Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneurship’
I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages.
When I was in the middle of my MBA last year in Smurfit, there were some fellow students who viewed networking as a dirty word, something that makes you uncomfortable, an activity that is all about using other people to get what you want or to get ahead in some way. This is not networking. Yes, networking is about self-promotion and trying to get ahead but it is about so much more. Networking is meeting new people, hearing their stories, exchanging information and ideas. When you are a student this exchange is somewhat unbalanced because as a student you do not have as much to exchange. But guess what, the people you are talking to were also in your shoes at the start of their careers. And another truth is most that people want to help, to pay forward the help and advice they received at the start of their journeys.
Personally I love networking. The reason is simple, I love talking, telling stories and I love meeting new people. I also happen to be trying to sell the MBA World Trophy to everyone who will listen. There’s nothing wrong with finding out who is going to be attending a function and thinking about what you would like to talk to them about. Doing this is showing that you respect other people’s time and understand that their time is valuable and they probably don’t want to be stuck talking to me for any length of time. Fundamentally networking is just an extension of selling. One of our speakers at the MBA World Trophy, Vivek Wadhwa wrote a fantastic article about the importance of networking that is well worth reading. If you are a student you should remember that no matter what job or situation you find yourself in you need to put forward the best version of you at all times.
In another life I was a TV producer and my first boss in TV gave me great advice, when you arrive in someone’s house with a film crew you have a responsibility to ensure that you are remembered for the right reasons. Having a TV crew in your house is a highlight for the vast majority of ordinary people. So no matter what is going on in your own life, no matter how terrible you feel, you have to make sure you leave a positive impression. This has stuck with me and is something I try to achieve no matter where I go. I’m not always successful at it. The same thing applies to networking. Another important thing to mention is the power of LinkedIn. This is an awesome networking tool. Personally I believe you should always include a personal message when sending someone an invitation to join your network.
Finally, and I’m not biased when I tell you that this year’s MBA World Trophy and StartUp Dublin will be like networking heaven. So if you are interested in the lineup please join us. We would love to meet you.
Here’s a list of my networking do’s and don’ts
- Be approachable.
- Be polite.
- Be yourself.
- Don’t immediately head for the corner after scoffing some free food/drink. It’s ok to be nervous/uncomfortable, 90% of the people in the room are feeling the same way.
- Try to find out who is attending in advance and find two people you would like to talk to about you.
- Don’t overcook talking to your targets. Get in and out quickly. You can always talk to them later that evening. Remember they more than likely have other people that they want to talk to.
- Always follow up with everyone you meet.
- Don’t take no for an answer, I’m not saying to be pushy, just get creative. And finally, my favourite.
- Every single person in the world will meet you for a coffee (except TV celebrities).
- Stephen Smith, MBA World Trophy team and FT MBA 2012
Red: the MBA World Trophy Competition and the StartUp Dublin Innovation Conference takes place in Dublin 16-18 May 2013.
Recently, UCD Smurfit’s own Bruce Martin and Dean Ciaran O’hogartaigh participated on the Bizworld workshops set up by the MBA Office in conjunction with BizWorld. The workshops were held next door in Carysfort National School. Many thanks to Bruce and Ciaran for giving so generously of their valuable time by participating as VCs.
BizWorld brought two groups of 6th Class children through a learning workshop over two days called BizMovie which teaches the basics of entrepreneurship, business and finance by showing children how the entrepreneurial cycle operates in a simulated movie production industry. BizMovie teaches basic computer programming skills to develop the movie and students use a school computer lab or individual computers to complete the movie.
The students take on roles based on their strengths and skills across the cultural and economic spectrum to not only understand how business works but also enables them to experience it first-hand.
Needless to say, it was an inspiring day for all involved!
- Michael McDonnell, MBA Programme Manager
One of the benefits that I find from the Executive MBA is that I go back to my day-job on a Monday morning and “noodle” on what we have discussed in class that previous weekend. I can bounce stuff off my workmates and get a different perspective on things to take back with me to class the following weekend. This is a very practical way of grounding my MBA experience into the everyday work-life on a continuous basis and creates a vital link between industry and academia.
But in writing this blog, I began to wonder are there other less obvious opportunities for linking industry and academia?
I have worked in start-up companies for the last 7 years of my life and if there is one thing that start-ups have in common it is the lack of money available and the requirement to achieve one’s aims with the smartest use of resources possible.
Earlier in my career I spent 8 wonderful years in NUIG as an undergrad and postgrad and if there is one thing that universities have in common it is the abundance of engineering equipment available for testing, analysing and characterising materials,devices, structures, etc. etc. Surely it is logical to bridge the two and create a valuable and strategic symbiosis in the process? Of course there has been continuous links between industry and academia down through the years in the form of collaborative research partnerships, sponsored post-grads,etc. which have been hugely beneficial to all parties. Such endeavours keep third-level researchers relevant, allowing them to work on problems that are very current and applied. At the same time they have provided the sponsoring company with valuable research allowing them to develop technologies and create significant value for their products.
On a routine basis, we (in our company) have need for short-term access to calibrated test equipment such as tensile testers, torque testers, fluid analysers, FTIR, DSC, etc. etc. and have had to contract this work out to third-party vendors. An opportunity exists for some of the third-level institutions to provide such services to industry and generate a valuable revenue stream in the process. Endeavours such as Metric Ireland and Connect 2013 are important drivers for fostering additional links between industry and academia so that short-term gains and benefits can be realised on both sides.
Funding for third-level is being continually stretched and industry is constantly required to operate in ever-more-efficient means to achieve their goals. I believe a significant opportunity exists at present to align all relevant parties in pursuit of this and build sustainability of the indigenous sector into the future.
- Brendan Cunniffe, EMBA (Weekend) 2012-14
Last Autumn we covered the success of MBA Alumn Cathal Brady. Here’s another win for Cathal…
“A break-through contract for Dublin start-up Ultan Technologies will see the company work with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland to help public authorities around the country manage their energy use.
Ultan’s founder, Cathal Brady (MBA 2004), valued the three-year deal at €300,000 or more to supply a version of the web based technology it has developed to monitor and manage utility devices and sensors,.
“This is huge for us” he said. “It has been in the pipeline for a number of months now and we have just signed the contract in the last few weeks. It is a three year contract with the probability of it being renewed. Over time, it could be worth maybe €300,000 to €400,000. It is going to open up bigger customers to us. We sell to a lot of water companies in Ireland, but this is a different type of market and it is a great validation of the platform and the company.”
A software developer by trade, Brady established Ultan Technologies in early 2011 in Dublin’s Docklands Innovation Park. The idea behind the company’s web-based software is to allow utility companies to bill and manage their customers more easily and efficiently. “We develop products that work with any device, meter or sensor to take readings from them and put them up on the cloud, allowing people to monitor usage, set alerts or manage the device, report on the various readings and compare them to historical or external readings,” said Brady.
The software can be used by energy, water and gas providers. “We can take in readings from meters and generate bills, but the software could also be used by other device manufacturers ,” said Brady. “For example, you might have a guy making devices to monitor diesel tanks or bins to see when they’re full. They can monitor their device to be uploaded on to the web and to manage them and control them from there.”
Ultan Technologies employs four people in Dublin and eight sub-contractors in Ukraine. Brady said the company was preparing to ramp up sales to the British and US markets in the coming months and would create ten further jobs in Dublin this year and next. A graduate of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Brady recently scooped the Association of MBA’s 2012 Entrepreneurial Venture Award. Ultan Technologies also topped the best investment proposal category at last year’s Bolton Trust Docklands Innovation Park Awards.“
- Michael McDonnell