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

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 Social Committee

In one of the first “class admin” sessions that we had, there were a few committees to be voted in, along with class reps. At the time, none of us really knew each other very well, so it was all going to be based on faith. The class reps sounded like important jobs, as did the liaison to the education committee. The perk from the liaison job is “free sandwiches”, and no full-time student can in good conscience turn down free food.

The final jobs were for the Social Committee. There were supposed to be five members and some representation from the various cultures in the class. Five people put up their hands, including me, and we had ourselves a committee.


Hanging out with Smurfit MBA Class
Colm, Prof. Boyle, Franklin & Megan


Three of us are Irish: Christopher, Franklin and I. Franklin had been an entrepreneur in the restaurant/catering business and his contacts are a bonus for any social committee. He always has someone in his network that can help out with social events.

The other two members are Megan, from the USA, and Nargiza (pronounced Nar-ghee-sa), from Kyrgyzstan. This multinational presence definitely helped curb the Irish trait from spending the entire budget on drink.

So far, we have organised a “one month anniversary” social evening, two “end of exams” parties, a trip to the Leinster – Munster Magner’s League , some trips to the pub to watch the Ireland Guinness Series international rugby matches, a “Vietnamese/welcome back dinner” for the start of 2011 in Koh Restaurant and a future weekend away in Leitrim Quay for a bit of boating on the Shannon and general relaxation.

We try to take into account the needs and desires of the class. We have used surveymonkey surveys to fish for ideas as well as get feedback on some of our own ideas. The most popular ones were chosen as foci for our budget.

All in all, we seem to be doing a good job in keeping the class together on a social level as well as a study level. We’ve become a very tight-knit group, but how much of that is simply down to the overall intensity of the course, rather than the socialising aspects, we may never know. But what we do know is that, on a course this intense, it is vitally important to relax and blow off steam from time to time. We will keep you posted on our activities…

– Jamie O’Connell


Vietnamese Night Out - Smurfit MBA FT MBA 2011
Vietnamese Evening, Jan 2011


Do I know exactly where my career is going?

“Who am I? What are my strengths? Where do I want to go?”

These are all very existential questions, which for a thirty-year-old person to be pondering may seem a littlebelated! However, in the context of career path planning, they are fundamental to an MBA’s post-academic professional life. The importance of addressing these questions is underlined by the fact that our full time MBA class spend up to 20% of each week’s lecture time on personal and professional development.

Often we know what we are good at, what are our values and strengths, and how we interact with others, but it can be very difficult to articulate these succinctly and to tie it all into a package which aligns with a specific future career path. In my opinion, this is the most important output of my MBA experience: clarifying my future career wants.

Continue reading Do I know exactly where my career is going?

Smurfit School’s Vietnam Connection

Each year, a group of highly talented individuals from Vietnam gets the opportunity to study for a year at UCD Smurfit under the Irish Aid Irish Development Experience Sharing (IDEAS) programme. The objective of the IDEAS Programme is to share the lessons of Ireland’s economic and social development with Vietnam. This academic year, the UCD Smurfit School has welcomed 10 students on that Programme

In end November, Orla Nugent (MBA Director) and Gillian Flanagan (Smurfit Admissions) visited Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam to promote both the Business School and the IDEAS Scholarship programme 2011/2012.

In Ho Chi Minh City, Orla and Gillian attended the QS World MBA Fair in HCM. Here they met with over fifty students who were most enthusiastic about UCD Smurfit School, studying in Ireland and the Irish Aid IDEAS Scholarship programme. They also interviewed a number of applicants who have already applied to the Scholarship programme.

Later that week, Orla and Gillian attended a meeting in the Irish Embassy in Hanoi where they met with the IDEAS Programme managers at the Embassy. At this meeting the discussion centred around the applications received to date and a plan of action for the forthcoming months. Part of the programme for the visit to Hanoi was also a visit to the residence of the Irish Ambassador, Maeve Collins, to attend the official launch of the Irish Aid IDEAS Scholarship programme for the 2011/12 academic year. This event was very well attended by interested students who were able to meet also the IDEAS Programme Alumni from the 2009/2010 Programme.

“All in all, it was a very exciting trip. We met a number of interesting applications for the IDEAS Programme 2011/2012 and we now look forward to processing all the applications”, MBA Director Orla Nugent says.

Stay tuned for an update on the IDEAS Programme and to hear from the current students on the Programme.

– Rikke, MBA Programme Manager

For more information about the IDEAS Programme,