MBA Open Evening


The first Opening Evening for the classes of 2016 took place Wednesday evening in UCD Smurfit School with the newly installed Christmas tree in the front hall which gave the occasion a rather festive feel. This event concentrated on the post experience Masters and MBA programmes and was a lively event with a good crowd with lots of questions on the details of the programmes and their delivery, admissions procedures and all of their individual concerns.


The MBA element of the evening included an opportunity to meet with staff from the MBA programme, a presentation by the MBA Admissions Manager and introductory briefings on the UCD Smurfit MBA Leadership Development Programme which runs in parallel with the academic programme and a presentation from the Careers and Skills Office who work tirelessly with our MBA students throughout their time on the programme and indeed afterwards.  This was followed by a panel discussion with MBA alumni and current participants (many thanks to Colin Creagh ’10, Morag Pollock ’13, Niamh O’Reilly ’13, Sarah Tuma ’16, Vince Cooney ’16 and Donal Bailey ’17).  The student and alumni panel and Q&A was probably the most valuable from the attendees’ perspective as it was an insight into the realities, challenges and rewards of the MBA experience from those who have lived or are living it.


This was the first of many events for the upcoming recruitment season with other Open Evenings, Breakfasts, Experience Days and GMAT preparation sessions on the schedule, so if you are interested in attending please check in with us and we’ll add you to the list of those interested in knowing what is happening and when.

Roisin O’Loughlin ~ Executive MBA Programme Manager

UCD Smurfit MBA supports Plan Ireland

To celebrate ‘International Day of the Girl’ on 11th October, Plan Ireland held its Because I am a Girl Ball in the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Dublin.

Because I am a Girl is Plan International’s global initiative to educate girls across the developing world. To do this, Plan International identify the key barriers to girls’ education – child marriage forced labour, sexual violence, early pregnancy and more – and break them.

Susi Geiger & Eva Wedenberg

The focus of the campaign is girls, because a girl in the developing world faces overwhelming odds from the day she is born. But Plan is reversing these odds, they have reached a crucial tipping point and are making real progress. More girls than ever are being given the chance of education and the tide is turning. More and more of today’s mothers have seen the value of education. Fathers, communities and governments are following.

Associate Professor, Susi Geiger, was amongst the attendees at the ball; “Every girl has the right to an education. It’s apt that the female MBA staff support this great cause (and we have a great night out while doing so)!”

Over the next four years, Because I am a Girl projects will support four million girls to get the education, skills and support they need to move themselves from poverty to opportunity.

Elena Ranguelova & Roisin O'Loughlin

Plan Ireland held the ball in support of this initiative and both the Smurfit MBA team and students supported the event and enjoyed a wonderful evening at the ball.

Adela Perez & Caragh Curran

Support from events such as the ball allow Plan to implement projects that tackle some of the biggest challenges that girls face in developing countries. They believe that supporting girls is one of the best investments we can make in the world today. Removing barriers for girls’ means, not only a better life for them, but a safer, healthier and prosperous world for us all. To find out more information or to support to the cause, click here

Avril Donohue

MBA Senior Programme Coordinator

A life worth living according to Michael Smurfit

Michael Smurfit and Lindsey Nguyen of the full-time MBA class

Dr Michael Smurfit arrived into the Laurence Crowley boardroom in Smurfit College on Tuesday Sept 30th where the noise filled room of curious MBA and business students immediately fell into a quiet hush. He took his seat next to the Dean and then opened with a self deprecating ice breaker apologising for the inadequacy of his book. Result? Everyone immediately relaxed and warmed to their college namesake. Dr Smurfit proceeded to give a fascinating account of how he developed his empire and set up the Business School and shared some lessons learned along the way. Our very own Lindsey Nguyen (Full time MBA) did a great job as MC and posed some carefully crafted but pointed questions to Dr Smurfit which he duly answered.

What became quickly evident was a lot of his success was down to doing the obvious, like cutting costs, managing stocks and being a forward thinker in a time when everyone was looking inward instead of outward. What is also interesting is how Smurfit took a small Irish company to the top of the world in the area of wood and wood products, beating off rivals from countries with significant wood and native paper industries.

As per his autobiography A Life Worth Living, Dr Smurfit was the first Irish mega tycoon, who built a small family business into Ireland’s first multinational company and one of the world’s largest paper and packaging companies. A particularly spectacular feat coming from a country with no indigenous wood industry to speak of. Dr Smurfit’s motto was “I must, I can and I will” and he did.

Continue reading A life worth living according to Michael Smurfit

UCD Smurfit MBA50 Celebrating Entrepreneurship

On Tuesday 2nd of September, the MBA Programme Office were delighted to host a Celebrating Entrepreneurship Event in the Hibernian Club on St. Stephens Green in Dublin.

After a brief introduction by Prof. Pat Gibbons, MBA alumni and current students were treated to some rare insights from Claire Lee, head of Corporate Venture at Silicon Valley Bank.

This was followed by a soap-box challenge which involved a number of MBA alumni and students show-casing their start-up companies within a two minute time-frame.

List of participating start-ups:

Brendan Cunniffe, Apica Cardiovascular

Dave Byrne,  Buzzoo

Mick O’Dwyer,  Envirotech

Donal Ryan,  Equinome

Ian Nolan,  Legalshine

David Larkin,  LogoGrab

Paul Manning, Novo Grid

Eamonn Sayers,  World Sports Team

Steve Kelly,  young Horizons

After a thoroughly enjoyable series of presentations, all present got the chance to mingle over a glass of wine.

Below is a short synopsis of this showcase of innovation and something for our budding entrepreneurs to reflect on.

The Disruptors Business Conference – 5th September 2014

On Friday September 5th, a number of MBA students, both past and present, attended Disruptors in The Marker Hotel. The one-day conference led with the tagline “Your industry is being disrupted. Are you ready?” With disruption seemingly inevitable, the conference aimed to highlight ways in which companies can be the disruptor instead of the disrupted. Thought leaders from around the world were brought together to share their unique and varied insights.

Disruption is brought about through innovation, and it is the ability to innovate that was much debated throughout the MBA. As businesses become larger and more established, they tend to become less responsive to change, and therefore are at risk of disruption from more agile young companies.

The speakers proposed many ways to stay ahead, including for example, the trend of creating startup incubation centres within large corporates to allow them stay close to the leading disruptive thinking in their industry.

While the tips and thoughts throughout the day were helpful, the value of the conference was wrapped up in its core message. Either disrupt, or be disrupted.

A special word of thanks to the organiser, John O’Loughlin (MBA 2012) for the opportunity to attend this conference.

Mark Good

Full-time MBA 2014

Upcoming MBA experience day on Saturday

With the advent of summer (or what passes for it in Ireland) preparation is almost complete for our final MBA recruitment event of the current cycle, presentations have been finalised, catering confirmed and Helen from Marketing has almost finished the name badges.  We introduced the MBA Experience day for last years intake and they’ve proven very popular and informative for those who are interested in getting a taster of what the Smurfit MBA is like.    We look forward to seeing all of those of you who’ve signed up, a reminder of the schedule for the day is at

See you Saturday.  The short video below is from a previous Experience day.

Indulging in the wake of the EMBA year 1

With much anticipation and relief, we awoke on Saturday the 17th of May 2014. No it was not a dream; we had indeed survived our first year of the EMBA.  The exams were now behind us (for the moment at least), the sun was shining and a celebratory feast was to be had that afternoon.  We were ready to party, having at least caught up on some of the sleep that we had missed during the year, the semester and the exams.

We celebrated our end to first year in Peacock Green, probably best described as a cool upmarket deli- just beside Morton’s of Station Building of Hatch Street, Upper.  We consumed a delectable four course feast of a very nice and light tomato and basil soup as a starter, followed by a mouth-watering choice of pulled pork sandwiches on hoagies, frittatas, quiches and salads, it proved hard not to ge back for seconds. At least, we pretended to be a bit healthy by having the salads, which gave us good enough reason to descend like vultures upon the homemade desserts – fruit salad, meringues of various flavours (perfectly crispy on the outside and oh so gooey on the inside), macaroons (again of a multitude of flavours and colours, a veritable rainbow) and a selection of cakes. These were then washed down by very refreshing teas and coffees which helped to increase (very slightly) the sobriety levels – it is a BYO premises and there was no drought! We spent a lovely three hours at lunch with the added company of Cormac (Corporate Finance Lecturer) and Christoph (Management Accounting Lecturer).  Throughout the afternoon, the staff at Peacock Green treated us as though we were royalty – they had obviously calculated the net present value of our presence and the potential opportunity costs, just like we had been taught!

The décor of this upmarket deli was very sympathetic to its environment and has a very nice balance. It is a cavernous space due to being part of a railway station in a former life, but they have managed to make it a funkier version of your kitchen. You know the one we would all like, rustic and yet very cool. Interestingly, you can also purchase a lot of the items that are used to decorate the tables or to serve dishes/drinks in.

After being completely satiated in Peacock Green and managing not to make a holy show of ourselves, we retired to House on Leeson Street (to do that here instead). In conjunction with our weekend classmates, we showed the others there a thing or two on the dance floor. However, as they say, what goes on tour, stays on tour!

It will take a while for us all to settle into our newly found freedom, but we look forward to that challenge.

Muireann Cullen

Midweek year 1

The Easter Bunny pays early visit to UCD Smurfit

The Easter Bunny and friend examine an easter egg

The Easter bunny made an early visit for the second year running to UCD Smurfit on Saturday 12th April to assist with an easter egg hunt run by the EMBA classes.  We arrived to find he’d been very busy laying out coloured streamers and various kinds of eggs all over the grounds.  Baskets were kindly supplied by his helpers to the hunters to assist them with keeping their finds together.

Bunny worked the crowd and made sure everyone got their share.  Also in attendance was his friend the Green Dragon who had to be coaxed around the grounds by small children who offered up easter eggs as tribute, despite the occasional roar and some very odd dance moves Dragon seemed to have a good time too.

Many thanks to Jennifer Boyer who is apparently the Easter Bunny’s contact on campus, Claire McAlistair who was on face painting duty, Ciara O’Brien who fronted the operation and most especially to Andrew ‘Easter Bunny’ Watene and Steve ‘Green Dragon’ Kelly.

The Green Dragon demands more tribute


A day at Druids Glen with the Smurfit Golfers

21st March 2014 – Druids Glen

Welcome to the first outing of Year 2 of the UCD MBA Michael Smurfit Golf Society (we really must reconsider the length of this name; we are officially open to suggestions!!). On what looked like yet more glorious weather for our prestigious society members, our combatants met with all the anticipation and excitement of Trevor Whelan going into one of Damien McLoughlin’s Marketing lectures. With a full 400% increase in participants from our first ever event, the stage was set for an exciting day’s competition.

Now unfortunately, such were Trevor Whelan, Jim Gannon and Mick O Dwyer’s enthusiasm to get started, they managed to miss the opportunity of what would have been a Hugo Boss style photoshoot, you handsome devils, we’ll get you next time. Bear in mind, these guys know how to play. Mick “I swear I’m an 18 handicapper” O Dwyer showed some delicate touches around the green, while Jim “oh did I get ANOTHER par” Gannon was easing back into the swing of things (no pun intended) after achieving 3rd place last year in Player of the Year competition, leaving Trevor “I might just fit in a quick weights session between the 9th and 10th hole” Whelan looking forlorn after many a missed opportunity, in spite of his 6 handicap.

Next up was a relatively new fourball, with our resident entrepreneurial expert Joe Kenny (WAY smarter than Bruce Martin), sales guru extraordinaire James O Rourke (actually in love with Pepsi) and our youngest, and might I add loveliest, recruits James Sammon (absolute cowboy) and Jessica Brady (golf’s first lady) – we reckon incessant flirting actually helped their scores. Moments of genius, intermingled with moments of madness, ensued as the weather turned from glorious to disastrous. Rumour has it Joe only started to play properly once the heavens opened, a stark contrast from his factor 50 wearing self in the K Club last August! The two James’s continued to battle it out leaving the deviously quiet Jessica to secretly rack up points on almost every hole (finishing with a commendable 26 points – Emma Fagan and Caroline Mackell, are you watching).

Joe, Jessica, Pepsi James and Cowboy James

Continue reading A day at Druids Glen with the Smurfit Golfers

Ireland – Realising the Potential

The CV book launch event, “Ireland – Realising the Potential,” was a beautiful evening that provided an opportunity to meet alumni and expand networks to people from varied companies. The evening was prepared far in advance by student representatives and the MBA Careers team, who contacted and invited many companies to attend. This was a special time for MBA students on the full-time and executive programmes to get together and meet guests from prestigious companies.

The evening began with a cocktail hour before welcoming two Smurfit MBA alumni speakers, Julie O’Neill and Fintan Slye, who gave accounts of their professional life leading up to becoming senior leaders in the pharmaceutical and energy sectors. By listening to them, we realized the extent of the opportunities available after an MBA. The speakers provided strong messages about passion, independence of thinking, and finding courage in his/her convictions, which are the characteristics of a leader who unites people in business. These human values ​​derive business as well as innovation, entrepreneurship, performance, incentive, investment and infrastructure development.

Listening to them, we found there are a number of routes available to each of us.
The evening continued with Dean Ciaran O’hogartaigh providing a strong message to keep, maintain and build this special link with other students who are future alumni, with the school and companies.

The evening ended with the distribution of the 2014 CV Book, the resume synthesis of the Smurfit Business School’s MBA cohort which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Everyone met afterword around a friendly nightcap.

As the Dean said: “Stay connected, Stay plugged in.”

Erwan Le Pavec

Full-time MBA 2014