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

Theme: Preparation!

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It’s an October day on campus at Smurfit Graduate Business School, and the MBA Class of 2017 have been at UCD for six weeks. The international students are getting to grips with the mercurial Irish weather and the Irish students are slowly coming to terms with Mayo’s disappointment in the All-Ireland. Summertime is officially over and it’s time to prepare for winter.

Preparation seems to be a theme this week!

First and foremost is preparation for the workplace. I’m a career changer: I studied medicine as an undergraduate, working as a junior doctor before coming to UCD. One of my priorities this year is explore my career options post-MBA.  Happily, Smurfit is making that task very easy.

At the start of term the Careers team circulated an MBA vacancy with a global brand, and I spent much of my Monday evening gearing up for a phone interview next week. There was plenty more to learn about potential employers on Tuesday, as a stellar lineup of firms sent representatives to Smurfit for the Audit & Consulting Recruitment Fair. With the graduate milk-rounds starting, we have a valuable opportunity to do some research ahead of the MBA hiring cycle.

Wednesday was entirely devoted to job-hunting skills with the fantastic Daniel Porot. We were in capable hands, learning from a speaker who works with 12 of the world’s top 20 MBA schools. I’ll have a chance to put M. Poirot’s advice into practice at the second recruitment fair of the week, which focuses on general business functions rather than professional services.

Planning a little more proximally, I’ve been finalising my travel plans for Global Network Week. Due to Smurfit’s membership of the Global Network for Advanced Management, full-time MBA students (and second-year EMBAs) get to spend a week in October participating in the GNAM Global Exchange. Many students opt for the programme hosted right here at UCD, others go to Yale, and a further cohort heads to IE in Madrid. Earlier this week, the destinations for our spring study tour were confirmed as Tokyo and Seoul; 32 of us came to Blackrock, but we’re getting to see the world!

Next Saturday, nine of us will fly out for an immersive exchange at Yale School of Management, studying Behavioral Economics, Marketing and Finance. We just received our schedules, which include a company visit day in New York. Some lucky scheduling means we’ll be able to catch up with UCD business alumni at the New York chapter’s annual benefit dinner, and find out exactly where our MBAs (and alumni connections) can take us.

Thirdly, as usual, I’m preparing for next week’s classes. My long-suffering boyfriend is resigned to the fact that my weekends will be primarily occupied with pre-reading and finance homework for the foreseeable future. Finally, though, I’m getting ready for a friend’s wedding reception on Friday afternoon, which should be a lovely occasion in Georgian Dublin – timely reassurance that normal life still continues during the MBA!

Laura Donaghy ~ Full-Time MBA

Foundation Week & the start of the MBA

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When I embarked on my Smurfit MBA journey, I said I will start a blog. I didn’t expect the workload to be so high though.

Three weeks later I am posting my first blog entry. I am still very excited to share my experience with you, and I hope you are still interested in reading it. I promise writing more often and on time in the future.

Foundation week.

The foundation week is a pre-programme part of the MBA to get everyone to know each other, and get everyone “up and running”, as they say.

It definitely involved a lot of running! From Monday to Friday we spent all day from 8.00 to 18.00-19.00 at the school. The week was so intense and beneficial in terms of learning that at the end of it, it was hard to realize that the programme itself had not even started. I felt I already learned so much! It would be easier to describe the week day by day.

Monday

Monday was a “getting to know each other day” with programme directors and staff greeting us, several lecturers giving introduction to specific fields, as well as a bit of talk on leadership and the year to come.

I was positively surprised by the quality of lecturers and by the experience of my fellow classmates. I obviously knew Smurfit is one of the top schools, but the quality of lecturing turned out to be beyond any expectations! Also I was happy to get to know my classmates. People in this programme are probably a bit older and more experienced compared to many other MBAs. It seems that the average experience among full time cohort is about 8-10 years, while among the Executives about 10-12. I was very happy to be among people older than me, even though at first felt a little bit weird, recognizing I am one of the youngest and less experienced in the class.

Tuesday

Tuesday was Financial Reporting all the day. Boring, you might say, right? Yes, not the most exciting subject on Earth, I agree! That is why our class was amazed that our professor Niamh Brennan managed to keep our attention for the whole day! Truly fascinating, and it adds to my previous comment about the quality of lecturers.

Wednesday

Team building activities. Many people have certain stereotypes regarding outside team building activities. People would picture running around, doing crazy stuff with no purpose, falling on their backs and hoping their team mates would catch them.

This workshop was very similar and very different. We did a lot of outside activities: we solved puzzles, did physical exercise, and even walked around with our eyes blindfolded trying to form a certain figure. However, a very distinct feature of this particular workshop was that it served a purpose of understanding, how teams operate. The facilitator gathered us together after every activity, and we debriefed what happened. The lessons adaptable to real life would be evident afterwards.

For example, we were given a task in groups of 4 and 20 minutes to plan, how we tackle it. Then 5 minutes into the exercise we were approached and told that the task had been changed, and we will have to perform it with other 2 groups of 4. We would spend the remaining 15 minutes still in the same group of 4, planning the task. When the time to perform comes, we would not perform well enough, of course.

Why is it so? Because we were blind to see that 5 minutes into the task our group has changed, and instead of planning in a group of 4, we should be planning in a group of 12. Now think how often you experience at your job that two departments (say sales and marketing) are doing something on their own? This funny experience in an outdoor game was a good illustration of how groups of people fail to see what are the boundaries of the team.

Friday

Thursday was a business simulation that I will not go into details about just to save your reading time. One distinct feature about that day was that it was my birthday, which I celebrated by getting a 2 for 4.25 EUR salad deal from Marks and Spencer.

Friday was another day full of highlights. First we had a workshop on listening and personality types (Myers Briggs). I think it might be because of the background of trainers in psychology, but they delivered the best workshop on listening and personality types I have ever seen (out of at least 3). The personality types was a more interesting part. They explained what it means, how it affects the working preferences, as well as sources of stress for various types. We didn’t do the test, but they explained each component and two extremes so well that my self-assessment completely corresponded to the results of the test I took later.

After lunch we had a presentation skills workshop. Again, when you have attended several poorly delivered presentation skills workshops, there is not much to expect. However, this one was brilliant! I did a lot of debating during my undergrads, and speaking in public is never an issue for me. I learned loads of useful tips and information from the workshop. It was not only the information, but also real time interaction, practicing, and coaching that turned the knowledge into practice. Now that we also had a second workshop in week 2 of studies, I see that not only me, but every single person in the class massively improved their presentation skills.

Cheers Smurfit for the fun and beneficial week! Thumbs up for the quality! We ended the week with a visit to a local pub, as Irish traditions require.

First weeks of studies

I am now in my third week of studies, and I will not lie, if I say I have mixed feelings about it. The quality is outstanding and beyond any expectation! People in class, lecturers, learning environment, and leadership workshops contribute massively to my development. I feel like an empty book shelf, gradually being filled with new skills and knowledge. I will write separate entries on the class, subjects/lecturers, and the leadership development part of the programme. The downside to this is that I find myself studying literally for 12-14 hours on most days. “Gotta run and keep going” I suppose! At least I know that all the effort put into studies will benefit my development.

I think it is enough of reading for the first entry. In the future, I promise to write shorter articles. I plan to write on several topics: (i) why I chose Smurfit; (ii) about the class, lecturers/subjects, and other components of the programme, so that people considering MBA in the future are better informed about Smurfit; (iii) about scholarship opportunities here and at other institutions, and why you don’t necessarily need to pay 100K+ for a degree.

Cheers for now!

Nikita Pusnakovs ~ Full-Time MBA

Check out Nikita’s Blog ‘MBA In Ireland’ here

Learning Outside the Classroom – China

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Prior to departing for China, expectations and excitement across the FT MBA class were extremely high to say the least. However, it is safe to say that each and every one of these expectations were surpassed. Our week long trip took place from May 28 to June 04 and, as an opportunity to bond with classmates alone, it was going to be something special. The cultural and experiential nature of visiting somewhere so different to Ireland and indeed the west in general, combined with the bonding experience, resulted in a week none of us will ever forget.

We began our journey in Xiamen, a port city on the south-east of China around 1 hour’s flight from Hong Kong. This ‘small’ city, home to some 2 million people, had an interesting mix of western style hotels strewn across an authentic Chinese city. Just a short stroll from our hotel lead us to market streets where you could buy street food, fish –alive or dead- and of course a beer or two. Trying to hold a conversation with the locals was difficult as Chinese is generally the only language spoken and as such the language barrier was quite severe. It must be said though that this only served to add to the authenticity of the experience and people were exceptionally nice to us and did their best to understand our charade-like descriptions of what we were looking for.

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During our stay in Xiamen we received exceptionally informative instruction on preparation for our Capstone projects from UCD Smurfit lecturer Professor Pat Gibbons. In addition, while operating out of the beautiful Xiamen University, we were fortunate enough to receive talks on the Chinese business and macroeconomic environment from two eminent professors; Prof Lei Ming and Prof Chen Yan. The value they both added to our understanding and appreciation of China was immense. The few hours they spent talking with us was the equivalent of reading for weeks on China and the level of knowledge transfer was something to be very grateful for. Our time in Xiamen wasn’t all work however, we received a tour of the Xiamen university campus, visited the famous Nanputuo Buddhist temple and also had a guided tour around Gulangyu island, a famous tourist resort known for its beaches, off-beat colonial architecture and a somewhat out-of-place amazing piano museum.

Following our stay in Xiamen we took a short flight to Hong Kong. It is difficult to describe in words just how awesome Hong Kong is. On approaching Hong Kong Island from the airport one could be forgiven for wrongly thinking that the skyscrapers around us were the city centre itself, when in fact they were just the fringes. The sheer depth and width of buildings all around is incredible and the container port alone is jaw dropping. It is safe to say that the scale of this place has dwarfed anywhere else I’ve ever seen. While in Hong Kong we made a number of company visits and received highly interesting and informative talks from Invest HK, Memorigin, CBRE, Heidrick and Struggles, Snapask, Hack Horizon and even Huawei. These talks provided a wide breadth of understanding for everyone on various aspects of doing business in HK and China. We received valuable insight into such areas as the wildly volatile HK property market, entrepreneurship in Hong Kong, and the challenges that the Huawei brand faces internationally as a rapidly growing technology firm from China. In the evening, students were free to explore the city at their leisure and some of the highlights were the laser show that takes place each night over the city which can be observed from the waterfront at Tsim Sha Tsui, the bustling night markets on Kowloon, Lan Kwai Fong (the ‘temple bar’ of Hong Kong), and last but certainly not least the spectacular views high up on the Peak lookout.

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The Full Time MBA Programme is undoubtedly an incredibly rewarding and challenging journey. Having the opportunity to visit China and experience all the great things we did this week as well as the bonding we were able achieve as a class just cements the sheer magnitude of this life experience. This week really brought home to me the value of doing an MBA beyond what you learn in the classroom. It really is a life-changing experience and memories like those we have from China will forever remind us of just how amazing the entire experience has been.

John Ryan ~ Full-Time MBA

Xiamen & Hong Kong 2016

FT MBA Class 2015-16
FT MBA Class 2015-16

At the end of May, the full-time MBA class took a week-long trip to Xiamen and Hong Kong to learn more about doing business across the globe, specifically the dynamic business environment in China.  We found the trip both academically enlightening and culturally fascinating.  To that end, here are a few takeaways from whirlwind, three-day trip to Hong Kong:

Travel like the locals

With 7 million people packed into the roughly 275 square kilometers, Hong Kong is crowded.  One can expect the roads to be congested most hours of the day, save late nights and early mornings.  Follow the lead of the locals and make use of the efficient, extensive, and economical public transit system.  While the MTR trains are the most widely used form of transit, visitors shouldn’t overlook the double decker trams, ferries across Victoria Harbour, and of course the tram up Victoria Peak.

Michael Niland, John Ryan, Patrick Farrell, Ryan Nuanes, FT MBA 2015-16
Michael Niland, John Ryan, Patrick Farrell, Ryan Nuanes, FT MBA 2015-16

Buy an Octopus card

Hong Kong pioneered the use of the reloadable transit card back in 1997, and it is still in use today. While these cards are common enough in transit systems across the world (such as Dublin’s Leap card and London’s Oyster card), the Octopus card is accepted as a valid form of payment at a variety of stores across the city, such as Starbucks and 7-11.  So even if you don’t plan on using the transit system much during your stay, running through the preloaded credit on the card should be no problem.

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Take in some culinary treats

With over 50 Michelin-starred restaurants, Hong Kong has amazing food for almost any budget or culinary preference.  Some members of the MBA class were able to grab dim sum at Tim Ho Wan, one of the least expensive Michelin-starred restaurants in the world with meals available at less than €10 per person.  Our only regret is that we didn’t have time for a return trip! 

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Enjoy a night on the town

During our short stay, most of our free time was at night and the MBA class took full advantage of that!  From strolling through the night market, to taking in some jazz at a speakeasy, to dancing in the nightclubs of Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong seems to have something for everyone.  Word of warning: with the average pint at roughly €10, a long night can quickly turn into an expensive endeavor.

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Don’t forget to look up!

As we go about our daily lives, it’s easy to get lost in what is right in front of us (or more likely, what is on our phones).  Perhaps the most impressive feature of Hong Kong is the sheer scale of the city.  Whether walking through the gritty lanes of Mong Kok or the well-kept streets of Central, the most interesting views are probably above street level.

Plan a return trip

Despite the compact and dense nature of the city, Hong Kong is deceptively large.  The MBA class only had limited time over three days to explore the city.  Upon arrival back in Dublin, I know more than a few of my colleagues were asking “when can I go back?”

Ryan Nuanes ~ Full-Time MBA

MBA International Module – Visit to China

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For our final international module on the MBA program, the full-time class went on a study trip to China. Visiting Xiamen and Hong Kong, the trip aimed to give us an insight into the considerable economic achievement as well as the cultural and institutional practices in China. We set off on Saturday morning, flying from Dublin to Heathrow to Hong Kong and on to Xiamen. Xiamen is a beautiful coastal city in the Fujian Province in China, however being wet season, we arrived to thunder storms, lashing rain and approximately 90% humidity. Our first challenge was to make it from the airport terminal to the bus (which was parked only 50 meters away). Safe to say we all got soaked! We arrived at the lovely Lujiang Harbourview Hotel, checked in, dried off and headed back out for dinner at RongYu Restaurant where we sampled a variety of Chinese delicacies such as fried jellyfish and chicken heads. It was an interesting experience to say the least! A stroll through the city showed there was plenty more interesting food waiting for us…

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The next morning we set off for lectures at Xiamen University. We had a mix of lectures from Smurfit’s Prof. Pat Gibbons and Xiamen University’s Prof. Lei Meng. We learnt about the growth and structural changes in China over the past two decades and how China has emerged from its hyper growth phase into a medium to slow growth phase. With the increasing growth rate of wages for low skilled labour, China is losing its competitive advantage in the manufacturing sector compared to some other Asian countries. The challenge China is now facing is how to best manage this transition. However, the government keep changing the policies to manage this transition which is causing more uncertainty in the country. After lunch we met some of the students from Xiamen who gave us tour of the impressive university campus and the nearby Buddhist temples. We enjoyed a lovely vegetarian dinner in Nanputuo Temple before returning to our hotel.

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The next day we returned to Xiamen University for lectures with Prof. Pat Gibbons and Prof. Chen Yan. We learnt about China’s business environment and business strategy. There are many aspects to doing business in China that are significantly different to how business is conducted in the west. For example, China has a high context culture where relationships are paramount and one must pay attention to rules. Furthermore, China’s ‘face culture’ means that they don’t let people lose face in public regardless of the situation. After lunch, we took a ferry to Gulangyu Island which is the third largest island off the coast of Xiamen. A guided tour of the island showed us it’s off beat colonial architecture, lovely beaches and piano museum. With temperatures reaching 36°C and 90% humidity it was an eventful afternoon.

The next morning we returned to Xiamen University for our final lecture before saying good bye to Xiamen and leaving for our flight to Hong Kong. On the coach transfer from the airport to our hotel in Hong Kong we got a taste of the scale of the city with its stunning skyline and majestic mountains in the background. Once checked in, we enjoyed a buffet dinner in our hotel and explored the city.

The next day we visited three very different businesses – Invest HK, Memorigin and Huawei. Invest HK is an investment agency for the government of Hong Kong who promote Hong Kong as a preferred location for businesses to set up and support foreign businesses located in Hong Kong. Memorigin is a Hong Kong brand that produces tourbillion watches and Huawei is a global leader of ICT solutions. These companies gave us a great insight into Hong Kong economy and the opportunities and challenges facing businesses who operate in the region. That evening we went to Kowloon to watch the laser show from the impressive city skyline, followed by dinner and a trip to the night market.

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On our final day in Hong Kong we visited four businesses. First up were two impressive start-up companies namely Snapask and Horizon which gave us further insight into the type of entrepreneurial activity going on in Hong Kong and some of the key challenges they face. For example, Snapask, a Learning App, explained how they needed to build a completely different product if they wanted to expand into mainland China with different payment system, login system, etc. therefore they are focusing on expanding into other south east Asian countries. We then met with CBRE Group which is a real estate service provider and a fortune 500 company. This talk enlightened us with how competitive the real estate market in Hong Kong is. Our final visit was to Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm, who explained how their business operates and gave insight into the current job market in Hong Kong. We finished off the unforgettable trip with a beautiful dinner at The Peak Lookout restaurant.

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Muireann McCarthy ~ Full-Time MBA

MBA Social Outreach Society

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The busy MBA life is nearing completion. Without doubt, it has been one of the most happening years in my life to date. Working for the MBA Social Outreach Society was one great experience that I had during the MBA term. We got the opportunity to organize a number of events for various social causes as part of the club’s activities.

We started off by volunteering for the dragon duty events organized by BizWorld Ireland in various primary schools in Dublin.  It is part of a two-day BizWorld workshop, delivered in a classroom setting by a specially-trained BizWorld Ireland tutor. During the workshop, classes are split into groups and each group develops their own mini enterprise. At the end of the workshop, they get to pitch their business ideas to a visiting ‘Dragon’, usually a representative from the local business community. Many of our full time MBA colleagues have participated in these events acting as Dragons. In short, a dragon’s role is to act as in investor and negotiate with the children to own stake in their ‘companies’ in exchange of ‘Bizbucks’ (Bizworld money). Meeting these ‘innovators of the future’ has indeed been an amazing experience for all of us and we participate in these events on an ongoing basis. 2

During the second semester, we organized a fund raising event – a snack festival, for the Special Olympics Eastern Region, which provides year round sports training and competition to over 2,300 people with an intellectual disability. As part of the event, we sold a variety of snacks to the students at Smurfit. It was a one-day event and we were really happy to see the students from Smurfit taking active part in the event and offering their hand of support to the Special Olympics participants. We were able to raise a good amount as part of this event.

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Later during the year, in association with Biz World Ireland and Local Enterprise office, we organized a Primary School Showcase event at Smurfit School. As part of the event, nearly ten teams of students from three primary schools in Dublin presented the business ideas to the professors and students at Smurfit. They also sold various hand-made goodies in exchange for ‘Biz Bucks’ during the event. We got a chance to interact with the children, learn more about their business ideas and engage in small negotiations with them in order to buy their goodies. They were smart and creative. They knew some really good negotiation tactics as well! The children, the professors and the students at Smurfit found the event really interesting. It was indeed an unforgettable day!

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Working for the Social Outreach Society was a wonderful experience. It was great to see our MBA classmates taking time off from their busy schedule to take part in these activities and work together to make a positive impact on society.

Nitin Paul ~ Full-Time MBA

MBA Capstone Consulting Project Company Event

MBA Students Listening to Company Pitches
MBA Students Listening to Company Pitches

An integral component of the MBA programme is the Capstone Consulting project which is completed by our full-time students over a six week period in the Summer semester. This project fuses all the component learning of the MBA at the final stages of the academic year. It is an opportunity for companies to collaborate on a strategic project with our MBA students and for students to implement what they have learned over the course of the MBA in a very practical sense. Our MBA students work with companies to address strategic or operational business issues that a company wishes to address but currently do not available resources to do so. It is an invaluable opportunity for students to gain experience in sectors that they may not have worked in prior to commencing the MBA.

MBA Student Ryan Nuanes, Muireann McCarthy and Jack Mac Giolla Bhride networking with David and Stephen Flynn, owners of ‘The Happy Pear’
MBA Student Ryan Nuanes, Muireann McCarthy and Jack Mac Giolla Bhride networking with David and Stephen Flynn, owners of ‘The Happy Pear’

Working in teams of three to four, MBA students are highly motivated and bring diverse personal and professional experience to the teams. Companies have actively engaged with the Capstone Consulting Project for over 7 years which is testament to the value and benefit that world-class organisations place on this initiative and many students have secured jobs post MBA with the company that they complete their project with. The end of the project initiative culminates with the submission of a full report including methodology, analysis and recommendations for the company.

Liam Doyle (MBA Class of 2014), Managing Director at Clink Hostels, networking with Ying Wu, Thao Nguyen, Paul Kelly and Minh Le Tran Hai
Liam Doyle (MBA Class of 2014), Managing Director at Clink Hostels, networking with Ying Wu, Thao Nguyen, Paul Kelly and Minh Le Tran Hai

The MBA Programme Office liaises with a diverse range of organisations to compile a selection of interesting, thought provoking and challenging projects that offer opportunities for personal and professional growth to our students. Last night, the MBA Programme hosted a successful Company Networking Event in which organisations pitched their project ideas and networked with the MBA students to answer any questions that they had. We are delighted to have 19 companies involved in the process this year across a range of industry sectors including Tourism & Hospitality, Retail, Finance, Not-for-Profit, Fin-Tech, IT, Start-Ups and more. Feedback from the event has indicated that this networking event has changed the opinions of some students and that they would like to complete a Capstone project in a sector that they didn’t think they would be interested in. Students being open to different options and using the MBA programme as a medium to explore these options through their academic, project based and leadership development curriculum is one of the key strengths of the UCD Smurfit MBA programme. The students will commence their project work in June and we look forward to seeing the results in early August!

Yvonne Harding ~ Full-Time MBA Programme Manager

Would You Choose Vietnam? (If you had another chance)

Some Life

In advance of the MBA International Study Tour, we had to vote for two out of three destinations. Among the three options – UAE & India, South Africa and Vietnam, most people selected the first two. As a Vietnamese student, it was a sad result for me (though I did not vote for my home country because we were encouraged to choose another place for our trip). I know that a few people were interested in Vietnam, but the final result proved that Vietnam was not as attractive (to our class) as the other two. Therefore, I write this blog to give you some interesting points about my home country that will probably change your mind.

Binh Ba
Binh Ba

1.Global opportunities:

It should be the first and the most important reason when considering Vietnam as an option for the study tour. As a developing country with the advantages of the low labor cost, Vietnam has been attracting numerous global companies. You can find a branch office of Unilever, P&G, McKinsey, Deloitte, Microsoft and several other international names either in Hanoi or Saigon. Those companies are open with international applicants and you – great MBA candidates – will definitely have many choices there. Furthermore, if you want to start up a business, especially in IT or Production, Vietnam is an ideal place with good human resources and reasonable cost of setting up.

2. Low cost of living:

You might not believe, but many locals can live (not very comfortably but in a basic standard) with 200 to 300 euro a month. The lawful minimum wage for workers in Vietnam is VND3.5 million (about 150 euro) per month, so if you spend more than 200 euro a month, you are richer than many other people.

3. Diverse Foods:

Have you ever tried Vietnamese spring rolls or Pho (noodle)? They are assumed as the best dishes of Vietnam, but that is probably not true. We have tons of different foods, from Broken Rice, Hue Beef noodle, Banh Mi, Banh Cuon, Bun Cha, to Café Sua Da. If you don’t require a high star restaurant, you can find those foods in many places with just 1 to 2 euro. And if you question about the taste? Just ask Pooja, Tar or Arka, they will tell you how the foods are.

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Vietnamese Dishes

4. Amazing landscape:

Vietnam has 63 provinces/cities and each has a different landscape that you will definitely be attracted. While Saigon and Hanoi are dynamic and cosmopolitan cities which would be enough for one week of studying, you can spend an extra week exploring Sapa, Dalat, Ninh Binh, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Da Nang, and many other amazing places. The cost of traveling between the places is not very expensive, just from 5 to 100 euro depending on the type of transportations and the distances, but I promise that it will be more affordable than in any place in Europe. Each place will give you a different impression and you should have to shout “Wow, Amazing!” when you see those breathtaking views.

Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai province, Vietnam (photo taken from my friend’s Facebook)
Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai province, Vietnam (photo taken from my friend’s Facebook)

 

 Trang An, Ninh Binh, Vietnam (photo taken from my friend’s Facebook)
Trang An, Ninh Binh, Vietnam (photo taken from my friend’s Facebook)

There are so many things about our country that I want to tell you, but frankly my English sucks and too many deadlines are waiting for me. If I have a chance, I will share more about that. If my words are not convincing enough, this is a video that can help you have an overview of our country. Just take a quick look, you will love it!

Well, would you choose Vietnam if you had another chance?!

Nhan Nguyen ~ Full-Time MBA (and lover of Vietnam)

The Smurfit MBA – A Diverse & Rich Learning Experience

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As a marketer, I have to learn how to tell an exciting, relevant, and believable story about the products, the brands and of course, the companies. As a person, I am a keen listener. Through stories, I learn not only the tellers’ interests, perspectives and experience in life but also a tonne of random facts – all of which are equally interesting to me. For all of the years I have spent working and travelling around the world; I have been told many great stories, yet very few of them could be exciting as the stories I have heard from my mates in the MBA Programme.

From memorable social experiences to nights out on the town, from the context in Asia, Europe to the Americas (continent not country!), all those narratives not only gave me some good laughs but also taught me so many things about the world – one of them is that funny accountants exist! And two of them happen to be in my class. How cool is that!

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Diversity (70% of our class are not from Ireland) and rich experience (average of more than five working years and some wiser ones have worked for twenty years) would be the things that I appreciate the most from the MBA experience at Smurfit. Very often, I – a Vietnamese – drink American beer (illustration purpose only, my favourite is Irish now) with Indian classmates; and we will soon travel to Africa and China together.

The world seems much smaller to me because of the experience here. And now, during group discussions, when someone speaks up, I no longer think “oh, a different opinion…” I think “oh, a different perspective that I should listen to.”

Duc Le ~ Full-Time MBA