Launch of Women’s Network WMBA

Women of the MBA group networking event, Friday 17th June
Women of the MBA group networking event, Friday 17th June

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.

Women of the MBA group networking event, Friday 17th June
Women of the MBA group networking event, Friday 17th June

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.

Women of the MBA group networking event, Friday 17th June
Women of the MBA group networking event, Friday 17th June

Ruth Mc Avoy ~ Executive MBA

MBA Social Outreach Society

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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. 2

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.

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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!

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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.

Nitin Paul ~ Full-Time MBA

Smurfit Social Outreach Society & Bizworld

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Find out more about the Smurfit MBA here

Elsa Heffernan ~ Full-Time MBA

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.