The Business of Women’s Sport in Ireland

“Women’s sport in Ireland presents a green field site for commercial partners where they have great opportunity to shape the kind of programmes that will deliver for them in terms of consumer marketing, business to business development and staff motivation.”

That was one of a number of clear messages to emerge from yesterday’s inaugural “The Business of Women’s Sport Conference” according to organiser, Rob Hartnett from Sport for Business (that includes UCD Smurfit as a founding member).  The attendance of 100 leaders in sport and business participated in panel discussions and innovative round table sessions that included current MBA participants, UCD Ad Astra athletes and UCD’s own Dr. Ann Bourke who counts sport management as one of her fields of research.

The conference, kindly hosted by UCD Smurfit, heard from Annette Ní Dhathlaoi, Head of Marketing with Liberty Insurance on the ground breaking sponsorship of both the All Ireland Hurling and Camogie Championships; from Simon McBeth of eFlow and from Liz Ferris of the Women in Business Alliance.  They also heard from panels including Malachy Logan, Sports Editor of the Irish Times, as well as from Sue Ronan and Gemma Crowley, managers of the Irish national soccer and rugby teams, 200 Cap Hockey international Nikki Symmons, 12 time All Ireland Camogie Medal winner Mary O’Connor.

More information available in the media – Irish TimesThe Irish Examiner and Wednesday’s The Last Word(min 39).

– Michael McDonnell, MBA Programme Manager

Original source and photos courtesy of Sport for Business

MBA Experience Day 15 June 2013

On Saturday 15 June, UCD Smurfit School played host to the MBA Experience Day 2013.

MBA Director Orla Nugent summed up the sentiment of the day, “This was the first MBA Experience Day and the day was very exciting for us. It is also encouraging for us to meet new candidates and to share with them a flavour of our MBA programme”

A nice sunny morning welcomed 120 prospective MBA students to the Smurfit Campus for a busy morning of lecture, workshop, mingling and networking with the aim of giving those who might be considering an MBA the  chance to get some real insight into what it would be like.

After the welcome address by MBA Director Orla Nugent , Prof. Niamh Brennan delivered a ‘Taste’ lecture entitled Greek Chorus, Posse or Lynch Mob? The Role of Accountants in Corporate Governance. In true MBA fashion, participants were called upon to share their views -I am not sure they were expecting that!

Facilitator Fintan Ryan gave a taste of the Leadership Development Programme and soon got everybody in the room talking about dolphins, owls, panthers and peacocks! MBA Careers Manager Brian Marrinan talked about the Careers Programme and some of the activities scheduled over the course of the MBA, referencing “The Bachelor”.

On a more serious note, Prof. Pat Gibbons and Prof. Damien McLoughlin both shared their insights to the Smurfit MBA programme and the MBA Admissions Manager of course gave some tips and tricks as to how to submit the best MBA application.

Finishing off the day was a networking lunch where MBA Experience Day participants got a chance to network with and ask questions to the MBA team, current MBA students, MBA Alumni and faculty. The fact that the networking lunch ran until 4pm that sunny afternoon makes the MBA Experience Day a great day in my books and I am hoping to see many of the people I spoke to that day back on Campus whether this August or next!


– Rikke Budolfsen, MBA Programme Manager

MBA Thought Leadership Forum and CV Book Launch

Earlier this week, the first MBA Thought Leadership Forum took place in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

The event, jointly organised by the Smurfit MBA and the MBA Association of Ireland, featured a panel discussion on the topic of ‘Stop, Start, Continue’  and an opportunity for our next generation of leaders to discuss what can be done to avoid the mistakes of the past and what we can do to build for the future, hence the topic theme “Start, Stop, Continue”.

Each panelist gave their thoughts and insights on what the Irish people need to start doing, stop doing and continue doing to deliver future success for Ireland in a global context.

Professor Niamh Brennan kindly chaired the event, with Hugo McNeill, Managing Director of Goldman Sachs; John Moran, Secretary General of the Department of Finance and Anne Nolan, Chief Executive of the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association on the panel.

The event also marked the launch of the UCD Smurfit MBA CV Book – Class of 2013!

– Rikke Budolfsen, MBA Programme Manager

A few highlights,

Smurfit MBA Ad Competition

Thursday, May 2nd, marked the first inaugural full-time MBA video ad competition.  The idea was for teams of three to make a 3 min video concept with the theme of “the MBA experience”.  There were no other rules and it was a real unknown as to what to expect.

We assembled at the Hibernian Club on St. Stephen’s Green for the premiere of the nine video submissions and were delighted to have Professor Pat Gibbons in attendance to adjudicate on concept and entertainment value.

Inevitably, hilarity ensued and the videos demonstrated a huge amount of creativity that exists within the class.  No two videos were alike and there were some interesting insights and perspectives that might never have been aired if not for the unorthodox format.  It’s reassuring to know that careers in acting, music and voiceovers are now a viable BATNA for many.

David Kelly

Thanks to the MBA office for supporting the event [MBA Office: Thanks David and Deborah for organising it]. The light hearted winning entry can be viewed here: MBA Ad Comp (not available on mobile devices)

Three exams down, four more to go…

-David Kelly, FT MBA 2012/13

UCD Smurfit MBA invites BizWorld to Carysfort National School.

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

– Michael McDonnell, MBA Programme Manager

Getting out and about

Last Friday was one of those days: the sun was shining, people were smiling and wearing shades for the first time in a long time.  Several of us met up at the Dublin Convention Centre to attend a US Embassy event on the topic of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – a proposal to reduce trade barriers between the US and EU.  The breakfast meeting was chaired by Margaret E. Ward of the Irish Times and speakers included Minster Lucinda Creighton; US Ambassador to the EU, William Kennard; head of the US Chamber of Commerce, Thomas J. Donohue; and the inimitable Michael O’Leary of Ryanair.  Having as it does one of the strongest relationships with the US of all EU countries, it was appropriate that this was being worked on during Ireland’s EU presidency.  As the global economic axis takes a distinct turn to the east, it is of huge importance to us in Europe and indeed in Ireland that trade with the US is facilitated and supported at every step.

I left the Convention Centre to join my classmates across the river at Google’s headquarters for a site visit.  The whole area around Barrow St and the docks is testament to the strong relationship we have with corporate America and the mutual benefits that can accrue from this relationship.  Looking around the famous Google canteen (where the food is delicious by the way), I was reminded how important our relationship with the US is and how we need to nurture that relationship and never take it for granted.  The tech hub that is being created in Dublin, mainly by US companies, could offer this country a sustainable competitive advantage for decades to come.  As young Irish people delve into the technology of Google, Twitter, Facebook, Hubspot, Dropbox et al. the potential is there for an incredible upsurge in Irish tech companies who will sustain and grow our ailing economy in the digital world we now inhabit.  If the recent Dubstarts jobs fair is anything to go by, there’s plenty of burgeoning Irish talent with great ideas already out there and ready to take on the world.

Google itself was a fascinating place to visit.  They have all the stuff you hear about, the foosball tables, bean bags etc, but what’s most impressive is the passion in the voices of their staff when they talk about their work.  They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and Google certainly proved this when our site leader, Jane, told us we were going to undertake a project.  Cool, I thought, only in the door and already I’m working for Google.  Each of our six teams was given forty minutes to see how we could help a business drive traffic towards its product using Google’s products and services.  Each team would present its case and a winner would be selected.  There’s nothing like a bit of competition to get an MBA class going and the next forty minutes were hell-for-leather.  Eventually my team was lucky enough to be chosen as the winners and we received some great Google goodies!  I think we won because our team had a great blend of thinkers – some creative, some logical.  By combining these talents we got a great concept and built solid steps around achieving that concept.  It was certainly gratifying to be selected by the Google staff as having offered the best solutions to their business problem from a very talented group of MBA students.

Unfortunately, like all good things, it came to an end, and some of us headed back to Blackrock for Friday afternoon classes, but certainly with an eye to the future and a great degree of optimism.

Morgan Mangan

– Morgan Mangan, FT MBA 2012-13

EMBA Yr 1 Social in the Officers Mess

A fifty strong gang from across all three EMBA YR1 classes elected to drop the books and let the hair down for a social night in the Defence Forces military Barracks on the 23rd of March.

The evening kicked off with a lively drinks reception in the visitors centre were everyone was enlightened on the eventful history of Cathal Brugha Barracks. There were some surprised expressions in the crowd to hear of some of the happenings inside the gates over the years. It was certainly an eye opener for those who would not have been previously familiar with the finer details of Irish history over the past century and a half.

We moved from there to the Officers Mess where we indulged in the military’s finest cuisine! It wasn’t long before the weekend [class] crew had the wine opened and began to set the pace. Spirits were high and the “craic” as one says was mighty.

The meal complete we retired to the bar to enjoy the rest of the evening.  If the event was to be judged on the amount of people who stayed until the end well it would surely be marked as a great success, with many moving to the realms of Lesson Street to perfect their dance moves once the bar closed! In all the event provided an excellent opportunity for all of us to get to know and network with counterparts many of whom we would not have seen since the induction week.

Many thanks to all who attended, no doubt we will all see out the last few academic weeks of year one with success and hopefully we will soon meet again in high spirits.

– Conor Ryan, EMBA MidWeek, 2012-14

Executive MBA Family Day

It’s easy to forget that your class mates are actually people with lives outside of the this world with husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends and children – and not merely fellow captives trying to help you get through the many, various assignments! So with the goal of getting to know our class mates a little better and having some harmless fun we conceived of the idea of the eMBA Family Day.

We are a time poor group at the moment with little capacity for extravagant party planning so our core focus in getting the event organised was to pool everyone’s talents and resources to see what we could come up with. Before we knew it we found we had an ‘Egg Hunt Director’, Jenn Boyer (EMBA Weekend), who brought significant experience from her childhood in the US, a jewellery designer class mate with a flair for face painting (Claire McAllister, EMBA Weekend), and the offer of a 7 feet tall dragon costume from a class mate’s marketing department! With these various resources and the support of the MBA office the eMBA Family Day Egg Hunt and Picnic was launched!

The path of the MBA student is never smooth and despite the fact that almost every Saturday that the weekend group has spent in Blackrock has been bathed in glorious sunshine, the day of the egg hunt coincided with the torrential rain and floods in Dublin. Not a group to be easily defeated, we brainstormed, innovated, discussed and debated and quickly relocated the party indoors and crated an indoor Easter woodland.

More than 15 families with over 20 children and even a few grandparents attended the event, eating approximately 2 metric tonnes of chocolate! The children were very excited to meet the eMBA Easter Bunny (graciously played by James O’Rourke, EMBA Weekend) and were a little astounded to encounter the eMBA Friendly Dragon (a stunning performance by Steve Kelly, EMBA Weekend). Despite our various obstacles and limited time we were delighted with the success of the event and are already looking forward to a bigger and better event for Year 2.

In addition to the kid’s enjoyment it was great to see the partners of the eMBA class mates spend some time together in such a fun setting – to commiserate over their missing spouses in some cases, to regale everyone with tales of practice presentations in front of the fire in others! There is a life outside of the eMBA, even if it’s sometimes easy to forget, so it’s good to give ourselves a little reminder every once in a while so that we remember why we’re doing this.

– Ciara O’Brien, EMBA Weekend 2012-14

Vietnamese Culture Night at UCD Smurfit

A few weeks ago, Smurfit School played host to the Vietnamese Culture Night, celebrating the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. The event was organised by the IDEAS Programme participants in connection with the Vietnamese Youths and Students In Ireland organisation and all proceeds went to the Vietnamese charity Only Rice is Not Enough.

The event included singing and dancing performances, quiz, photo booth with national costumes,  souvenir sales, children’s entertainment and of course Vietnamese food and drink.

About 400 people attended the event, both the Vietnamese community, fellow students and staff, and Irish families who had adopted children from Vietnam and more than €2200 was raised for the charity. Overall, a great success and can’t wait to attend next year’s event!

– Rikke Budolfsen, MBA Programme Manager

Semester 1, Round 2

Back after the mini-break in October and two modules, Financial Reporting and Business & Society, completed with two new modules, Corporate Finance and Performance Driven Marketing, in their stead.  Corporate Finance has introduced some concepts that I wasn’t aware of prior to this and I thought our first group technical problem was a valuable learning experience in how finance isn’t as precise as I might have thought but involves making significant assumptions. Performance Driven Marketing is very interactive with Professor McLoughlin not letting anyone shy away and hide behind the classroom desks. The case studies are very insightful and a great method of explaining frameworks.

The juggling of multiple project balls is well and truly being tested and refined at the moment and the arrival of Daylight Saving Time did not have any appreciable effect on my sleep-wake cycle.  I feel that the learnings from the individual modules are starting to become integrated and enhancing participation in the various classes.

Have not decided yet which optional modules to sit next semester, which will depend on availability. I hope that the information evening next week will help to crystallise my thoughts on this.

Looking forward to some interesting evening events in the next couple of weeks. The lecture on “How innovation and science policy can inspire entrepreneurship to solve real world problems” in TCD next Wednesday has a good line-up of speakers and delegates, so hopefully I can still get a place at it. The MBAAI are holding on “Innovation and the MBA” event on Wednesday, November 21st, with three speakers who have applied the skills learned during their MBAs to entrepreneurship. Particularly interested in the talk by Ross O’Neill, CEO and founder of MuteButton, on the non-invasive technology he has developed to treat tinnitus.

– Cathal O’Ceallaigh, FT MBA 2012/13