Toastmasters International Pilot Session

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The word ‘’Toastmasters’’ was doing the rounds in our school since November. Some knew what it was while some did not. On Monday, the 8th of February, UCD Smurfit had its first Toastmasters International workshop at the Laurence Crowley Board Room. Facilitated by office bearers of ‘Tara Toastmasters’ club, the event had participants from MBA, MSc and PhD streams. So what is ‘Toastmasters’ all about?

‘Toastmasters’ club is one of its kind, with more than 320,000 members in over 15,000 clubs across 135 countries. It is a platform for people to develop public speaking, leadership and inter-personal skills, and heighten their confidence levels. Overtime, members reach different levels of proficiency and participate at national and international forums. How popular is the Toastmasters?

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Many MNCs run active Toastmasters clubs. Other reputed B-Schools have their Toastmasters too. Dublin has over 20 registered clubs. Students and working professionals meet at evenings and head for pints. Helps us talk to everyone, both before and after some intoxication. As it is said, ‘it’s a bit of good craic!’

On Monday, in a typical Toastmasters set-up, we heard two prepared speeches followed by ‘Table Topics’ on which the audience spoke. The evaluators, time keepers, and a Toastmaster kept our adrenaline levels high. Although table-topics tingled our bellies, the crowd pulled it off well. Apprehensions became smiles, turning towards the person speaking and wondering who’d be next. Topics such as psychology, business and romance, along with some laughter ended the session in style. Thanks to Orla Nugent – MBA Programme Director and our MBA Programme Manager Yvonne for their constant support. Thanks to the the Services Team and Smurfit Restaurant for their flawless coordination.

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”Next is what?” If we succeed in setting up the club in Smurfit, we can all become members here and invite alumni as well to join the club. Hold joint meets with Toastmasters from companies. Show the talent pool in Smurfit. Share presentations that went great in the class. Create networking space through informal talk on business, sports, humour or anything interesting. Search online for ‘’Toastmasters’’ now, share it your friends and click here if you are interested in becoming a member. It’s time to raise a toast..!

Sreekanth Nagabhushana ~ Full-Time MBA

The Other Module (or Getting Involved on the MBA)

 

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Entering the home stretch of first term lectures on the UCD Smurfit MBA provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on what we have accomplished, and some of the experiences that we cherish the most. We have all learned an enormous amount in a short period of time from our peer teams and lecturers, but I wanted to reflect on the opportunities the School offers to get involved outside of the core modules.

I was ‘elected’ (full disclosure: I won a coin flip) to be one of two class reps, and to be honest, didn’t really appreciate the workload that it would add to the frantic life of an MBA student that features prominently on this blog. But what I gave up in study time, I gained in the unique opportunity to get to better know and understand my peers, their diverse concerns and perspectives, and their expectations from the programme. What’s more, the staff at the School take this feedback from the class and immediately incorporate it into providing the best possible offering.

As part of the Thought Leadership Club Committee, I’ve had the opportunity to be part of a team bringing leading minds in industry to the school to share business insights from the leading edge, and it has led to a number of discussions that you just can’t get in the classroom. And on a lighter note, leading a dedicated team of growers for the Movember Campaign, we’ve enjoyed camaraderie growing regal moustaches, generating smiles (and the occasional puzzled stare) but more importantly, generating awareness and fundraising for some hard-to-discuss health issues. All-in-all it has been an eye-opening and engaging personal growth experience that has challenged many of my preconceptions and views. I would highly recommend the programme to driven individuals that want to be the business leaders of the future.

Getting involved enriches the MBA experience and the UCD Smurfit MBA offers a wealth of ways to make a difference to the Graduate School: The Entrepreneurship Club, The Rugby Club & Team, The Golf Society, and the Inbound Marketing Club. The Careers Office also arranges for visits from employers including leading global consulting firms to engage in panel discussions and give students the best opportunity to evaluate their next career moves, and these sessions have been extremely useful.

The UCD Smurfit MBA graduate leaders, and MBA Clubs are an excellent opportunity to further hone critical soft skills—building trust relationships, professional networks, and most importantly, making friends for life. If you run one of the MBA Clubs you won’t submit assignments or get a grade, but what you will get is the quiet satisfaction from the way you made people feel.

Thinking about an MBA? Come to Smurfit’s Open Evening this Wednesday November 25th from 5:30-7:30pm in the Main Foyer at Carysfort to get information on the Smurfit MBA programme and to chat with current participants on the programme. (And maybe even meet a few of the class reps!)

Vincent Cooney ~ Full-Time MBA

A dragon in the den

Two days before Christmas and I’m finally getting round to writing my blog; David Sweeney I expect you to follow suit.

I’d like to share with you my Bizworld (www.bizworldireland.ie) ‘Dragon in the Den’ experience that I had a couple of weeks ago. I visited St Olafs National School in Balally to be the ‘dragon’ (investor) that five pairs of 10/11 year old kids would pitch to for funding their companies movie production. After the daunting experience of being introduced to the class I was moved to the Den to get ready for the first pair of entrepreneurs. Ciara and Aoife, representing ‘Shooting Stars’ company walked in with a mission – to get as many of my $BB (BizBucks) as possible for the minimum share of their company. They pitched their horror comedy movie idea to me and informed me that the cost associated with production of the movie amounted to $89BB. When asked how this cost was calculated, Ciara clearly explained to me the breakdown of wages, studio rent, ticketing, merchandise etc included in the cost. Aoife then told me that they would sell enough tickets and movie merchandise to make a tidy profit on the production. Shooting stars needed funding and I was the fat cat with the cash. The request for my investment began by Aoife and Ciara offering 30% of their company to me for $90BB. Chancers! My counter-offer was met with assertive shakes of the head, they were having none of it. We negotiated some more before I cracked under the pressure and Shooting Stars ended up taking $60BB of me for a mere 40% of the company. Professionally and politely, Aoife and Ciara thanked me for my investment and left the Den. I was left wondering would I fare any better with the next company and its two representatives?

Being a Dragon in the Den in St Olafs’ lasted only an hour and I would highly recommend all MBA’ers to be a dragon in semester 2. If anyone is interested please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me and I will arrange with Bizworld.

Peter MacMahon

Full Time MBA

MBA Charity Club

Peter.mac-mahon.1@ucdconnect.ie

Time flies with rugby

Well here we are in December. Where has the time gone? It seems like it was only yesterday that I was walking into orientation wondering what exactly I had gotten myself into. Now I have fully immersed myself in the Full time MBA and the opportunities that come with it.

The most fun I have had thus far has been with the Rugby Club. I have met so many wonderful people through the connections I have made within the club. When I took over the club as President in September I was worried that nothing would get done because I would be the only FT MBA actively in the club and had no clue how it would work with bringing in MSc students to fill in the rest. The previous boards had full involvement from the MBA class so it was unnerving to change that. However the MSc students that have stepped up to take part have been a great asset to the club.

The previous year had done a great job with setting up a dinner to fundraise for the world cup trip, but since I did not have any connections with hotels or pubs I decided to go with the connections I was making and choose a fun event. This year the rugby club will be hosting a Networking and Rugby event on Friday, February 6th from 6 to 9 pm at Old Wesley Rugby Football Club and the Donnybrook Rugby Pitches. There will be food, drinks, prizes and of course rugby. We have invited local graduate schools and businesses to put teams in the tournament and have started inviting business professionals from all over Ireland. The hope is that we will have 1500 people attend the event to grow networks and help Smurfit Rugby attend the World Cup this April.

The event has been lots of fun to organize and from it I have meet so many wonderful people. I have even been fortunate enough to meet the minister for sport when I was invited to attend the grand opening of the Donnybrook pitches in November. The planning of this event has gotten me working directly with Leinster Rugby and from that I have been able to gain the honor of working with the RDS Match Day team in February for a Leinster Rugby match. These have all been opportunities I would have never gained if I was not leading the rugby club this year. It truly has been a blessing.

As exams near and I take a fortnight reprieve from rugby for my exams I just would like to ask anyone who reads this blog to mark their calendars for February 6th for our Networking event. Please head over to ucdsmurfitrugbyfc.ie or follow UCD Smurfit Rugby FC on Facebook or Twitter to get updates on the event and find out how to order tickets. You can also email me directly at nickolas.boyle@ucdconnect.ie to reserve your tickets. With the help of you and everyone else who has ties to UCD Smurfit we can make this a fun annual event for years to come.

Merry Christmas from the Smurfit MBA Rugby FC Family to yours.

Nickolas Boyle

Full-time MBA Class

Widen your horizons

When I took the decision to leave a stable and secure job, to devote one full year to my MBA journey at Smurfit Business School, I never thought that it would have such a life-changing impact. I think all my classmates would be echoing the same feelings.

Though we used to have quite a versatile work profile during our jobs; however, now I realize what actually versatility means in practice. Life is much bigger and there is lot to do and achieve. All the components of MBA right from Classroom Lectures (they are not just lectures but a completely participative experience especially during lots of Case Studies and class discussions), Individual and Group Assignments, Literature Reviews (I never thought that there would be a component of PhD thesis also in the MBA, which would refine my literary and research skills and some day may even inspire me to write a book), simulation games (to have real world business experience), PowerPoint presentations, MBA Clubs, Speaker events (we had quite inspirational and entrepreneurial speakers to interact with us during last 3 months), Network immersion week (the week seemed to bring almost the entire world to a single Smurfit classroom), Coaching Sessions (which have helped us to define our objectives and aspirations more clearly), Career Sessions (which introduced us to wide range of career options, which we never could have explored during our regular jobs), Sessions on Leadership and Communication skills, and so on. Careers sell has always been guiding us for attending more and more Career events and to do a lot of Networking, which again has helped us to reach out to people from various industries, sectors and fields and keep on continuously expanding our network. So, our learning does not end in the Business School premises, it extends much beyond that.

As soon as I start wondering is there anything left to experience, we are presented with entirely  new event or a new dimension of Smurfit MBA program, which helps towards further expanding and widening our horizons and enable us to become not just a world class manager but also a complete human being.

I have always been inspired by the quote One cannot discover new oceans, unless one leaves the fear of losing sight of the shore”. Smurfit MBA reinforces my belief that one year taken out of work is well spent on exploring new opportunities, widening your horizons and finding a new meaning for your Career and Life.

Ashutosh Singla

Full-time MBA 2014-15

The view from Week 6

I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see (Amazing Grace, John Newton 1725-1807).

This is how it feels after six weeks of the E-MBA programme. The fog of confusion in which I have lived for the last few years is starting to clear. What makes a company stand out from the crowd? What are they doing differently? Why do their employees enjoy going to work? Where is the meaningful information in an Annual Report? All of these questions and more are being addressed simultaneously in our first semester. There are more questions each week but at least I feel they are starting to resemble intelligent questions.

The group work is great – Carlsberg don’t do groups but if they did it would be Group 2, EMBA Weekend 2014! It is like early morning training on a Saturday, you might not want to do it, but you are not going to let the team down. Being in a team drives you to do more. You don’t want to be that person everybody talks about during the Intro Week – The one who doesn’t pull their weight, the weak link in the chain, the slacker. Although when I look around my class I am left thinking this fictitious creature must be taking the mid-week course? This person is like a unicorn or an elf, they are the subject matter of great stories but we all know they don’t really exist.

The Entrepreneurship Club – I went to my first event at the Google HQ last night. For me it was fascinating. There were talks from industry experts who explained the available supports for start-up ventures, from pre-seed capital right through to International scalability. This is not an area I have any previous experience in so I am looking forward to future events.

Now all I need is a lightning bolt moment where I think of a concept that will change the world. Maybe I will leave that to the end of Semester 2!

Barry Griffin

EMBA Weekend 2014-2016

The Charity Club starts asking questions

The MBA Charity Club have organised their first event of the year which is to be a table quiz held in the Dark Horse on Carysfort Avenue.  The aim is to raise funds to support a Bizworld event, Bizworld Ireland is a group of educators and business people who have come together to inspire and empower children ages 10-13 to learn about money management, critical thinking and enterprise in a creative way.  Smurfit has been involved with Bizworld for the last few years and everyone involves themselves with the workshops has a great time and speaks very highly of the experience.

For anyone interested in the quiz it is on in the Dark Horse, Thursday 23rd starting at 7pm.

Feelings on returning to the MBA frey

September 1st 2014 marked “back to school” for primary students and MBA students alike. I am now at the end of week 2, year 2 and it still amazes me how quickly you forget things that you simply don’t want to remember! One would assume that after two semesters I would recall how time consuming this programme is but alas, I again got a shock when we were introduced to the course outlines for each of our four modules last week (namely, Global and Corporate Strategy, Strategies for HR, Investment Management and Performance Driven Marketing).

My evenings from September 1st to September 4th inclusive were tied up with the MBA. Classes are every Monday and Thursday. I had an inaugural meeting with my newly assigned group on Wednesday (groups of 4/5 people are assigned by the college and change every semester) and on Tuesday I attended an MBA event on entrepreneurship in the Hibernian Club on Stephen’s Green. Needless to say I was happy for the weekend to arrive!

Although I may sound as if I am feeling sorry for myself (which, of course, happens on occasion) the truth is that I am thoroughly enjoying my time on the programme. I was looking forward to catching up with all my classmates last week (some of which have gotten married, given birth, bought houses etc. since May) and getting back into the routine of student life. When ‘student life’ gets too much, the Smurfit School organise an array of evening events to cater for all interests. Last week I attended the aforementioned entrepreneurship evening, next week I will be working one-on-one with a CV coach and on September 30th we are invited to an evening with Dr. Michael Smurfit. That’s not to mention all the MBA club events that are initiated by current students.

Time has never been so precious. . . I am already on the countdown for Christmas!





Aoife Mc Mahon

EMBA Midweek year 2

UCD Smurfit MBA Day out at the K Club.

UCD Smurfit MBA Golf Society Blog update for their latest outing:

Derek “the Scallywag” Scally, you dark horse!!! As a 1981 UCD Smurfit MBA Alum, and one of the true gentlemen from the Golden Era of MBA education (please note: finishing a course that did not contain an “Ethics” module), he continued to set the K Club alight in what were some challenging conditions to take home UCD MBA’s 50th Anniversary Prize. Derek was graciously joined by his dear 1981 MBA colleague and friend, Norbert McDermott and his fellow Meath brother in arms, Donal Coyle (who won the wonderful “Monkey’s Ass” Visitor’s Prize). Alongside an always entrepreneurial (both on and off the golf course) Joe Kenny, this foursome could be heard chuckling their way through the 18 holes and well into the 19th. The highlight of this group came when Joe attempted a Crazy Golf style shot across one of the many bridges traversing the water on the 12th. Derek, we all agree, you deserved the victory, keeping it simple throughout.

Continue reading UCD Smurfit MBA Day out at the K Club.

A report from the golf battlefront

Andrew Bourke playing in the sand

Luttrellstown, the venue for Becks’ wedding, graciously hosted the second event of UCD’s MoneyBAGS (the new name for the UCD MBA Golf Society). A 24 strong field (our second largest turnout ever) took to the course fully inspired by Jordan Speith’s unexpected lead in the third round of the Masters. Expectations were high in spite of the low course temperatures and the talk in the clubhouse was all about one person, that’s right, Liam Doyle. Who would have thought the Golf Society would become so big that it would attract one of Ireland’s finest rugby players away from going to Danville for the MBA World Cup!!!

There was also a welcome return for Charlie Weijer after his glorious front nine at the Captain’s Day in Powerscourt last August. He joined the first group on the tee box which also consisted of Pamela Fay (still traumatised after her counselling session with Andrew Bacon), Gerard Murphy (the man renowned for his steely resolve) and James Sammon (our resident Casanova). Charlie, yet again, commenced his round in exemplary fashion, with crisp clean drives and instinctive pitches, which spurred on his competitors. Rumour has it James was a little forlorn considering his usual playing partner had been moved to Group 6… We’ll make sure Jessica plays with you next time James ;0).

Continue reading A report from the golf battlefront