The Sunday Business Post – MBA Scholarship

UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

The Sunday Business Post, in association with UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, is offering one exceptional candidate the chance of a lifetime; An MBA scholarship to an upper value of €34,500, for the Full-Time or Executive (part-time) MBA Programme, starting in late August 2017.

Over four weeks from Sunday October 30th to Sunday November 27th, applicants for the Scholarship must complete Stage 1 of the Scholarship Application Process, which involves completing a short entry form and answering 3 GMAT questions correctly.

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Entrants who answer the 3 GMAT questions correctly and who also fulfill the minimum UCD Smurfit MBA entry requirements, will be invited to complete Stage 2 of the process which involves completing a full application to the Smurfit MBA Programme, if they have not already done so.

Candidates deemed eligible to be considered for the MBA Programme will then be invited for interview,  with an overall winner selected by a panel of judges.

Before commencing your Scholarship entry, please review the entry criteria and terms & conditions which can be found here.

How to Apply

To enter the Sunday Business Post MBA Scholarship 2016 you must complete the online entry form by the deadline of Sunday November 27th.

Click Here to Enter

Participants who fulfill the minimum entry requirements for the Smurfit MBA, as outlined above and who answer the 3 GMAT questions correctly, will be eligible to progress to Stage 2 of the competition.

If you have any questions about the MBA Programme or application process, please email mba@ucd.ie

Avril Donohue ~ MBA Alumni Relations, Communications & Events

UCD Smurfit MBA Foundation Week

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When I joined the military 10 years ago, we had to complete an induction week. The week was designed to give us a ‘soft landing’ into the organisation and dismay any anxiety or fear. Now, ten years later I have completed a similar week as part of the EMBA Programme in UCD Michael Smurfit Business School and the induction week seemed to have quite a different objective; a hard landing!

If I was to walk away from the Programme now, the week, as a standalone undertaking, would have been worth attending. Although ‘life-changing’ may be a little dramatic, it certainly challenged me, questioned some of my long-standing beliefs, taught me several practical life-skills and allowed me to meet some truly interesting people.

The Why Marketing Lecture with Prof Damien Mc Loughlin
The Why Marketing Lecture with Prof Damien Mc Loughlin

Although I have attended college before, UCD Michael Smurfit feels different when you arrive. The campus feels modern and all the staff (and fellow students) are particularly friendly. After arriving we received our ‘welcome pack’ and then sat through a series of presentations. The faculty introduced themselves and very soon the message was clear; hard work was the name of the game and there would be no hiding from it. The straight forwardness was refreshing; we all knew where we stood.

Tuesday involved a day-long team building exercise. I found myself at the edge of my comfort-zone before the end of the day, leading the class in the final challenge. I had been determined not to risk exposing myself to a position like this so early on but here I was. In the military, standing out early in a course of training is usually a bad thing. I expected that leading a group of natural leaders like those who might enroll in an MBA Programme, would lead to a ‘too many chiefs’ situation. Surprisingly there were no counter-ideas or subversive actions after I voiced my plan. Each individual acknowledged the action required to achieve the teams objective and played their part diligently. I have never experienced a team of this size come together and operate with such efficiency, in such a short time.

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The rest of the week saw us meet our study groups, complete a day-long business simulation, practice our presentation skills and learn about our personality styles and those of others. I left on Friday, looking forward to seeing my new classmates again and in particular working with my new study group.

No one could say they weren’t challenged, no one could say they didn’t learn something new and it’s pretty clear what lies ahead: hard work, the development of great friendships and the opportunity to overcome huge challenges.

To quote Gordon B. Hinckley – “Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds”.

Gearóid O’Briain ~ Executive MBA, Year 1

A Smurfit MBA’s Startup – Hospital Contact

Dr Joe Sheehan, Radiologist Registrar,Ger Bowens from MSD, and Dr Donal Reddan pictured at the launch of the WNWHG App outside Galway University Hospital. Photo: Reg Gordon
Dr Joe Sheehan, Radiologist Registrar,Ger Bowens from MSD, and Dr Donal Reddan pictured at the launch of the WNWHG App outside Galway University Hospital. Photo: Reg Gordon

As a 22-year-old with two Bachelors of Science degrees to my name and 1 year of medical school under my belt, joining the MBA class of 2009 at Smurfit was the greatest risk of my very early career. That risk turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. For the first year of the MBA, the Celtic tiger was still roaring and I got a first-hand look at how not to do business. In the classroom, we were learning the bedrock principles of business and outside the walls of the school that bedrock was being broken by far too many people. To this day I can almost pinpoint when I realised it was all about to crash. We had just gathered for our first lecture on a sunny spring Friday and I was reading the cover of the financial times to see that RBS had announced a rights issue. I asked our economics professor about it and we then spent the first twenty minutes of class discussing what a rights issue was and what it all meant. From that point on, we had a separate Harvard business case study being played out in real life on a weekly basis. I remember thinking to my myself at the time that this is the best learning experience of my life and to this day I still believe that.

Since graduating from the MBA, I have gone on to finish medicine and am nearing completion of my training as a Radiologist in Galway. I have continued to use the skills I learned in the MBA on a daily basis as a director on the board of the Galway Clinic and as a co-founder of a company called Hospital Contact. Hospital Contact is a start-up and is the place where my MBA has been most useful. As a student, I concentrated heavily on entrepreneurial studies and took all the electives the school offered. Those classes opened my eyes to the fact that a start-up is hard work with little early payoff. But I also realised, through that second year of MBA discussions, that the company that sticks it out through the hard times will flourish in the good times. Hospital Contact makes healthcare related smart phone apps with our flagship app used by over 10,000 healthcare professionals in Ireland. The world of tech is full of ups and downs, but as my start-up now begins to flourish I know that without my Smurfit MBA the company might not have lasted through the past two years. Thank you Smurfit for the great education and happy 50th birthday to the Smurfit MBA.

Joe Sheehan ~ Executive MBA 2009

MBA International Study Tour 2016 – UAE & India

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Visit to University of Dubai – Dr. Eesa Mohammed Bastaki takes a selfie with the Smurfit MBA group

On a wet, windy and dark night in September, having just returned to year two of the EMBA after having had the summer off, signing up for the 2016 MBA International Study Tour was a no-brainer. The trip came highly recommended from alumni, promoted as a once in a life time experience – eight days away from regular course work and assignments and the office for the EMBAs – four days in Dubai followed by another four in Mumbai.

We departed from Terminal 1 Saturday evening, March 12th and arrived in Dubai in the early hours of Sunday morning. There was no time for jet lag and once we had checked into our hotel, we were straight onto the coach to go to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. The centre strives to remove barriers between people of different nationalities and to raise awareness of the UAEs local culture, customs and religion. Our host Nasif attempted to break down the barriers to allow us to ask the questions we would otherwise have been too apprehensive to ask. For example, “why are Emirati men allowed to have multiple wives but women are only allowed one husband”. His response was, let’s just say, eye opening.

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Dr. Eesa Mohammed Bastaki & Professor Pat Gibbons

After some traditional Emirati food for lunch, we were given a tour of the mosque where we were informed about prayer times and the traditional clothing worn by Emirati men and women. Emirati men wear the traditional ankle length pristine white shirt, the Kandura and Emirati women wear the black Abaya which pretty much covers every inch of their bodies. As an example Nasif asked for a volunteer to dress up in the traditional Abaya to which I gladly stepped forward – I was fairly confident this would never happen again. Nasif attempted to convince us that the black material reflected the sun light and was cooler for the women. Well, it must have been thirty degrees or more, sleep deprivation was setting in, and my conservative dress under the black Abaya, lead me to strongly disagree with this theory. I was covered head to toe, even my eyes. Nobody could see me, but I could see everything – ideal for people watching, funnily enough, was not one of Nasif’s selling points for the traditional dress. I should have put that in the suggestion box.

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Day one was almost over but it set the tone for the remainder of the week ahead. Day two consisted of trips to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, the Dubai International Financial Centre, and the University of Dubai. Day three brought us back to the airport for a meeting with Dubai Airports, followed by a trip to the Jumeirah hospitality group, the company responsible for Burj Al Arab, the world’s only seven-star hotel. We were so impressed with the Jumeirah group that we felt it was necessary to inspect one of their properties. Eight dedicated students took a trip to the Burj Al Arab at 11:30 that evening to see if it was worth all the notoriety. Unfortunately, a condition of the booking required us to sample a number of cocktails, to which we dutifully obliged. Getting up at 5am the next morning for our flight to Mumbai was not easy but just shows the true dedication to academia required of an MBA student.

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Before moving on to our adventures in Mumbai, it is important not to forget our meeting at the real estate developers, Nakheel. Nakheel are responsible for The Palm, a trilogy of man-made islands that take the shape of a cultural icon, The World, a collection of private islands that form a map of the continents of the world off the coast of Dubai, the Waterfront, the world’s largest waterfront development, which has received widespread international acclaim. We went to this meeting not expecting much. We figured we would be in a dark meeting room and presented with pictures of these famous landmarks, something we could have done on our own time. What happened next, none of us was prepared for. They took the group out on two speed boats, and gave us a scenic view of The Palm and The World – how many people can say that they travelled the world in 30 minutes? It was a little windy to say the least, but the absolutely surreal experience topped off what was truly, a once in a life time experience.

On to Mumbai, sore heads included. No sooner had we left the airport terminal building, we drove straight past the slums. I immediately questioned why I signed up for the trip – Dubai seemed an awful long way away. Our first stop was at the world’s largest open air laundrette. You will notice a reoccurring theme on this trip – the world’s largest open air laundrette, the world’s tallest building, the world’s only seven-star hotel….

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Our next stop, (this was all before we even made it to our hotel – remember, sore heads and a lot to experience in Mumbai), was at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, one of the several locations targeted in the 2008 terrorist attacks. Our guide gave us a quick tour and a brief outline of the 2008 attacks before we were back on the bus and onto the next location – the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, not where we were staying unfortunately, apparently it was fully booked! After all, it was the first stop of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s recent trip to Mumbai. While we unfortunately didn’t gain entrance at this stage, we were able to properly visit it on our last day in Mumbai where we were able to learn of the events that took place in the hotel on November 26th, 2008. If you don’t know what happened in Mumbai that day, I would highly recommend you check it out. It is such a remarkable story of truly inspirational people with extreme courage and integrity that Harvard have even written a case study about it.

Too much happened in Mumbai to outline everything but as a summary we visited some of the biggest companies in India. The speakers were exceptional and answered all of the many questions of 20 odd extremely inquisitive MBA students. The companies welcomed us in the traditional Indian way by feeding us at any available opportunity. In India, a guest is to be treated like God, which was clear from all interactions observed throughout the trip. One of the meetings that deserves to be highlighted was the trip to the OSCAR foundation (the Organisation for Social Change, Awareness and Responsibility) which is a not-for-profit organisation which provides high quality football coaching to underprivileged boys and girls in Mumbai and across different areas of India. OSCAR runs a unique programme that not only teaches sport to children and youths but also helps them to understand the value of education. A condition of all youths and children joining OSCAR is that they remain in school. To learn all about what the foundation was achieved since inception and the challenges it has overcome along the route is another inspiration story that all of us were genuinely privileged to experience.

It is difficult to outline any one particular meeting or incidence during the eight days that truly sums up the experience gained from going on the trip. Personally, the trip to Nahkeel and the Burj Al Arab made Dubai special, but once we stepped onto Indian soil, Mumbai stole the show. We were shown such exceptional warmth everywhere we turned. As part of our trip to the OSCAR foundation we were given a tour of the slums – this was extremely intrusive for the inhabitants, having complete strangers wandering around their homes. But the Mumbaikars welcomed us with the biggest smiles I have ever seen. Some of the group even played football with them on our last day – I could be wrong, but I think we decided it was a draw!

The trip to Dubai and Mumbai wasn’t just about academia, it was a life experience none of us will ever forget. It has also taught us to realise the many differences in cultures that are all too often misunderstood. I have a new found respect for both the Emirati and Indians – something you couldn’t possibly even begin to experience from a book.

Dorothy Chestnutt ~ Executive MBA, Year 2

An MBA… So What’s It Really Like?

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As I near the end of Semester Two of my first year I have reflected on my experience so far. I thought I’d write a post which, had I read one year ago, would have given me a real insight into what was in store for me when I was considering the MBA Programme at Smurfit Business School. So here it goes………

Semester and Grading Structure – so what do you actually do?

Each semester has 4 modules (subjects). You’ll be assigned, by the school, to your study-team with 4 other classmates which will last for each semester. Some modules will be fully graded on the basis of a combination of individual or study-team assignments. Others will be graded by means of assignment (team or individual) coupled with an end of semester exam. If you have never experienced the delight of the Exam Hall in the RDS –this pleasure awaits! Some of the team assignments involve studying a particular case study or topic and formally presenting this to the full class. Your team’s class presentations will include low cost US airline Southwest Airlines (HR Strategy aspect) and Online UK supermarket Ocado (Supply Chain aspect). Every two weeks the Competitive Strategy module will require your team to prepare a one page assessment report in response to a problem outlined in the assigned case study on topics ranging from the Asian airline industry to an online dating company. You will learn.

Skills development

The program will take you out of your comfort zone straight away. If you are a reluctant orator / presenter, the program will assist in the development of your skills. In the opening orientation week Paul Slattery will give you a small taster of his Presentation Skills Workshop. You will have an opportunity to sign up for a 1 day workshop with Paul later in Semester 1 – make sure you sign up! You will have plenty of opportunity to practice and refine your presentation skills (and gain confidence) in front of your class as part of your presentation assignments. You will develop.

Developing Skills
Developing Skills

Resilience

You’ll figure out that your resilience is put to the test. Semester 1 is “full-on” – by week 5 you will wonder if you (or anyone!) can manage the combined workload of (1) your commitments to team assignments (2) your own assignments (3) your preparation for next week’s lectures and (4) all the while doing the regular 9 to 5 day job. By week 12, you will know that somehow you made it and that you won’t have left anyone behind. You’ll figure out how to make it work, how to find time and how not to waste time.  You’ll get your reading and preparation for the next classes done before work a few mornings a week and you’ll spend one day out of the weekend between study-team meetings and assignments. Occasionally on weekends you’ll need to do more but life will go on. By Semester 2 – you’ll feel much more in control, less daunted and more organised.  You will balance.

Not just Teamwork but Friendships

You’ve heard lots about the emphasis on teamwork. Trust me, you’ll form close friendship bonds that will last beyond the 2 years of the program. You will quickly learn to trust your assigned teammates not just in the narrow sense of the course work but in a broader sense. You’ll get to know them on a personal level and them you – you’ll closely share the ups and downs of the MBA life experience with them. Just before the end of semester 1, when final exams are closely coming into focus, you’ll find that you’ve given up a whole Saturday to coach your fellow teammates and some other classmates on an exam subject that you studied before. You’re motivated to ensure that no one is left behind. You will impact.

You will belong.

 Derek Anderson ~ Executive MBA

Who run the world? GIRLS!

WMBA Lunch at the weekend
WMBA Lunch over the weekend

Looking around our current MBA classes, we see a group that is mainly male dominated. Recognising the power of the women in our MBA classes, we recently set up a Women of the MBA group to connect both current students and alumni with one another, to create a community, to network and to have fun!

The issue of gender bias is widely debated and by getting together as a group we hope to further debate these issues and break through the fear and the barriers that so many women face. Psychologist Pauline Clance, coined the term “Imposter Syndrome”, after an interviewee in their research study said she “felt like an imposter, here with all these really bright people”. She suggests that it is particularly prevalent and intense among high achieving women. We, the WMBA, are high achieving women! The idea for setting up this group partly stemmed from a discussion among a few of our classmates on the Imposter Syndrome and how we can support each other within the MBA.

Groups like the WMBA encourage us to discuss these issues, get over our fears and raise awareness of gender bias. While we hope to get an official launch event with Alumni and current students off the ground soon, we have attended some external events together including IMAGE breakfast events, the Smurfit 30% Club event and more recently we had a lunch for current EMBA and FT MBA female students.  Our LinkedIn group allows us to share events, articles and spark interesting online conversations.

Finally, we are conscious that we do not want to exclude all the wonderful gentleman in our classes and create a gender divide! It is even rumoured that some of the current male students refer to the WMBA as our “secret society”, so I hope this unveils some of the secrecy (we’re not actually talking about you!) and we will definitely welcome you to our future events…

Ruth Mc Avoy ~ Executive MBA

Business Case for Corporate Investment in MBA Training

The Executive MBA is the perfect ‘next step’ if you wish to develop your business acumen, leadership and management skills to enable you to move to the next level.  It is also an ideal spring-board if you are considering a career change.

You will benefit both personally and professionally.  You will bring new ideas and fresh thinking back to your work place.  During the programme you will continue to work, meaning that all your new skills, knowledge and motivation is transferred back into your organisation after every module.

The Executive MBA course is intense and you will need the support and commitment of your employer.

Why invest in me?

Prepare a business case outlining your key contributions; include deadlines met, targets achieved, improvements made and any other achievements.

  • Develop short, medium and long-term goals linked to the business objectives.
  • Relate to your current role by identifying relevant topics and/or modules on the programme. Map the progression route as set out in your Personal Development Plan (PDP).
  • Demonstrate how your new skills and knowledge will have a positive impact on the organisation with knowledge sharing.
  • You will develop relationships with other professionals to build professional networks.

Why choose UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School?

The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School is a global leader in business educationSince 2000 our Executive MBA is the only one in Ireland that is included in the Financial Times Global Top 100 MBA Rankings. The Smurfit Business School also holds triple accreditation from the US (AACSB), European (Equis) and UK (AMBA) accrediting bodies.

  • There are over 100 internationally recruited faculty members.
  • You will connect with a lifelong network of over 30,000 postgraduate business alumni and 3,500 MBA alumni located around the world. Industry links exist between the school with national and global organisations.
  • You benefit from team and project based learning which allows you to draw on the knowledge and expertise of your classmates (average 12 years practical experience). This contributes to an enriched learning experience, while developing fresh insights and problem-solving skills.
  • The global modules and international orientation are critical for operating in today’s worldwide business environment.
  • A tailored leadership development programme is a central pillar of the UCD Smurfit Executive MBA which focuses on developing ‘soft’ skills to manage the ‘self’ and others.

What impact and gains can employers expect?

At its very simplest, the Executive MBA will enable you to do a better job in your current role.  You will be prepared for new responsibilities and equipped to make a more effective contribution to your organisation.

  • Through the Leadership Development Programme you will make a positive impact on your team and your colleagues.
  • The practical-academic blend of the Executive MBA is devised and taught by a mix of business experts and academic thinkers, ensuring an injection of ‘fresh thinking’ into your organisation.
  • There is access to expert advice, cutting-edge research and valuable business contacts from a wide variety of sectors/industries and geographies.
  • Students form a greater understanding of the complexity of modern business challenges. You are better equipped to make informed decisions which can have cross functional impacts.
  • We know our graduates make considerable contributions to their organisations. They tell us that they are more confident, more valuable in meetings, calmer, more efficient and better able to relate to and communicate with co-workers in other functions.
  • The programme helps employers in their investment in managerial development. It supports the development of high potential employees and succession planning strategies.

What support do I need?

  1. Study leave is necessary to complete assignments, project work and to attend classes each week. This is usually given in addition to leave or holiday entitlements.
  2. Ask to shadow a colleague or work in a different area of the organisation to underpin study topics.
  3. Full or partial sponsorship can be provided to cover tuition fees. You may be asked to sign a retention agreement. This will oblige you to remain with your organisation for a number of years in return for sponsorship. Only agree to this if you are comfortable doing so
  4. Explore performance-based sponsorship which is dependent upon completion of a module and/or achievement of specific grades.

Next Steps:

  • Identify the decision-maker for graduate education sponsorship or speak to your line manager.
  • Schedule a meeting allowing sufficient time for a discussion. Give adequate time before internal deadlines.
  • Present a solid business case for the investment, balancing the costs and benefits.
  • Highlight your own investment in terms of time and commitment and your continued commitment to your job.
  • Have a plan as to how your workload might be handled around key exam times, how you are going to manage your deadlines and fulfilling your commitments during your time off.

An Executive MBA and a challenging job go hand-in-hand. One informs and improves the experience of the other.

We are here to help you take the next step, talk to us today on +353 1 716 8862 or email gillian.durnin@ucd.ie

PROBLEM STATEMENT: How do we get from Dublin to Montreal?

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The Smurfit MBA Molson Team. L-R – James Owens, Cormac Kelleher, David Cashman & Conor Connolly

While the bags may have been packed, the airline certainly was not ready to let us go. The beep of a phone at 5.03am on January 2nd casually notified us that our flight was cancelled due to ‘aircraft maintenance’ – no other information provided! For the Smurfit Molson team, this was the first challenge – how do we get to the competition? A quick scan of the airline’s site indicated that all flights that day were full (…well of course they were, it was the 2nd of January after all!). Undeterred, data analysis revealed alternative routes via Heathrow / Paris / Schiphol / Madrid as potential alternatives. Two issues were apparent …time wise it would be tight, but more importantly, could we talk our way into getting those four seats? What ensued was a masterclass in strategy, supply chain management, and flattery (hello to Francine in United) …or at least that is what Cormac is contending. However, he must have done something right as we did manage to secure the seats andthe Smurfit Molson team were off!

How we traveled to Montreal in the end!
How we traveled to Montreal in the end!

The Molson MBA Case Competition is an international case competition organised by students, for students. It involves analysing cases in a time pressured environment, offering students an opportunity to put into practice newly acquired skills and competencies learned during the MBA curriculum. Students are further required to draft recommendations and implementation plans which are then challenged by senior panel of judges. A hectic week exposed us to real life and current business issues from various multinational companies. Our recommended strategies drew from our supply chain, HR, finance, strategy, marketing, and OB learnings. Indeed, the closing ceremony seemed the most apt when ‘learning by doing’ was referenced. The event is most certainly a great opportunity for students considering a career in consulting or anyone keen to get some Capstone practice in early!

The highlight of the week, without a doubt, was the live case study when students were presented with a board of directors of a new venture seeking a growth strategy. The board was comprised of the owners of a large well known luxury cosmetics brand, one of the largest fruit producers in Spain and a tech company who had been instrumental in launching the internet in Holland. These directors had recently launched the next generation in cosmetics – functional beauty products in a drinkable form. Packed with macro-antioxidants, BEAUTY & GO’s products are positioned as having a positive effect on your body via a selection of ingredients extracted from fruit skins. The company were looking to the Molson participants to advise them on their expansion strategy and how they should go-to-market with their products. Clearly the live case presented something of a conundrum for the Smurfit team … four Irish fellas advising on a beauty care strategy! Despite our initial apprehension, the team drew from ‘surprising’ hidden depths of SME knowledge with Conor’s slogan ‘From Skin to Skin’ getting a special mention from the judges.

The week was far from all work, as we also enjoyed an equally active social diary. Strong networking opportunities were afforded during the week with a particular emphasis on integration between the schools and meeting fellow participants. Throughout the week, we attended great events including an ice hockey game, a comedy gig, and a fancy dress party which were all equally excellent. We are happy to report that the Smurfit team’s creativity in the fancy dress party was widely acknowledged and appreciated! Also a special thanks to the UCD Alumni Association in Montreal who kindly hosted a reception for us in the Irish Embassy Pub & Grill.

After an uneventful return flight back to Dublin, there has been much reflection and discussion in relation to the trip. Are we glad we did it? Would we recommend it? The answer to these questions is a resounding yes. The competition itself provided immense practical experience and was a super opportunity to ground and pull together all our key learnings from the past three semesters. As a group we found the experience to be invaluable, and one that really illustrates the values of hard-work, teamwork and the spirit of collaboration.

We would like to thank:

  • The John Molson School of Business for hosting such a fantastic event;
  • Pat Gibbons, our coach, for all his help and guidance over the week;
  • Paul Loftus who organised the UCD Alumni reception in Montreal;
  • The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School for offering us the wonderful opportunity to take part in such a prestigious event.

James Owens, Cormac Kelleher, David Cashman & Conor Connolly ~ Executive MBA

50th Anniversary of First MBA Graduate Awards

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The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School is about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its first MBA graduate awards.

The school’s Executive MBA (EMBA) programme was established in 1964 by the late Prof Michael MacCormac, who designed the course on a transatlantic voyage following the completion of his MBA in Harvard. “The EMBA is a two-year part-time course and the first students graduated in 1966,” says MBA programme director Orla Nugent.

“The full-time one-year MBA programme began 25 years ago in 1991. The Smurfit School MBA is the only one in Ireland to hold the triple-crown accreditation from AACSB in the US, EQUIS in Europe and AMBA in the UK. We also have consistently maintained our presence in the Financial Times highly competitive global MBA rankings.”

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She describes the courses as having three elements – IQ, EQ and RQ, IQ being the academic element, EQ leadership and personal development and RQ dealing with reputation.

“The IQ piece is the academic curriculum and teaches you about all aspects of business. It is very much based on action learning with classroom work combined with case studies and work with companies. Students also learn from their classmates.

“The MBA brand is only as good as the people in the class and when we select people for the programme following the admission interviews, we try to have people who are a good fit and who are committed to the course. Students find themselves sitting with people who have completely different world views and ways of interpreting data.

“It is a very collegiate and supportive environment where people share experiences and learn from one another.”

While the academic curriculum is the backbone of the programme, Nugent stresses the importance of the EQ element.

“This is about leadership development and complements the academic work,” she says. “It’s where people get a chance to step back and reflect on who they are, where they are and how they got there.

“They can think about their personal style, how they influence others and how they can be better leaders and better at what they do.”

Students also receive non-judgemental advice and coaching. “It’s about giving people space to think about who they are, what they do and their personal development. The best leaders practise mindfulness even if they don’t know they’re doing it; they step off the treadmill and take time to think.”

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The third element deals with careers. The dedicated MBA career development team works with students to define their career vision and equip them with the career-related skills, know-how and confidence to pursue their own post-MBA career goals.

Through a variety of tools, workshops, events, one-on-one career advice and access to other resources, students are helped to take the best possible advantage of the new opportunities which the MBA qualification will open up for them.

It’s more than just about their next steps after graduation, though. “We try to give people the skills they need to manage their careers throughout their lives,” Nugent says. “It’s a question of what story you tell about yourself and what story others tell about you.

“Many of our students on the EMBA programme will not have done interviews for quite a while and we prepare them for that experience as well.”

Networking is also important. “This is a key part of the programme,” she says. “You are going to make friends on the programme. The course is demanding and time-consuming but there is a great sense among the students that they are all in it together.

“Students build up networks based on friendships and relationships. We run courses in networking to help people with this aspect. It’s amazing how many people think they are good at it but are actually quite poor.”

There is a strong international element with both the full-time and part-time programmes featuring international study trips.

“We all need to be more globally aware. In the first semester of the full-time course, students have the option of visiting one of leading business schools in the world for a global network immersion week and in the second semester, they visit South Africa, Vietnam, Dubai or India for an international study trip which involves a mix of classroom and practical work with companies. EMBA students have the option of an international study trip as well.

“There is quite an international flavour within the programmes as well, with 20 per cent of the part-time students and 70 per cent of the full-time students coming from overseas. On the teaching side, 30 per cent of the lecturers come from an international background.”

Nugent says the MBA programmes are particularly suited to people who are already quite advanced in their careers. “Somebody who is already very proficient in a particular area of expertise and wants to put a wrapper on it, which gives them the general business acumen to make better decisions, will benefit greatly. The key thing is that students get a good grounding in business across all sectors.

“They come out able to understand financial statements, capable of putting a marketing plan together and so on. They gain a rounded set of competencies which enables them to be more effective leaders.

“They are able to have a much greater impact and influence on people outside of their zone of expertise.”

Overall, the qualification prepares people to achieve their career goals. “It gives students a better understanding of where they want to go in their careers and what the next steps should be. It also gives them the skills to their goals – if you aspire to be a CEO, it helps you to become a better leader and develop the strategic mindset to set a vision and chart a course for an organisation.”

Applications are being accepted for the 2016 programmes now and the process is quite rigorous, according to Nugent.

“There are three questions on the application form and they are designed to get applicants to really reflect on themselves, what they want to achieve, what they expect from UCD and what they think UCD should expect of them.

“We also ask applicants to talk to two referees who know them well and will challenge them on whether the programme is really for them.”

The process also involves an aptitude test which requires several weeks’ preparation and an interview. “We go through all the applications very carefully at a weekly applications committee meeting,” she says.

“The programmes are limited to class sizes of between 30 and 40 and we want to make sure that the students we accept will be right for the course and that it will be right for them.”

Article taken from The Irish Times – January 25th 2016 – Barry McCall & Orla Nugent 

For further information on how to apply for the Smurfit School MBA programme click here.

Avril Donohue ~ MBA Alumni Relations, Marketing & Events 

The Irish Times Executive MBA Scholarship

 

AboutSmurfit

UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School is delighted to partner with The Irish Times to offer readers the chance to win a scholarship to cover full tuition fees for a part-time Executive MBA at UCD Smurfit School, worth €30,700.

Over four weeks from Friday January 15th to Monday February 8th applicants have the chance to answer 3 GMAT questions. Applicants for the scholarship must answer the three questions correctly, submit a short form, complete a short essay and submit a copy of their CV.

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Those who answer the questions correctly will be asked to submit a full MBA application form if they have not already done so. These will be assessed and successful candidates will be invited for interview. The best candidate will win the overall scholarship prize.

Hear from previous Irish Times Scholarship winners:

 

How to Apply:

Entrants to the scholarship competition must complete the online application form before the deadline of Monday 8th February 2016.

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As part of the application process you will be asked to submit (a) personal information, (b) your current CV, (c) employer information (if applicable), (d) education/qualifications (e) a 400 word essay and (f) answers to 3 GMAT questions.

APPLY NOW

Before commencing your application, please review the entry criteria and terms and conditions.

Avril Donohue ~ MBA Alumni Relations, Marketing & Events