As semester two draws to a close, and the finish line is starting to come into focus, now is the perfect time to reflect on what has been one of the biggest decisions of my life thus far – surrendering the 9-5 to return to education and the MBA.
There have been highs, there have been lows, and many sleepless nights either as a result of excessive studying or excessive partying!
Even as I write this entry, on the sunniest day of the 2017 thus far, the thoughts of getting over the finish line provide enough motivation to skip paying “respect to the man in the ice-cream van” for one day and keep the head in the books (H.P. Baxxter).
Without doubt, getting to spend seven days with my colleagues, immersing ourselves in Japanese and South Korean culture was the highlight. The historical significance of these countries, as well as being modern day industrial powerhouses, was such a fantastic journey to take with such close friends.
Taking in everything those cities had to offer, from the sushi to the singing at a karaoke bar ensured there was sufficient, and much needed, down-time to a very hectic schedule.
But it won’t stop there. No sooner will our exams finish in May that we will be back in the air once more to experience Iceland for a consulting trip and the excitement is palpable! “On the road is where we come alive” (David Brent).
The whirlwind nature of the programme so far shows no signs of stopping, and who would like it any other way?
After a grueling first semester and when it again began to look all too busy in the second half of the MBA, there came this opportunity to travel down to the Asian giants – Japan and South Korea. The experience could not have been more insightful had it not been earned from within their courtyards. It was time to unleash how Japan has been the front-runner in giving leading technologies, manufacturing methods and services across the globe. It was time again to get acquainted to how South Korea, after having gone through such a tortured past amidst the hostility of North Korea, picked up itself in becoming a leader in telecommunications, electronics and auto-mobile industry. Finally, the pleasant wait was over when the MBA caravan landed in Tokyo on March 12th.
The build-up to this trip was such that some students reached Dublin airport long before the departure. Although the journey took more than a day to reach with jet-lag started playing its role in disturbing our sleep cycles, there was no dearth of enthusiasm in the MBA cohort. Tiresome flight, sleepy eyes and even a bad stomach could not deter me to dwell out on the streets of Shinjuku on the first night. As I had lived in Japan 4 years back, it made this trip even more nostalgic personally and relevant to my travel diary.
The formal itinerary commenced with three guest lecturers speaking at large on Japanese business ethics, bureaucracy, the national politics, and how they managed to live a satisfying life in Japan though they were all from much more liberal and free societies. I found the words from Mr Michael Cucek, one of the speakers, extremely insightful in uncovering how Japanese politics thrives and it was very surprising to know that political families have been at the forefront in shaping the politics in Japan. The next event at NTT DoCoMo R&D centre was no less than looking in the near future as they showed some of their revolutionizing prototypes. It would be unfulfilling not to mention the dinner at “Gonpachi” restaurant. Though I don’t have a great taste for fish, I must admit I absolutely loved their salmon. For those who doubted the Japanese style of partying, they had a shout out at the Karaoke later.
Time to fly across to the neighbouring South Korea.
The very first impression I made of South Koreans was that they were a bit more relaxed and flexible than the conservative Japanese. Fortunately, the weather was fantastic with bright sunshine during the next three days which was quite unusual according to our tour guides, Grace and Jenny. Being an ardent lover of cars, I particularly looked forward to visiting KIA Motors. KIA had recently announced to start manufacturing in India and luckily, I got a good 5 minutes’ chat with the presenter conversing on the same topic. I don’t think I would have ever got this opportunity to hear directly from KIA’s official. Thanks to this trip!
The itinerary was so tightly packed that people would have taken some 3-4 days of good rest to recover back to the Dublin time zone. Here, I would like to make a specific mention to Mr Karan Sonpar who selected the destinations for this trip, Ms Avril Donohue and Legacy Ventures for organising and making this week memorable. Of course, the tour guides in Tokyo and Seoul also as they were outstanding in terms of the depth of knowledge they had about the respective countries.
It was hard to condense down the scintillating week into limited words, but words would never be enough to express this great time that we, the Smurift ambassadors, had across the Pacific. This was truly the icing on the cake!
The Orient sparks my imagination. It is just two days until we depart for Japan and South Korea on our MBA international Study Tour. The number of assignments due before our flights is stacked – my team works day-by-day prioritizing which fires to fight – yet each time we submit a report or presentation my excitement builds. Of all the countries in Asia, Japan captures my imagination the most: a high-tech world melted into politeness and respect of their past. The kid in me yearns for the latest Nintendo Switch, the engineer in me longs to travel the bullet train over its flat seismic terrain, while the adult foodie in me craves everything on offer! But if I’m honest – we only have two days and three nights in Tokyo before we fly to South Korea. I am a man who focuses on his priorities – my inner Anthony Bourdain wins breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In Dublin – we don’t have the bullet train – we have the Dorsh! Our green train with its loyal base of daily commuters is one of Ireland’s greatest public transport success stories. And, yes we do have some! Our Dart snakes up and down Dublin Bay where the views can simply make your day, but it’s nowhere near as memorable as the Dub’s quick wit overheard on the Dart. I was delighted to discover that our first field trip in Tokyo is to J-Trec: the manufacturer of our lovely DART. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about manufacturing processes in a heavy industry, the Japanese productivity philosophy and (fingers crossed) high-speed trains. In between our field trips, my class and I hope to experience as much Japanese culture as possible: the sights, the sounds and sheer culture differences that stop you dead in your tracks.
The focus of my MBA journey is not to be railroaded by the desire to purely amass textbook knowledge. It is about learning from my classmates’ different perspectives, the challenges they place on you to justify your idea or opinion – there is no better group to call a spade a spade – and the opportunities to improve your soft skills and behaviors to grow as a leader. Yet I have this gut-feeling Japan will challenge everyone’s perspective.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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….
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.
South Africa is the country that I have always dreamed to visit once in my life. One year ago, I still questioned if I would ever have a chance to be there. One year later, I found myself sitting on the deck of The Water Front, in the centre of Cape Town, enjoying the bright sunshine and fresh breeze. Like a dream. I got this wonderful chance thanks to the International Study Tour which is part of the UCD Smurfit MBA Programme. Although, the trip was only one week, but I, along with my MBA peers spent a fruitful time in this amazing country. The first destination was Johannesburg, a rapidly changing city and the vibrant heart of South Africa. Being the biggest city of South Africa, Johannesburg also plays the role of the major commercial, financial, and industrial hub. Here, we not only visited big companies like Coca Cola and Old Mutual, but also got a chance to go to Soweto, a historic ‘township’ area, Hector Pietersen Museum and Nelson Mandela’s old house which helped me to understand more about history of this country.
Coming from Vietnam, a country experiencing the same terrified pain of war, I feel that I can really relate to South Africa’s long history of struggling for freedom and equality, and also amazed by the fact that the country has quickly rebuilt and developed to become a member of BRICS within just 20 years. The next destination was Cape Town, the capital of South Africa. It is such a beautiful and lovely city which easily makes you fall in love with. We visited a lot of companies, start-ups, social entrepreneur and non-profit organizations, as well as having a great time on a sunset cruise and wine tasting trip to the winelands.
Through this trip, I have learned a lot of new things. What impressed me most is that although being an emerging country, South Africa pays a lot of attention to policy measurements that improve the environment, income gap and social equality. Especially, to me, the idea of BBBEE is very interesting and I think this can be applied to other developing countries. Other than that, I also had a chance to experience the culture of South Africa which is mixture of African and European influence. In just one week, I fell in love with South Africa’s unique culture, beautiful landscape, and nice people. Everywhere I went, I always saw bright smiles, I was warmly welcomed, and treated with friendliness and great hospitality. I will definitely come back to this country. Thanks to the Smurfit MBA for giving me this memorable experience.
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.
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.
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.
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)
As an Exec MBA, it’s quite a decision to go on the international study tour. Between expense, college workload, work commitments, annual leave and further time away from general joy, it’s easy to see why my classmates found the decision less than straight forward. As one put it: “it’s a bit of a hard sell to the wife, to trek off to South Africa for a jolly while I’m not even taking her out for dinner.” Fair point. Although I bet she still hasn’t got that dinner.
I made the decision to eventually go myself for three reasons: i) you can always earn more money, but you might not always find great experience; ii) South Africa posed an incredibly unique learning environment (fairly different to Room N204, at least) and iii) it hadn’t been sunny in Ireland for 471 days. I did hesitate when only 5 of my own classmates were going – everyone else was from the full-time MBA stream and while I had caught a name or two in the handful of classes we shared this term, I really didn’t know anyone else. So to say I was nervous was an understatement, though presumably you’re not supposed to admit that, as an MBA student (who doesn’t love networking? It’s the BEST.). But it felt like an escalated version of that awful feeling you get when you first walk into a networking event – see absolutely nobody you know – and so look desperately for the biscuits.
Regardless, it was easy to get excited about what was ahead. The educational theme of the South African trip was loosely mirrored to the Business & Society module – which I now realise is the same module that inspired a previous blog post of mine. It’s definitely a topic of personal interest for me; the delicate space between the responsibilities of business and the complexities of societal need. Post-apartheid South Africa provides a very unique socio-economic environment in which to explore the subject – but while I was expecting some interesting insights and the occasional key learning, the spectacular programme we received far exceeded my expectations. Expertly designed to allow the gradual build of a narrative of the country over the course of the week, the quality of the content was surpassed only by the passion and open sincerity of the speakers. While I can’t possibly give a complete overview in a single blog post (“over-enthusiastic MBA student breaks internet”), I would like to offer a brief window into just two organisations.
In Johannesburg, we visited Raizcorp, a phenomenally successful entrepreneurial incubator, spearheaded by Founder & CEO Allon Raiz. There is nothing like listening to a speaker who is so wholly assured that they are doing some simple, unadorned good in the world. Wincing at a roomful of MBAs’ subtle (and not so subtle) demands for the “real success” stories, he stressed to us that there is success beyond the bottom line in the context of the entrepreneur. His account of the multi-million success story was equal in enthusiasm and vigour to his telling of the local plumbing business which now thrives in the township of the owner, providing the luxury of financial independence and educational security for her family. Furthermore, Raiz’s basic framework for entrepreneurship completely contradicts the principles of what we have learnt so far in our study of entrepreneurial theory. His outward distain for anything resembling an ROI calculation is the kind of thing that goes through my mind on a daily basis in class, while I wonder if I should really be taking medieval lit or jam-making. Author of “Lose the Business Plan” he tells us that his company invests in people, not business models – for the simple logic that business models are so liable to change and reconfiguration in their initial stages that they must be immediately rendered obsolete. But the PERSON? It is their very susceptibility to flux and change that will ultimately create value – shaping the business, and indeed themselves as leader, for years to come. So why place your faith and investment in anything else?
As we moved on to Cape Town, it was hard to imagine the trip continuing at the high standard it had been. However visiting some of the not-for-profits in the region was so inspiring. One in particular, Velokhaya, has lingered for me. Working with the young boys of the township of Khayelitsha and beyond, the organisation aims to keep children in education for as long as possible through the simple discipline of owning a bike and participating in cycling tournaments. We even had the opportunity of a quick demonstration from some of the young talent enrolled today – their pride in performing for their visitors was just a showstopper. Throughout our trip, the dismal truth of the South African educational system was a prominent feature in how the racial imbalance of opportunity in the country is maintained; the continuing commitment of organisations to correct this inequity, in both great and small ways, is profound.
Coming to the end of a two-year stint on the MBA, I have to admit that I had become very ready for the close of the programme. But following the South Africa trip, I remembered what makes this experience truly special – throwing yourself into something new, uncharted and literally and figuratively outside of your world. The intellectual exhilaration of that is fairly unparalleled in day-to-day living and I know I have witnessed things on this trip that will stay with me for the rest of my life. And to be fortunate enough to share those experiences alongside an absolutely stellar bunch of people is all the more exceptional – as it turns out, I didn’t even need the biscuits.
Last night (for the ninth year in a row), we had Lyndon Worrall from Legacy Ventures join us for the Pre-International Study Tour Briefing Session. We are just four weeks out from the Study Tour so we were all eagerly awaiting Lyndon’s presentation and left the session feeling very excited after hearing all that is in store for us!
During his presentation, Lyndon explained how the Study Tour allows participants to immerse themselves in the business environment of a specific country by taking them on an intensive exploration of local business practices, challenges and cultures, using company visits as the ideal setting for practical learning. The Study Tour combines a variety of high-level company visits, presentations and panel discussions from leading executives, government officials and entrepreneurs, all relevant to the core management disciplines being studied on the ‘Doing Business in International Markets’ MBA module.
On March 12th, 61 MBA students will depart for the annual Smurfit MBA International Study Tour. 39 students will be traveling to South Africa, accompanied by Dr. Virginia Stewart, Lyndon Worrall and myself. 22 students will be going to UAE & India, joined by Professor Karan Sonpar, Professor Pat Gibbons, Sze Von Lam and Roisin O’Loughlin.
The South Africa trip will include visits to both Johannesburg and Cape Town while the UAE & India group will be going from Dubai to Mumbai.
Along with the academic aspect of this module, there are three main outcomes that we aim to achieve throughout the week:
Career Development: To develop a deeper understanding of doing business in an international context and an opportunity to network with senior executives from various backgrounds.
Skills Development: Practical exposure to innovative business case studies relevant to the core courses studied and enhance team working skills through group challenges.
Personal Development: An intensive social networking opportunity. Build strong relationships. Challenging experience – “get you out of your comfort zone”.
There is a strong networking and social element to the Study Tour and Lyndon has lots of exciting adventures lined up; dinner at Atlantis, The Palm Dubai, a visit to the world’s tallest building The Burj Khalifa, a sunset cruise around Table Bay in Cape Town and lots more.
Keep an eye on the MBA Blog next month to hear how we get on in South Africa, UAE & India!
Avril Donohue ~MBA Alumni Relations, Marketing & Events
Today, our FT MBA students sat their last exam which marked the end of Semester 1 for the academic year 2015-16. Semester 1 is always intense and challenging for MBA students. Many students are International and many have not studied for a number of years. However, once the initial apprehension passes and everyone gets to know each other students make great progress working individually and in teams to meet the requirements of their modules. As well as the academic side of the programme, students immerse themselves in the various MBA clubs and the Social Committee is active to ensure that everyone has time to blow off steam after major deadlines throughout the Semester.
Semester 1 saw students travel to the USA, Canada, Spain and Turkey as part of the GNIW and the UCD Smurfit School welcomed students from Turkey, the USA, China, Mexico and Canada. Two students were lucky enough to travel to Bangalore, India to represent the MBA at a GNAM Conference. We welcomed three exchange students from Mexico and China and these students make a valuable contribution to the MBA experience. Students began the journey of developing their self-concept through the Leadership Development Programme and commenced their Career Search. We were delighted to gain a new MBA mascot in the last few weeks when one of our students and his partner welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world which helps to put the daily stresses of life into perspective.
We envisage that Semester 2 will be as challenging and rewarding as the first semester. Students will travel to the UAE and India or South Africa as part of our Doing Business in International Markets module and will also take part in an international study trip to China. Students will liaise with Companies to choose an exciting Capstone project to work on during the Summer term and the diverse range of option modules available will satisfy many students desires to learn more about the topics of Entrepreneurship, Competitive Strategy, Management Consultancy and more. MBA students will continue on their self-development journey as part of the LDP programme and the Career Search will gather momentum in Semester 2 – it’s all to look forward to!
We wish all of our students, alumni, colleagues and friends of the MBA a very well-deserved, relaxing and happy break over the Christmas period and we look forward to what is to come in 2016.