Going to the MBA Rugby World Cup

The panel’s selected, the fees are paid, the flights, transportation and accommodation are booked and the gear is on its way (they hope)… the UCD Smurfit Rugby Club is going to the MBA Rugby World Championships.

After months of fundraising, training and preparation, the Club is finally in a position to send a team to Duke to participate in this year’s competition. Intending to uphold and build on the fine traditions and reputation of the Club, twenty-eight players will depart Dublin Airport on Thursday 7th April. Bound for North Carolina, these players, and their coach Barry Gibney, will pitch there skills against the best teams from around the world with the sole aim of regaining the title last won in 2009.

Throughout the competition, the Club will be providing continuous updates on their progress using Twitter and @SmurfitRFC. So if you are interested in how they are doing, just log on and follow them.

– Shane Horan, MBA Rugby Club Coordinator

Smurfit MBA Rugby Club

On Thursday 24th February, the students of UCD Smurfit finally went to the dogs.

As part of its fundraising campaign to send a team to the 2011 MBA Rugby World Championships, the UCD Smurfit Rugby Club organised an event at the Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium. This event was intended to provide our international classmates with an unique cultural experience whilst also facilitating a networking and teambuilding environment for the students from the different classes. And, from the Club’s perspective, this event succeeded on both fronts.

For all who have never intended a Shelbourne Park ‘night’, it involves watching eleven races where six greyhounds race each other whilst trying to catch an electric ‘hare’. Furthermore, just to add to the occasion, alcohol, food and gambling are also included for good measure. On the night, we had a reserved area on the restaurant level of the grand stand where we had a fantastic view of the track and a warm environment in which to socialise and network.

Greyhound Night with the Smurfit MBAs (Tham, Ruairi & Blonde)

From a fundraising perspective, the Club would sincerely like to thank its partners – CRH, O2 Ireland, Largo Foods and Mason, Hayes + Curran, without whose support, it would not have been possible. Furthermore, the sponsorship kindly provided by Smurfit Kappa added that extra bit of spice to the eight race in which Diarmuid O’Keefe won the €500 buster prize that was on offer.

Smurfit MBA Rugby Club presenting prize to Diarmuid O'Keeffe
Smurfit MBA Rugby Club presenting Smurfit-Kappa prize to Diarmuid O'Keeffe

Congratulations to Diarmuid and all involved in making this a memorable experience.


– Shane Horan, Smurfit MBA Rugby

Shane Horan Smurfit MBA Rugby (2nd left) presenting prize to race winner

A day in the life of an MBA student at UCD Smurfit

People often ask me what a typical day as an MBA student at UCD Smurfit looks like. It’s a difficult question to answer, because in reality there is not just one hard and fast set routine for a student at Smurfit. Most days start with lectures at 830am and continue with lectures for the rest of the day. Often there is group work to do in the afternoon and evenings, and after that later in the evening again, reading for the next day’s classes. During the evenings the MBA clubs meet, and bring in guest speakers from the world of finance, sustainability, marketing, consulting and many others. These evenings give students a real world perspective on issues discussed in class, along with a further chance to make connections in fields students have a particular interest in.

On Fridays, as mentioned before, there are the personal development classes and coaching and interview practice sessions. These are designed to improve the MBA student’s ability to translate the learning of the classroom into tangible, real world benefits in the mind of future employers. These mock interview sessions also provide an opportunity to network with experienced business professionals and develop a sense of the business needs their company’s are experiencing.


The days of leading up to the exams, are usually the most “focused” of the term. Typically emails will be whizzing around with helpful links to explain concepts in slightly different (perhaps more comprehensible) ways, or containing attachments with people’s own summarised notes (which are near universally excellent.)

Weekends are usually spent catching up on some sleep and reading ahead for the weeks upcoming lectures. Many MBA students also catch up on individual assignments, which can get de-prioritised during the rush to complete multiple group assignments in a short time during the week. The good news is that there’s usually time for some relaxation as well, and the MBA class often meets up on the weekends to go hill walking, pub crawling or even cruise boating!


In short there is no typical day, but there are enough constants day to day to keep things familiar, and enough variety to keep them from ever seeming dull.


– Andrew Higgins, Full-time MBA 2010/2011

The need for ideas

Inspiration is just what you need in February, a month that I equate with Tuesday.

To try to kick us into gear, the MBA Entrepreneurship Club brought two top class speakers to the college to discuss ‘How To Bring Your Business On-line’. The first speaker was Raomal Perera: Founder of two successful Irish-based tech firms that were acquired over the past eight years, he is about to embark on his third technology venture. The second speaker was Ciaran Crean: Managing Director and co-founder of micksgarage – an eTailer with 1 million car parts & accessories for sale.

Raomal enlightened us on how he had become a serial entrepreneur and how starting on the path to entrepreneurship can lead to all sorts of unplanned adventures. Ciaran spoke on how micksgarage was founded and how they had successfully brought it to where it is. The interesting part was how they had done it with little or no financial support demonstrating how the idea is critical. There was a keen debate afterwards as we questioned them on there key to successes. Its through these sort of engagements that we can see how the real world operates outside of the cosy walls of Smurfit and the Avoca Bar, home to many an idea.

– Colm O’Reilly

Smurfit MBA visits Barretstown for International Childhood Cancer Day

Yesterday, my colleague Michael McDonnell and myself were invited to Barretstown to mark the annual International Childhood Cancer Day.

President McAleese visits Barretstown
President McAleese addresses Barretstown supporters

For 17 years Barretstown Castle has been the center for the Barretstown foundation’s work with and for children with life-threatening illnesses. For the past three years, the Smurfit MBA has adopted Barretstown as their charity.

Speaking at the event yesterday was Ireland’s President Mary McAleese, who delivered a very touching and personal speech, starting of by saying that ‘childhood’ and ‘cancer’ are two words that does not sit well together and commending the work Barretstown does to show children and their families that they are not in this alone.

One of the speakers, an 18-year old cancer survivor spoke about how Barretstown had helped her restore her confidence after her illness and that the Barretstown Castle was like a Hogwarts of the real world.

Good news came from consultant paediatric haematologist Prof Owen Smith who said the prognosis for childhood cancers was getting better with every year and that there was now a 85 per cent overall cure rate, rising to 90 to 95 per cent for those with childhood leukaemia.

On average three children every week in Ireland are diagnosed with cancer, about a third of them with leukaemia so the need for places like Barretstown is in great demand.

One of the fundraising initiatives for the Smurfit MBA Charity Club this year is to participate in the BUPA 10K Run for Ireland through Phoenix Park, all in support of Barretstown.

Recently, the UCD Smurfit MBA Rugby Club was selected as one of 200 clubs, by the Irish Daily Mail, to participate in their Kit for Kids promotion and the Smurfit MBA Rugby Club will similarly donate the kit to Barretstown.

If you are interested in helping the Smurfit MBA Rugby Club and Barretstown, you may drop in or send your Daily Mail tokens to the MBA Office at the UCD Smurfit School in  Blackrock.

– Rikke Budolfsen, MBA Programme Manager

MBA Entrepreneurship Club

The Entrepreneur’s Club finally got the opportunity to hold the ‘How To Finance Your Business’ session at the end of January. Free from the travails of the snow and fresh after a well deserved month off everybody was keen for new events. 4 great speakers convened to give their views on raising finance from different perspectives. Ned Gladney, Managing Director, GSW Tax and Business Advisors (a specialist firm for small & medium sized enterprises), Michael Hayden (Business Advisor Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Board), Giuseppe Insalaco – An Entrepreneur (Smurfit School MBA Graduate) & founder of Squargo Ltd, and Dermot Berkery, Partner-Delta Partners Ltd -one of Irelands leading Venture Capital Firms (VC).

Discussion ranged from enterprise structure, to grant and seed money from local authorities to the holy grail of venture capital funding. Dermot explained how VC’s source and invest their funds and the expected win & loss rates for their investments. Giuseppe brought the entrepreneurial flavour in explaining the Do’s and Don’ts from his own journey in trying to source financing for start-ups.

The good news is all the participants reiterated that although times are tough, there is money available for start-ups. However, the cautionary warning was it largely depends on the industry. Let’s see who next from the class will be on the stage in years to come explaining their successes and woes in starting up a business.

– Colm O’Reilly

The Smurfit MBA Entrepreneurship Club – From Conception to Fruition

“It’s all about the knowledge economy, the tech industry, -no the food industry, – sorry I disagree, it will be the pharma industry”.  These are the statements we hear as we look for a glimmer of hope in the current economic climate. Who are the Entrepreneurs who will offer the spark for the future? This is the $64 million question (or should that be €85 billion). At the Smurfit School the MBA Class has started the Entrepreneurship Club to allow students both to bring ideas to the table or just for the interested spectator to hear where their future might lie.

At the inaugural meeting of the 2010/2011 Entrepreneurship Club, a number of enthusiastic students from both the Full-time and Executive MBA classes came together to design an outline for the year. There was common consensus to try and move it away from a lecture style modus operandi to more practical implementation (the mere mention of lecture had some quaking as they feared the 75 books they would need to prepare in a week for the next lecture).

A common theme was developed for the year based on the process of bringing a company to success or as the brand has become known ‘ Conception To Fruition’. Nights of trading ideas and more recently lunch time (hunger seems to bring a keenness to people’s mind), visits to UCD Nova to see the latest offerings for the future, and exchanges with recent Entrepreneurs has shown the potential that exists. Unfortunately the weather got the better of us (what a surprise in Ireland) so the Entrepreneurship  Club has had to postpone its recent big event ‘How To Finance Your Business’ (and no, this was not because we needed clearance by the IMF).   We will be following up this blog with regular slots keeping everyone posted on the progress of the Club.

Colm O’Reilly