UCD Smurfit MBA Golf Captain’s Day – perfect end to a spectacular first year!

The first year of the UCD Smurfit MBA Golf Society has drawn to a close. And what a way to finish; under the watchful gaze of the Sugar Loaf, in the beautiful environs of Powerscourt House and Gardens, the scene was set for some dramatic golf. Admittedly, with the members blessed with blue skies and farmer tan generating sun bursts during the previous two rounds, both Cormac and Andrew decided to up the ante(in both weather and prize stakes) for this final outing! Rain and a €250 blue book voucher (thank Michael McDonnell for the latter and God for the former) were the driving forces for the day on 23rd August last.

Another increase in participation helped to reinforce the Society’s existence as a fun and enjoyable networking medium for the UCD MBA crew. That aside, the 11 prizes up for grabs produced game faces unseen since the 2007 Ireland England Six Nations match in Croke Park (God Save Our Queen). Unfazed by his five point deduction, Dave Joyce strode into the clubhouse a mere 10 minutes before his tee time, while Declan Griffin, unfazed by fashion, opted for an Eleanor O Higgins inspired ensemble (somehow he wins both worst and best dressed male for his delightful chalk blue-green pants!!)

Others followed suit with consistent bravado, including the dark horse from the third outing, Dave Kelly and the epitome of calm, Jim Gannon. With all eyes on the prize(s), Dave Flynn, Gareth McCluskey, Chris O Connor and Dave Feighery took to a sodden first tee. These golfing stalwarts approached the round like titans of industry: aggressive, risk taking and at times completely delusional. Dave Feighery, our resident 6 foot 3” man mountain could not handle the pace, opting to pull up at the 12th, leaving the remaining three to battle through one of our tougher challenges since Brian McGrath revealed his project schedule in Semester 2! The greens were slick AND quick, hard to read, and left all from this and other groups scratching their heads. With hands shaken and a resignation that the course had somewhat defeated them, the remaining three decided “to hell with club rules, we’re hitting the Members’ Bar”, a theme which was followed by subsequent groups.

New members David Slevin, Deirdre McHugh and Caroline MacKell (all very welcome, especially the new Ladies) joined MBA Golf Society pro Charlie Weijer as the next Group out. Charlie showed the newbies how it was done on the front nine with an impressive 19 points. However, his round faltered on the Back Nine, leaving his playing partners a little underwhelmed with his chances of winning Top Prize. Deirdre McHugh on the other hand, notable for her unrelenting frugality, chose value for money over low scoring (300 shots is a new course record!!). Of course I’m joking, and she has already stated that the new season will bring an invigorated ferocious golfing legend (with no excuse of lagged MBA exhaustion). Caroline MacKell, in the absence of our two times reigning Lady Champion, Emma Fagan, commanded attention with some delicate chips and exquisite putting to take 28 points into the Clubhouse, claiming the coveted Captain’s Ladies Prize. David Slevin, unable to keep up with the champagne golf on display, opted to copy Dave Feighery and exit before the end of the round. Don’t worry, he’ll be back next year.

Female Powerscourt Golf Club Members and Staff were left a little hot and bothered upon seeing our next foursome collectively preparing for their round. Declan “smooth talker” Griffin, Seamus “I invented the Internet don’t you know” Shaw, Conor “whoops, there goes my T-shirt” Ryan and Ronan “I just did a thousand sit-ups” Sheridan hit the course, with little regard for the weather or any of these aforementioned ladies’ husbands! And the confidence of these Alpha Males showed with Declan Griffin racking up a significant 37 points, spanking the course into submission. Chest out throughout his whole round, he forced both Sherdian and Ryan to retire early and lick their wounds on the way home, while Seamus Shaw managed some impressive drives to prove he was up to the challenge. Unfortunately, similar to most combatants on the day, the greens left him frustrated and confused.

Unaware that the eventual winner on the day was ahead of them, Cormac Dunne (our future Captain), Dave Kelly (a contender for Player of the Year 2014), Andrew Bacon (the legend) and Kieran Dowling (the storyteller extraordinaire) took to the course. No one’s quite sure how this foursome, all in contention for Player of The Year 2013, would succeed or falter during the round. To ease any tension, Andrew Bacon, having found one of the many water features on the course, opted for a Seve Ballesteros style recovery shot from the lake edge (this has since been posted on YouTube, link to follow). It should also be noted that in spite of being in water TWICE on a Par 4, somehow a 6 appeared on hisscorecard!! This left Kieran Dowling laughing so hard that all he could do was relax, achieving a birdie on the toughest hole on the course (Index 1), good man. Also still laughing was Dave Kelly as he approached the 18th hole, smashing his tee shot a massive 306 yards to win Longest Drive (Mr Joyce, you can’t win everything, although admittedly yours was longer!!). Meanwhile, Cormac Dunne, “fresh” from his Gaelforce success (finishing in the top 250 athletes) used guile and panache on a course he knows well, narrowly missing a Top Three Finish.

Having patiently observed their peers entering the fray, it was time for our final group to depart to the first: Captain Andrew Bourke, David Joyce, Jim Gannon and Steve Kelly, all ready for battle. Kelly, a novice to the sport, with only two years since he first held a golf club, was still yet to grasp the gravity of how stringent the rules of golf actually are. Just off the 5th green, he declared that his foot had glanced the ball, hoping that we would tell him to play on. David Joyce, however, in keeping with the ethos of honourable play awarded a penalty to a dejected Steve (like a bold child, it’s the only way he’ll learn!!). Both Gannon and Bourke were exhibiting moments of brilliance around the course, with Andrew shooting a 2 over across 5 holes. However, a calamitous run of 3 and 4 putts left both himself and Jim out of the running for the top spot (did I mention the greens were ridiculous?!!). As this final foursome approached the 18th tee, a steely determination to end in style in front of the gallery of “fans” instilled a resolve last seen when Declan was selecting his outfit that very morning. Both Jim and David reached the green on this tricky Par 5 in two shots, while Steve and Andrew played the percentage game to attempt pars. David Joyce, knowing he needed something special to cap off a near perfect back nine, hit his second shot to within 3 yards of the hole, knocking in for a well-deserved Eagle. With the rain having finally cleared, hands were shaken and the time came to withdraw to the Members Lounge to announce the winners.

It should be noted that with an increase in the Prize Pot, a significant improvement in scores took place, with 9 people shooting over 30 points. The eventual top prize of the €250 Blue Book Voucher (graciously donated by Michael McDonnell) was awarded to Declan Griffin on 37 points, with a 2 ball for Carton House going to a very close second: David Joyce on 36 points (he actually managed to get around the course in 7 under par, impressive). Bringing up the rear with 34 points (after his penalty) was a delighted Steve Kelly (his handicap is currently being reviewed by the Committee). Longest Drive was awarded to David Kelly while David Slevin (one of our new members) achieved Nearest the Pin on the day. Ladies Prize went to a very commendable Caroline MacKell with a commanding 28 points, with Deirdre McHugh awarded a voucher for “most use of the course”! Spot prizes were also given to Andrew Bacon, Gareth McCluskey and Kieran Dowling who were delighted to have been drawn out of the hat. To round off the day, it was time to announce Player of the Year. With Steve Kelly on 33 points, Dave Kelly on 36 points, a very worthy David Joyce stood up to collect his prize. With 39 points overall across his two best rounds, he humbly received his trophy and prize.

With the golf carts safely parked in the garage (and a lot were used that day by the Society), it was time for many to hit the Dame Tavern, Hogans, and eventually Copper Face Jacks (a club befitting the exclusivity of the MBA brand) for a few drinks and laughs.

It certainly has been an amazing journey for myself and Cormac. From a conversation during the Induction Week, to finishing the first year of a growing UCD Michael Smurfit Club, which we created, has been special. A massive thanks must be given to the staff of the MBA program who have tirelessly supported us throughout the setup process and indeed the financial donations we have received over the course of the year. Most importantly, the biggest thank you of all must go to you, the players. Without you, this club would not exist. We are hoping that we have created a fun environment for you to mix with fellow MBAers, take a break from the sometimes stressful aspects of the course, and most importantly, have a few laughs along the way.

Announcements of the schedule for 2014 will be available shortly on our website AND NEW REGISTRATIONS ALWAYS WELCOME!

Thank you again for all your support and see you shortly for some more golf.

Andrew Bourke, Captain, EMBA 2014.

Greens and Fairways

UCD MBA Golf Society

Bizworld comes on campus to run their first summer camp.

UCD Smurfit hosted a unique entrepreneurial summer camp onsite last week in conjunction with the UCD Smurfit MBA.  Children aged between 7 and 11 were brought through the entire entrepreneurial cycle from company formation, applying for jobs in their newly set-up companies to conducting market research. Members of the UCD Smurfit MBA, both students and staff, visited the camp and participated in the market research and also acted as venture capitalists while children pitched their ideas in return for seed capital (BizEuros) for their business idea.

The children’s companies designed, produced, marketed and sold their unique product. In Bizworld’s case, it is a short animated movie. It culminated in parents and students visiting the ‘box office’ to view the marketing campaigns and purchase tickets for the desired movie on the final day of the week-long workshop. Children balanced the books and kept ledgers during the entire process.

Bizworld Ireland is a group of educators and business people who have come together to inspire and empower children aged 10-13 to learn about money management, critical thinking and enterprise in a fun and creative way.

Bizworld sows the seeds so children can grow their future….and the UCD Smurfit MBA is delighted to be involved!

For other stories on our involvement with Bizworld, please click here.

Michael McDonnell, MBA Programme Manager.

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

MBA World Champions

As the captain of the ladies team, I was delighted with our ladies performance given it was our first true test together, we unfortunately did not bring the cup home but the men’s team did that for us. Yet again they are the MBA Rugby World Champions!

We had quite an eventful trip with delayed flights on the way out and bombings in Boston on our way home, but I have to say we had an amazing weekend.

We had 44 athletes travel with an excellent committee to keep the show on the road. Everywhere we went everyone was so accommodating and welcoming. They loved the Irish brogue and the high spirits of the team. We had the opportunity to mingle with London Business School, Harvard, Wharton, Columbia to name a few.

It was a great opportunity to meet like minded people and network with the local business networks in the area. We hope to bring LBS ladies team over for a test match all going well in the Summer!

Our bus driver, Curly, deserves a special mention for being so accommodating with such a large crew and we hope future teams will enjoy his kind manner!

We left Ireland as individuals but we have come home a team. The effort was worth it in the end and would highly recommend any future MBA students to get on the team and join the adventure! Congratulations, MBA World Champions 2013!

Michelle Mulcahy

– Michelle Mulcahy, FT MBA 2012-13

The time has come

(Day 1)

After many months of fundraising, training, organising and a day of flight delays we have finallyarrived at the annual MBA Rugby World Cup tournament in Danville, North Carolina, USA to defendour title as Rugby World Cup Champions for a record 11th time!

This year we have brought 48 people consisting of 47 players and 1 coach. This is the largest numberof players who have ever represented the school at the tournament! This is testament to the hardwork of the leadership team and the players themselves in raising sufficient funds to make thishappen.
On the 2 hour bus transfer from the airport to the hotel everyone was in very high spirits with plentyof singing to keep us entertained. While I listened, I was thinking that if some of the player’s rugbyskills were as poor as their singing, we were going to be in trouble!

I was proved wrong yesterday.

The men’s team ended day one undefeated after 3 matches.

  • Game 1 Smurfit vs. London Business School (B team). Score 57 – 0
  • Game 2 Smurfit vs. Harvard Business School (B team). Score 35 – 5
  • Game 3 Smurfit vs. London Business School (B team). Score 60 – 0

The ladies team also put in a fantastic performance against some very tough opposition and are nowplaced 7th in the tournament!

The weather is extremely hot so we have had to make many trips to Walmart to stock up on water,Gatorade and fruit to keep our troops hydrated and nourished!

We are getting ready for day two and hopefully we will be booking an extra seat on the plane to bring home the silverware!

– Therese O’Rourke, FT MBA 2012-13

A fake break to Brazil

I write this blog contemplating the previous 6 weeks of the MBA program which have flown by at break neck speed. I did not think my schedule could get much fuller but the MBA is starting to prove that there is always room for more.

The undoubted highlight of the recent past has been our international study trip. I chose the Brazil option and was not disappointed. Leaving Dublin in sub-zero temperatures and arriving in Sao Paulo at plus 25 degrees was certainly a contributing factor. The Sao Paulo leg of our trip consisted of an introductory lecture at the FIA Business School and 4 company visits. The FIA lecture presented us with an insightful overview of how the Brazilian economy has got to where it is today (6th largest globally) and specifically the challenges it is facing in continuing its growth.

Of specific interest to me, was how a government policy of poverty eradication through social grants, had inadvertently lead to the stimulation of the local economy through increased public consumption. This is a significant departure from the current populist theory of poverty eradication through industry initiatives and private sector development. I intend performing greater research in this regard and specifically understanding such a policy’s applicability in the South African context.

The business visits and presentations that followed were varied and informative. From a business perspective, I went to Brazil to gain insights into what it is like to do business there and what the key challenges are for international businesses to overcome. The business presentations provided clear and repetitive guidance on the key requirements and challenges for international business in Brazil. I was interested to note that speaking the local language was a prerequisite to building strong relationships, which in turn was a prerequisite for doing successful business. I noted at JWT and Pernod Riccard that this language bridge could be overcome by employing educated locals, but that this would come at a price itself due to the high salaries demanded by skilled local labour.

I came to learn that some things will not change in the near future in Brazil and that making adjustments for the poor transport infrastructure and complex tax regime would be a requirement for undertaking business in Brazil. Much like South Africa, I noted that an approach of seeing opportunities as opposed to obstacles could prove successful in Brazil. This was borne out by companies such as Cosan that had seen an opportunity to enter the logistics and infrastructure fields, or Deloitte who provide consulting services on the complex tax system.

Our 3 days in Sao Paulo flew by and before long we were in the air again heading for Rio de Janiero. The flight and landing in Rio is something I will never forget, for all the right reasons! Flying in over Guanabara Bay, with the smattering of islands below, the Corcavado (Christ Redeemer Statue) and Sugar Loaf Mountains in the distance, and the Rio beaches ahead, is an amazing entrance. Rio’s status as the prettiest city I’ve ever been to was affirmed when we took the tram to the top of the Corcovado and spent the afternoon enjoying the views of the city.

The business part of the trip started up again in the morning with visits to the Brazilian multinationals of Petrobras and BNDES. These visits provided examples of the potential for Brazilian businesses to become world leaders in their fields, and exhibited the rich talent and skills that Brazil possesses. I was impressed with the ambitious nature of these companies, their striving for excellence and their national pride.

Having seen some of the best Brazil has to offer, I was eager to get a fuller picture of Brazilian life which our next scheduled visit to the infamous ‘favela’ slums of Rio, would hopefully provide. Entering the drug-lord controlled ‘favela’ under surveillance from a teenager with a radio and hand gun was always going to leave a lasting impression. I was surprised however with the relatively good condition of the houses and living areas, and saw no trace of the abject poverty that I was expecting. This dangerous illusion that crime does pay is possibly a detractor from the superb social work being done at the development centre we visited.

Ending our week with a view of the darker side of Brazil helped provide a broader picture of life and business here and its related complexities. Our 12 hour flight back to Dublin gave me time to reflect how fortunate I was to have had the opportunity to experience at least a taste of the diverse country that is Brazil. I was leaving with fascinating insights that would assist me in my life and business decisions into the future, and a much deeper understanding than any readings could ever supply. I found myself pleasantly surprised again by my MBA experience far outweighing my initial expectations, no matter how swamped I feel at times.

Neil Krige

– Neil Krige, FT MBA 2013

Smurfit Rugby Club

UCD Smurfit Rugby Team has brought home the MBA World Cup Trophy for 10 out of 11 years – well, the men’s team has. This year will be the second year in a row that the MBA program will also send a women’s team to the USA for the world cup, a feat that has only happened a handful of times before. As an American in Ireland, I had never even really watched rugby on the television let alone played a match in my life. And yet here I am, six months later, heading up the UCD Women’s Rugby Team (with a good friend, also a Smurfit MBA, who has extensive rugby experience). This year, we have one goal, which is to bring home a MBA Rugby World Cup, not only for the Men, but for the Women’s team also, which would be a first for Smurfit!

When asked to write an entry for our MBA Blog, it took me quite a while to come up with an experience to write about. Everything has happened so fast and intensely that it was a little overwhelming to come up with something to write about, since there seems to be so much going on in my head at one time! However, since Rugby has lately taken over my Tuesday and Friday nights, along with my Saturday and Sunday afternoons (we will call Saturdays and Sundays as studying up on the sport of Rugby by watching the “professionals” play in the 6 Nations).

Upon starting the MBA, the different representatives of all the MBA clubs (there are a lot of them) were paraded in front of us, where they told us about the opportunities offered by the different interest areas. Of course, when the Rugby Club came up, ears perked up, mainly because Smurfit has been the team to not only compete, but win the championship cup for so many years. Of course, it’s “great craic” as our friendly speaker insisted, but he also talked about the opportunities it opened as far as networking with other top MBA programs and the friendships and camaraderie you get as being part of an athletic team with other Masters students in the Smurfit School of Business.

Today, about one month away from our trip to the states, I can say that my experience has not been a disappointment!  I have met great guys and girls while participating on the team, and have also been able to achieve another of my personal goals in coming to Ireland, which was to learn more about a different culture, and learning about rugby (not only how to watch, but how to play) has given me an experience in Ireland. I am happy (albeit surprised) to say that I am the only non-Irish person on the women’s team (our coach playfully refers to me as the American rugby spy), and being a member of this team has given me a deeper and more real look into a pastime that is very important in the country. Almost like someone learning and getting understand the teams and the game of American Football if they go to the states. In class, I learn about business in both Ireland and other areas of the world (from an Irish perspective), and from my classmates I learn about the social norms of Ireland and Irish culture, but never can you truly be immersed in the culture until you take it on yourself to truly become involved in something that is of that country, outside of the contrived state of the classroom. I think I have done that with not only joining the Smurfit Rugby Club, but in being part of its leadership committee. I can’t wait until where the next month takes us as a team, and me individually, but I look forward to it and can’t wait to write a second entry in one month’s time detailing how we won!!

Heidi Hart

– Heidi Hart, FT MBA 12/13

MBA Charity Club

One of the really pleasing aspects of this year was the involvement of so many MBA colleagues in the work of the MBA Charity Club. We started our first meeting with ten volunteers and I am delighted to say that the same people are as committed now as they were at the start. And even better, we have added more volunteers to the ranks.

For the club this year our aim has been to try and identify some opportunities where we could bring some of our combined experience coupled with our MBA training to help some charities. While fundraising is really important we felt it would be more valuable to combine some charitable fundraising with raising awareness of a number of issues.

In the MBA class this year are some very talented, dedicated and creative people, none more so than Gerry Quinn and Rob Power (who enlisted the help of Art Director Adrian O’Sullivan) who have started working with Arc Cancer Support. They started off with a brainstorming session on the Saturday morning before our final exams. The aim of this session was to work with volunteers and staff of the charity to formulate an online strategy and help with some branding. The guys have continued this work with Arc Cancer Support and are currently helping put together a new website (launching in August with the help of Kooba Web Design and some PR experts). I have to say though that there were more volunteers from the MBA class than the Arc Cancer Support Project could cater for, including some lecturers!


ARC Cancer Support

Rob & Gerry in action

Arc Cancer Support operates two drop-in centres for cancer sufferers and their families in Dublin. Their centres are staffed by wonderful people who greet guests with a big heart and a smile. If you have the need you should check out their services.

This year has been an eventful one for the MBA Charity Club under the stewardship of Garrett Dorrian. Garrett has brought some great enthusiasm and leadership to our activities over the past nine months. He has kept everyone motivated, involved and has been a pleasure to work with.

Stephen Smith, Full Time MBA 2011/2012

UCD Smurfit Strategy Competition winning team

Congratulations to the winning team from the EMBA Weekend Year 2 class who are this year’s winners of the annual in-house case study competition.  Three teams battled it out on Saturday 30th May last in what proved to be a very closely fought competition.

The winning team are Eoin Lyons, Kate Healy, Jonathan Cuthbert, Sinead Hope and Dave Collins.

The team will now go on to represent the school in the MBAAI All Ireland Strategy Competition on June 23rd.   This annual competition will be held in the UCD Smurfit school this year as defending champions from 2011.

L to R: Dr. Brian McGrath(Judge), Siobhan O'Dowd(Judge), Eoin Lyons(Team Captain), Sinead Hope(Team member), Jonathan Cuthbert(Team member), Dave Collins(Team member), Prof. Pat Gibbons(Judge), Kate Healy(Team member).

Thank you all who participated – to the judges and the teams who made it such a successful day.

Best of luck to the team on Sat 23rd June!

MBA Programme Team.

“Do not disturb: loners do the best work”

This was a recent headline in the Irish Sunday Times reviewing the latest research suggesting that teamwork stifles creativity. This is one of many headlines I have been drawn to since my MBA journey began 5 months ago.

As I read the article it reminded me of the creative geniuses the world has produced and how their creations impacted upon society. Some of these individuals did not have University to educate them, which related to one of my recent readings for Organisation Behaviour and Decision Making Class:  “The learning organisation: Foucauldian gloom or Utopian sunshine”. During the pre-lecture discussion with some of my classmates, I stated my point that we were all like chickens being force fed case studies from Harvard. I had been wondering had any of the Lecturers ever had a student challenge the norm and bring some new insight into these cases. My thought continued to when we (MBA students) go back into the world of work will we be just applying the latest research into innovation and creativity, by bringing people into groups and hoping their creative juices flow? The Times stated that unless there are strong characters, people in groups often give into peer pressure, or sit back and let others do all the work. This is something we touched on last semester in Business and Society and we know how powerful groupthink can become.

By the way this is a blog about the UCD Smurfit MBA Charity Club but in many ways the introduction is the way the Charity Club has been operating, getting the best of both worlds in groupthink and individualism. A few weeks after the MBA started numerous groups began to bloom like daffodils in spring time, due to my interest in volunteering I decided to join the Charity Club. After the meeting with last year’s representative Fiona, Stephen and I realised that much hard work was ahead of us to get and keep people motivated and involved. Stephen came up with a great idea for cancer awareness in the first semester, so we decided to brainstorm and get the ball rolling. This ended up with the first Health Awareness Day in UCD Smurfit which we tied in with the Smurfit Society and Movember and it was a roaring success.

Since the energy levels have risen after the Christmas break, our policy of individuals coming up with their own idea, bringing them to the rest of the Club, and developing them into manageable events has continued. Presently we are organising an information lecture for business students in Belfield, fund raising for Autism Ireland, developing an idea with City Wise, helping Arc Support with marketing ideas, organising a Tarot Card fund raising event and organising a fundraising event in the Dublin Mountains for the mountain rescue association. It is very encouraging that not only are the individuals bringing these ideas to the club but that the majority of the class are also contributing.

Maybe loners do the best work but hopefully the latest research also has a place for groups as well. People are all different and the way they operate in groups varies but inevitably everyone has something useful to contribute. The MBA continues to expand my thinking and the Charity club continues to grow as a direct result of all those case studies and readings!

– Garrett Dorrian, FT MBA 2012