strong chance of taking home the prizes.
Finally, a mixed team of Full Time MBA students Ciaran Hope and Colin Dunne, Part Time MBA Ciarán O’Shea and MBA alum Mark Good. Paddy Power wasn’t sure what odds to give this group after their wild range practice. There was plenty of experience in the team though with O’Shea a well seasoned MBA Golf Society member and Hope an Irishman with a distinguished Los Angeles golfing career. Hope apparently took up golf so he could rub shoulders with LA’s rich and famous – unfortunately his stories of LA golf will have to be left on the K Club’s fairways. Mark Good, no stranger to an MBA Golf society outing, was striking his irons well on the range and looked like a contender for the NxtGEN Executive Training Closest to the Pin on Hole 17. Dunne started strong in this group leading the round with a par. However, it looked like his team-mates had left all the steam on the range and couldn’t match his three stable-ford points.
The wind persisted throughout the front 9 with Good convinced every hole was against it. This may, however, have been something to do with the zig zag route he took up a few fairways. The wind didn’t stop the sun shining with O’Shea making sure he was topped up with sunscreen while explaining that the Swallow Quarry rock and water feature on the 7th hole had been artificially constructed at a substantial cost. The Civil Engineers among us found it hard to believe but agreed that anything is possible with enough capital.
As suspected, Cameron Kenny hit big off the 7th to land himself the prize for the Business Performance Perspectives Longest Drive. Sharp shooter Mark Good heard that the prize for the NxtGEN Executive Training Closest to the Pin was 12 golf balls and so decided that he was going to take this on to replenish his stock, having lost a few to his wild drives. Sure enough, with a smooth 7 iron, he was the only player to hit the green and landed the ball just 17 feet from the pin to take home the prize.
Following the discussions about the rock features, there were a few attempts to check whether the water features were real; confirmed by the splashes, with the Swallow Quarry swallowing up many a golf ball. Murphy laid up on the 18th fairway to chip over the water onto the green. His chip on was perfectly in line with the pin and the palatial clubhouse in the backdrop. Unfortunately Murphy had under-clubbed marginally and the splash short of the green crushed his hopes for par. The 18th was good to the other teams though. Kenny Jr managed to hit a 240-yard shot over land and water with a strong cross to find the green and set him up for par. O’Shea chipped from off the green with precision aim and weight in front of a captive audience on the clubhouse veranda to see it roll slowly in from distance for par.
With not much between the scores the winning team of Murphy, O’Conor, Hurley and Cadwell took away the main prizes. Dunne, Good, Hope and O’Shea weren’t disappointed to take 2nd place after such an enjoyable round, while Team Kenny was still in shock after Kenny Jr’s 240-yard diamond.
The Winning Team (L-R Chris Cadwell, Conor Hurley, Traolach O’Conor and Cathal Murphy)
An extremely enjoyable round of golf in a beautiful setting with some great company. Soon we’ll be handing over the reigns of MBA Golf Society to next year’s MBA Class and I’m already looking forward to playing a few of their outings.
Colin Dunne, Full Time MBA & Golf Society Captain 2016-2017
Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all.
Superhuman effort isn’t worth a damn unless it achieves results.
Sir Ernest Shackleton
Just ahead of our recent exams and final assignments, we set out for a day’s leisure in the peaceful and historic surrounds of Luttrellstown Castle. While the golf was at best mediocre, we were fortunate to get some fine weather for the day and had the opportunity to catch up with classmates at the “19th hole” to reflect on our endeavours over the course of the MBA programme.
Many esteemed graduates note that doing an MBA is like “going on a journey” and the mediocre standard of golf on the day ensured that we got to see more of the tracks and trails that Luttrellstown has to offer than most regular golfers. In conjunction with the challenges posed by the variety of elements of our MBA programme, the championship course we played also provided many obstacles with a lot of water features to be overcome among other challenging features.
The MBA Golf Society will hold its main event of the year in the splendorous surrounds of the K Club on Saturday, July 1st. The day will be held in aid of the UCD Ad Astra Scholarships/UCD Foundation and Cardiac Risk in the Young. Details of how to enter are on Eventbrite at:
One could argue that the main draw each Wednesday evening was the fine canapes and wine; but with over 1400 man hours of discussions and learning about entrepreneurship that were enabled this semester, the bait wasn’t really needed but was much appreciated.
The opportunity to get a first-hand interpretation of experiences from industry stalwarts, serial entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, business gurus and a class of peers with a common hunger to solve a problem, any problem, has been truly beneficial.
The UCD Entrepreneurship Series, brought to fruition by The UCD College of Business and The Smurfit MBA Entrepreneurship Club, has been a successful collaboration under the stewardship of the Entrepreneur in Residence Majella Murphy and the MBA students. The legacy of which we hope continues into the future.
This year we saw the journey of UCD alumni, as they tackled the highs and lows of setting up their own establishments and heard their account of navigating the often-misunderstood entrepreneurial landscape. From idea generation, problem resolution to monetization, the forum has not only dealt with the necessary guidelines and tools but also efficaciously highlighted the bravado of the human spirit.
Two of the events gained substantial fame, the first was the visit of Patrick McGuinness and the latter comprised of a panel of Venture capitalists. Not surprisingly though, since two of the greatest fears before pursuing down this route seem to be the risk and raising finance. Patrick, the man behind the phrase FOMO or Fear of Missing Out, spoke of transitioning into entrepreneurship through a 10% approach (time, energy and funds) while the Venture Capital event dismissed several urban legends that we all perceived existed in the game.
Some of us came into the MBA with entrepreneurship experience and others came in with entrepreneurial ambitions, but rest assured most of us now have the aspiration to pursue our own path someday soon.
Schedule of events
From UCD Smurfit to Startup CEO
Journeys from UCD Smurfit to Startup CEOs.
Lukas Decker (Coindrum)
Ronan Byrne (Clearsight Innovations)
Stephen Quinn (Jobbio)
Their personal journey, the hows and whys, the choices and sacrifices, the highs and lows.
Inside the Incubator @ GEC
Insight into the Guinness Enterprise Centre, their offerings, introduction to current start-ups residing there and the opportunities to get involved.
Social Enterprise Scaling – CoderDojo
Bill Liao, CoderDojo’s first angel investor, as he recounts the story of the rapid global growth of their movement.
Unspoken Lessons from Failure
“It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure”.
The 10% Entrepreneur
Choosing between the stability of a traditional career and the freedom of entrepreneurship?
Inspiring Creativity & Innovation @ Google
How does Google manage to generate, create, innovate and launch new products and services in an endless flow?
The Best Source of Funding Depends on…
“The best source of funding depends on where the company is at in their journey, what their needs are and the terms on the table for any particular deal.”
Hear three of Ireland’s leading and most respected Venture Capitalists and Advisors:
Joined by two entrepreneurs:
Neal O’Gorman (Artomatix)
Myles Murray (PMD Solutions)
Innovation – Accenture-style
With the launch of their Centre for Innovation, “The Dock”, hot off the press, what is Accenture’s strategy and structure around Innovation and what role does The Dock play in that?
Join Eva Maguire, designer of the internal innovation ecosystem at The Dock, to find out how they plan to make it work!
Social Entrepreneurship: A Serious Consideration
Have you ever considered that a social enterprise may not be much different from a commercial one?
Emma Walshe (COO Foodcloud)
Kate Dobbyn (MD Seachange Foundation)
Sinead McCool (Enactus Ireland)
Gain insight into what pursuing a social enterprise entails.
Real examples of what it takes to be successful, the challenges, the supports available and how sustainability can be achieved.
BREXIT: Opportunity or Threat for Irish Entrepreneurs?
“Turning the challenge of Brexit into an opportunity: How are entrepreneurs and their representative bodies preparing for Brexit?”
A stellar panel of entrepreneurs and senior representatives from government bodies for an insightful discussion on the impact Brexit, how and what contingencies have been developed, and what the government and the entrepreneurial representative and support bodies are doing to assist with the impact it will have on the entrepreneurial community in Ireland
Donal Hayes, Director, Tipperary Cheese
Paul Byrne, CEO, Currency Fair
Eamonn Molloy, Assistant Secretary, Britain & NI Affairs Section, Department of the Taoiseach
John McGrane, Director General, British Irish Chamber of Commerce
Leo McAdams, Divisional Manager, Financial Services & BPO, Enterprise Ireland
To find out more about the Smurfit MBA and various MBA Clubs, click here.
How many people get the opportunity to play in a World Cup? Not many. How many people would like the opportunity to play in a World Cup? Everybody you would imagine? Surprisingly that is not the case. Apparently many are only interested if it’s an all-expenses paid free ride.
This year we were much later getting started than the groups of other years. This was probably due to each of us waiting for someone more experienced than ourselves to take charge. Eventually, fearing that it would not go ahead at all I decided to have a go at getting it started. This was quite successful, 9 likeminded MBA students attended the first meeting with the collective goal of getting to Duke. We formed a committee and ran through a basic outline of tasks that were critical to success. These were focused on two main streams: fundraising and training. We knew we needed MSc students for not only numbers but also for skills. We quickly held meetings with those interested to get them on board.
As January drew to a close we were acutely aware of the need to get training immediately. This presented two main challenges. The first was finding an experienced coach to train us and the second was finding a rugby pitch to train on. We interviewed Warren Gatland but he said he was too busy preparing for the Lions tour and Joe Schmidt said he was fully committed to Ireland setup. Luckily we secured the services of David Mannion (Current Monkstown & Ex Leinster Juniors Coach). Securing a pitch was more difficult. Unfortunately we were told categorically by the IRFU that the Aviva was off limits until the summer and the GAA told us no more rugby would be played in Croke Park unless the World Cup 2023 bid was successful. We looked closer to home. We were denied a spot in Belfield due to the high volume of activity on the pitches including believe it or not American Football. Fortunately, through our coach we secured the use of Monkstown’s ground for training.
Obviously sending a team to the U.S. is not cheap. There is the cost of flights, accommodation, transfers, insurance, tournament entry, jerseys, medical equipment, food amongst other things. Fundraising is key to the success of it all. The earlier you start, the easier it will be. It’s certainly not an easy task. Begging people, even Alumni, for money is a challenge in itself. It’s even harder when they say no. Although you are asking on behalf of the college it is still quite difficult not to take the rejection personally. Nevertheless, you must pick yourself up and ask again. We are hugely grateful to all of our sponsors, particularly Sinnotts Bar for being our main sponsor, they backed us early when finances were looking bleak. Without them we would almost certainly not be going.
We also held a table quiz. We hit up our family, friends and classmates to dig deep into their pockets and back us financially. The response was overwhelmingly brilliant. People came in their droves and the venue was packed to the rafters. It’s great to see that those who know us believe in us.
We made it crystal clear from the beginning that players would need to cover their own flights. Although this was not the ideal situation, it was useful for separating out those who were serious about competing and those who were just looking for a free ride. This was tested further when it came to paying for the flights where more people dropped out. Thankfully we had a core group that believed in one another and in our ability to get this off the ground and they all committed their money. I believe the group is stronger because of this and we know that those who have committed are serious.
With less than a week remaining until the tournament, now our focus is on player management, specifically how we will need to be smart to try and avoid injuries and keep our composure whilst playing numerous games in the heat. Hopefully the next blog I write will be telling positive tales of the tournament. A ferocious amount of work has been done by everybody to get us this far. Please wish both teams (men’s and women’s) well.
I’m not sure whether it’s something that I developed while living in London, where there is always a reason to be out, or something that was always in me, and has in fact developed me. Regardless, it is making this chapter a little hectic.
I have just returned to Dublin to do the MBA in Smurfit, after six years working in the UK. A lot of thought went into my choice of school having offers in both London and Dublin. Smurfit’s highly regarded name, a part scholarship and the option to move back in with the folks, made the potential return to my MBA investment in Smurfit stand out a mile.
Was it the right decision? Definitely. The last six weeks has been a whirlwind, but an extremely interesting, engaging and thought provoking whirlwind. The quality of the lectures, as a result of combining high caliber students with world-class faculty and teaching methods, makes you really want to be there. FOMO rating (1-5) on missing lectures, 4.
Golf, Rugby, Entrepreneurship, Thought Leadership, just a handful of societies to get involved in. As newly appointed Chairman of the Golf Society, which I got by default from being the only new MBA to attend the final outing of last year’s society, I am now tasked with organising a calendar of events for the year. On Thursday night, my Competitive Strategy study plan was hi-jacked by an Entrepreneurship event, which I must admit was well worth attending. FOMO rating on missing Society events, 4.
This coming Monday, Global Network Week (GNW) commences. The GNW program is an initiative of the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM) and is designed to provide students from participating GNAM schools with a rich foreign immersion experience. You have the opportunity to travel to schools abroad, including Yale, or staying in Dublin, where the theme of the week is “The Three Pillars of Innovation in Ireland Technology, Food and Culture”. The aim of the week in Dublin is to “drive innovation and create value by connecting leading global business schools, their resources and their stakeholders. Initially I wasn’t going to take part in GNW because I didn’t want to travel abroad, and if I chose the week in Dublin I would have to drop one my three electives in semester two Executive Decision Making, Strategy Execution and Entrepreneurship) each one of which I really wanted to do. Roll on Week 4 and with the GNW buzz is in the air, FOMO creeps in. The thought of an amazing GNW week in full flow right on my doorstep, while I procrastinate about studying financial reporting for the mid-November exam, got the better of me. FOMO rating on missing GNW week, 5. FOMO rating on dropping a module, 5. Answer, do it all. You can see where this year is going.
I think I can speak for the class when I say we are up to our eyes. My mother thinks that ‘they’ are giving us too much ‘overtime’, as she probably spoke to me more when I lived in London than she does now, when we share the same roof. However, I have explained to my folk, it is all great, I’m enjoying the overtime, and everybody wants to be there. My only challenge is ranking things accurately on the FOMO scale, so I don’t get my prioritisation wrong.
On Friday June 24th last, the UCD Smurfit MBA Golf Society held its latest event – the summer golf classic in the fabulous environs of the K Club in County Kildare, owned by the name sponsor of our school, Dr. Michael W.J. Smurfit.
We were joined on the day by current students, alumni and supporters of UCD. Also, as special guests, we had two Special Olympians and staff from the Special Olympics Ireland who took part in the day’s golf event.
The course proved challenging and up to its mark as a championship course. With scoring conditions tough, many participants found the scramble format somewhat of a relief and this hopefully added to their enjoying the day.
A good selection of prizes were arranged by the committee with first prize being a fourball back to the K Club. This was won by the Special Olympics team and well deserved to say the least. An alumni team took second prize which consisted of a set of Cleveland wedges and Titleist golf umbrellas for third place was taken by current students. A number of top raffle prizes were also donated and given to the various winners.
The staff at the K Club ensured we had an enjoyable day despite some rain early in the proceedings and even arranged for local swans to greet golfers as they made their way along the course. We would like to thank The Smurfit MBA office for providing a budget for our event and our hole sponsors for the day – Business Change Management, Business Performance Perspectives, Geith International Limited, NxtGen, The Ash Tree Bar and Philip Lee. With their help and everyone else who attended we raised €1,705 which will be donated to the Special Olympics Ireland.
As is obligatory, the 19th hole was visited after the rounds were completed followed by dinner and prize-giving in the K Club Palmer Clubhouse. An eventful bus journey then returned us to the Smurfit School where further reflection on the standard of our golf was discussed in Flash Harry’s of Blackrock.
It’s hard to find a better way to spend a summer’s day than on the golf course followed by a meal among friends and of course doing it all for a worthy cause.
As a current MBA student in Smurfit, I was recently involved in setting up a women’s network on campus – the Women of the MBA. Last Friday, 17th June, we successfully launched the group at an event attended by both male and female, past and present students of the MBA.
We were delighted to host a panel discussion with four exceptional female Alumni: Grainne Barron, Founder & CEO Viddyad; Mary Lambkin, Professor of Marketing, Smurfit; Marcella Flood, Head of Digital Transformation, Allianz Worldwide Care & Orla Nugent, MBA Programme Director, Smurfit.
The theme of the night was how the Smurfit MBA can empower women to become leaders and take a seat at the table. We heard stories of the challenges of being female in Silicon Valley, stories of how an engineering background evolved into a career in academia, and of how being the eldest in your family gives you a natural advantage when it comes to being a leader! All of our speakers spoke candidly and openly about their journey to where they are today. It was a very engaging discussion which sparked some lively conversations during the Q&A. A common thread running through all of the stories was the importance of self belief and hard work in achieving your goals. Another prevalent theme on the night was the importance of eliminating gender as an issue for the benefit of future generations. This is why I believe it is so important that we get together to build networks such as the WMBA.
The MBA here at Smurfit has empowered so many great female leaders and it is a great time to be a woman in business with such initiatives as the 30% club. The WMBA hope to work on a number of initiatives to support female students and will host further networking events in the coming months for both male and female Alumni.
As the seanfhocail goes Ní neart go cur le chéile – There is no strength without unity. By coming together in unity we can keep this conversation going, men and women alike, to increase awareness and affect change collectively.
The busy MBA life is nearing completion. Without doubt, it has been one of the most happening years in my life to date. Working for the MBA Social Outreach Society was one great experience that I had during the MBA term. We got the opportunity to organize a number of events for various social causes as part of the club’s activities.
We started off by volunteering for the dragon duty events organized by BizWorld Ireland in various primary schools in Dublin. It is part of a two-day BizWorld workshop, delivered in a classroom setting by a specially-trained BizWorld Ireland tutor. During the workshop, classes are split into groups and each group develops their own mini enterprise. At the end of the workshop, they get to pitch their business ideas to a visiting ‘Dragon’, usually a representative from the local business community. Many of our full time MBA colleagues have participated in these events acting as Dragons. In short, a dragon’s role is to act as in investor and negotiate with the children to own stake in their ‘companies’ in exchange of ‘Bizbucks’ (Bizworld money). Meeting these ‘innovators of the future’ has indeed been an amazing experience for all of us and we participate in these events on an ongoing basis.
During the second semester, we organized a fund raising event – a snack festival, for the Special Olympics Eastern Region, which provides year round sports training and competition to over 2,300 people with an intellectual disability. As part of the event, we sold a variety of snacks to the students at Smurfit. It was a one-day event and we were really happy to see the students from Smurfit taking active part in the event and offering their hand of support to the Special Olympics participants. We were able to raise a good amount as part of this event.
Later during the year, in association with Biz World Ireland and Local Enterprise office, we organized a Primary School Showcase event at Smurfit School. As part of the event, nearly ten teams of students from three primary schools in Dublin presented the business ideas to the professors and students at Smurfit. They also sold various hand-made goodies in exchange for ‘Biz Bucks’ during the event. We got a chance to interact with the children, learn more about their business ideas and engage in small negotiations with them in order to buy their goodies. They were smart and creative. They knew some really good negotiation tactics as well! The children, the professors and the students at Smurfit found the event really interesting. It was indeed an unforgettable day!
Working for the Social Outreach Society was a wonderful experience. It was great to see our MBA classmates taking time off from their busy schedule to take part in these activities and work together to make a positive impact on society.
On Tuesday, the Smurfit Social Outreach Society welcomed Bizworld, a local charitable foundation, to our campus in Blackrock for a Primary School Showcase. Our guests included 35 sixth class children as well as teachers from three local schools (Our Lady’s Grove, Goatstown; Scoil Mhuire, Shankill; Harold Boys NS, Dalkey), BizWorld staff including CEO Fiona McKeon, Don, cathoirleach of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Barry Saul, a television crew from Irish TV, and members of the UCD Smurfit community.
The children made up seven teams of 4-5 and they used this opportunity to showcase their learnings from the BizWorld programme. BizWorld holds two-day sessions in which students create business ideas and learn about topics from teamwork to finance. They pitch their businesses to MBA students like ourselves who act as “Dragons in the Den,” developing communication skills and confidence in the process. At this event, we invited Smurfit lecturers Brian McGrath, Virginia Stewart, Christoph Dreschler, and Bruce Martin to ask questions to the students and offer advice.
The event started with an address by UCD- Bizworld coordinator Kamala Sadanand welcoming everyone for the morning. I then followed and spoke for a few minutes sharing my experiences with Bizworld and what I have learned from the children. After these brief words, the adults in the room walked around to each table, learning about the different business ideas which ranged from a zoo app that allows people to watch animals around the world to a taxi service in which riders can replace traditional taxi rides and enjoy a trip in a Bugatti while sipping chocolate milk and playing video games.
Each group then presented its business ideas to the room, expertly communicating ideas, sharing responsibility, and fielding questions from lecturers, students, and each other. We then had a few minutes in which the students sold goodies like baked items and handmade bookmarks in exchange for currency with which to invest their business, known as “biz bucks.” When buying slowed with adults fatiguing of sugar, the students worked the room, lowered prices, and attempted to make more sales. They impressed us!
Finally, Barry Saul from Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council address the room, surveying the students about key learnings. The main takeaway from the groups was how much they learned about teamwork and working with one another. Mr. Saul presented certificates for each of the students to honour their participation in the programme and also to the MBA dragons who participate in the workshops across schools in Dublin Irish TV, a channel that broadcasts on local networks and internationally, was on hand covering the day. In the end, we all gathered for photos and cheers.
Participation in the Social Outreach Society has been such a great way for Smurfit students to learn about business in contexts outside of the classroom. We enjoy the BizWorld programme because it reminds us of some of the ways in which participating in business can develop communities and inspire people. Also, we can relate to the kids who say that they learned the most about teamwork and grew through that because we have experienced the same thing in the MBA. I’m sure some of the talented students we saw on Tuesday will find themselves excelling in UCD Smurfit classrooms in the future, no doubt with BizWorld experiences in mind.