Smurfit MBA Int’l Study Trip -Brazil

As my colleague said in her blog post, we have just come back from this year’s MBA International Study Trips.

Each year, the Smurfit MBAs choose one of two destinations for the trip which in turn forms part of a module on Doing Business In Emerging Markets. This year, the Smurift MBAs chose to go to China and Brazil.

The Brazil group visited Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in 8 hectic days. Similarly to the China trip, the trip was a mix of educational, business, socal and cultural visits and meetings – but I guess we had the better weather in Brazil!

We first went to FIA Business School for two very interesting lectures on Brazilian economy and culture. Following that we visited the Brazilian stock exchange BM&FBovespa, retailer Walmart Brazil,  Natura cosmetics manufacturer, BNDES (development bank), Petrobras the Brazilian oil giant, and Deloitte Brazil. We also met with a number of Irish businesses and business people in Brazil as well as Enterprise Ireland’s Brazil Office.

Smurfit MBA Int'l Trip 2011 -Brazil
Visiting Afro Reggae in Rio



The social aspect of the trip was a visit to impressive social enterprise organisation Afro Reggae, who work to keep youths living in the slums of Rio out of trouble through music and education.


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UCD SMURFIT IN THE SPRING: A quick look back at TERM 3

At the time of writing my previous blog as a full time UCD Smurfit MBA, I was full of questions and thoughts. It was my reflection time.

So much has happened since then even though it has only been three weeks.

First of all, we have finished our exams for Term 3! Only someone who has had seven months of continuous challenges every day and every hour can imagine the relief I feel now.  As my coach, Eadine Hickey noticed, challenges are the best motivation for me. So when I say challenges I mean something tough, but exciting that makes you move, improve and develop.

In my opinion, Term 3, which is the first part of Semester 2, has been the most stressful one.  And, I’m not the only one who has observed this. Maybe it is because we are closer to finish line, which is sad and good at the same time. Maybe it is because there is a limit to a person’s energy and we are running out of it. Or maybe we had a busier schedule this term because of the Option Modules.

Nevertheless, I feel that I am on a different level this term thanks to the preparation from first two terms. I have enjoyed readings and discussions on different topics on strategy, HR, finance, negotiations, etc more than ever before. At the exams, I felt a little disappointed when questions did not cover some of the topics I was passionate about. So I tried to attach them to my answers even if it was not very relevant. And after exams, my classmates stopped me several times from talking about questions and answers saying that “this one is over now, switch to the next one”. Anyway, we have finished with exams, and still have couple of assignments to do to wrap up this term full of stress, learning and progress.

As for my choice of Option Modules, I should say that my decision to try to get a deeper understanding of different aspects of business was the right one. For example, I find Managing Sales Relations course very useful. Sales are everywhere, no matter what post you hold and what industry you are working in. And that class is special, because it considers Sales from a fresh perspective with reference to contemporary reality with its hypercompetition and incredible dynamics of markets. One of the guest speakers stated something that is applicable not only to sales people: in order to succeed you should admit the fact that in three out of four cases you will be rejected, and that’s absolutely normal.

Another interesting part of this term has been the “Mock” Interviews. I had interviews with two experienced recruiters Mark Burgess from Spirit Executive Fiona Tierney from Dalriada.  These training interviews bring you back to reality, and assess if you are ready to face ‘real world’.  All the grades and study will remain within the walls of your school. What those people outside college care about is if you are able to work hard, achieve goals, get on with people, etc. All the knowledge we acquired here can be useful only if we know how to apply it. That wasn’t news for me; whenever I heard any interesting theories I always tried to imagine how it would work in real life. The interviewers gave me valuable and insightful feedback, including advice on CV, main points for me to highlight during real interviews, some tips about career choices, etc.

And the last piece of news is about my Company Project. In my previous blogs, I confessed that even if my background and future career plans are all about finance; I would love to have a chance to do a project with a music company.  Although our MBA Careers Office provided us with a great choice of projects from which we could choose one for ourselves; I really wanted to find my own project in the music industry.

I should say that it is not easy to convince music people that an MBA project can be useful for them. Most of the companies I contacted did not even reply to my messages. It’s not surprising, because MBA and music seem to be two different worlds. However, luck was on my side and I eventually found a music company that expressed an interest. Moreover, it turned out that their idea for a project was very interesting and would allow me to apply my knowledge of strategy and marketing. But, I exchanged dozens of e-mails with the company before meeting them and coming to a consensus. Following the best traditions of adventure movies, everything was decided at the last moment, when I almost signed up for a different project. I would like to thank my coach, Eadine Hickey, and my classmate, Diarmuid O’Keeffe, who supported me in my in my idea of a project with a music company.

So here I am now, almost finished my assignments, looking forward to do my Company Project and heading towards our one-week International Study Trip to Brazil.

Oh, life is so beautiful!

–          Nargiza Kalmamatova, Full-time MBA 2010/2011



Photos: Spring in UCD Smurfit campus

Brazil, here we come !

Last Friday, we finished the last of our International Study Project classes with a tour itinerary presentation. Thanks to the presentation, we’re all now so excited to experience the much warmer weather on the Rio beaches.

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro BrazilOf course we had other important issues covered in that session, such as the importance of being on time and attending all scheduled meetings with the top management of various companies and also about using the opportunity to talk to the MBA students from a top Business school in Brazil. Well, all said and done, it’s a whole new country, with a whole new perspective. There will be a lot to learn from this country that’s developing at a pace like no other. This trip is going to be extremely eventful for the 43 of us going to Brazil in terms of meetings, learning and fun! Just can’t describe in words how much I’m looking forward to this trip and I am sure you will hear much more about it over the next few weeks !

Christ the Redeemer, here we come!

– Diana Vincent