This is the 6th year that the Smurfit School has been involved with the Irish Aid “IDEAS” programme. Irish aid provides scholarships for candidates from Irelands developing country partners such as Vietnam, to further their education in Ireland in subject areas which are relevant to the development of the individual’s home country. Since the start of the scholarship programme we have welcomed over 72 Vietnamese students to the school.
This April, the director of the MBA Orla Nugent and I will fly to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to complete the interview process to select the top 20-25 students for both the MSc and MBA programmes. This will be my first trip to Vietnam and I’m really excited. As a lifelong foodie, I can’t wait to try some of the local food- Phở (Vietnamese Noodle Soup), Bún Bò Huế (Beef Vermicelli Soup), Bánh Kẹp Lá Dứa (Coconut Pandan Waffles) to name just a few! There was a huge volume of people that attended this year’s têt celebration that the current Vietnamese students held in the school in February, so I’m confident that next year’s cohort will be equally embraced by Smurfit and it’s students.
Today, on my way back from my trip to Glendalough, Wicklow on a rainy day, I feel that I love my MBA friends, my room in Proby House and my flatmates more than ever before. And I want to say my thank you to all people around me who make my time meaningful and invaluable in every single moment.
My special thank to Rikke who has been organizing everything for us since we arrived here in Dublin in August, to my classmates who comes here to share and learn for whatever reasons, my Group 6 who helps me to get things done together, and Linda who encourages and motivates me to study Continue reading The importance of friendship to an MBA
Recall last August when arriving in Dublin, many things were strange to me: people go on the left hand-side on streets, the weather was cold even in the summer and the sun was still on my head even in the evening. In my country, Vietnam, evening means dark and no sun, summer means very hot and humid; and of course, we go on the right hand-side. All those things made me feel unusual and I asked myself how could I adapt to a new society and what should I do to perform well in the MBA?
How am I now after one year? Everything is different. I am confident walking on streets in Dublin, I am confident to be a tour-guide for my friends visiting the city. I can speak fluently about Cork, Galway, Killarney, Cobh, Dingle bay, Belfast and Giants Causeway. More than that, I also have experience of working in family farms of my classmates in Sligo and Mullingar. I love to play football and hurling with my mates in sunny evening (you cannot say “sunny evening” in my country!). What has changed me? That is one year MBA with lovely people.
The first day coming to my class, I worried – how can I catch up with the class, how can I work with people from various countries? My concerns were reasonable because the difference in culture, the unfamiliar business environment and the language barrier were big challenges waiting for me. In the first term, those challenges accompanied with heavy workload were extremely tough. Indeed, language barrier was the major obstacle. For example, sometimes, I was confused in class discussion; and it took me double or triple times to finish all readings and assignments in comparison with others in my class. I feel that the first term was the hardest time of study in my life.
How am I now? Now I am confident to involve in discussions and presentation in my class, I understand the business customs and I am comfortable to contribute ideas from the viewpoint of people from an emerging and dynamic economy in the East. My contributions are valuable to the class because I give them the perspective from different experience and different angles. What has changed me? That is the MBA.
It is the end of June now and there are only three days left for me to finish my journey with the MBA. I am very sure that MBA in Smurfit School is my best decision ever. It is a bridge for my future, both in career and in life. I came here with a group of Vietnamese people and I am very sure that they learned a lot too. I would like to say thank you to my classmates, to the school, to all my professors and teachers and especially to Irish Aid who sponsors me for my MBA. Only three days more in the school and several weeks before coming back to Vietnam, I am very sure that I will miss Ireland and the school a lot. To me, MBA is unforgettable in my life and Ireland is my second home.
These days, Dublin is in spring time with beautiful flowers blossoming everywhere and sun is out until 9PM. I have also finished most of my classes at school and been working for company project. My school is recruiting for MBA 2012. It is also the time when Irish Aid gathers all fellows, who receive scholarship from Irish Aid, at the headquarter of Irish Aid in Limerick.
Though I have been in Ireland for 8 months, this is my first time to visit the office of Irish Aid, my sponsor. At 7AM, I was ready at the office of ICOS (Irish Council for International Students) from which our bus headed to Limerick. It took us 3 hours by bus to travel from Dublin to Limerick.
Irish Aid Department of Foreign Affairs Riverstone House is located at 24 Henry Street in the centre area of Limerick. This is the second year that Irish Aid holds this event and it hopefully will become an annual event for fellows to meet up with each other and with Irish Aid staffs.
This seminar was to discuss key issues in the 9 partner countries (in white) and the areas Irish Aid is working on: Poverty and Hunger; HIV/AIDS and Health; Development; Environment; and Education. These focuses are delivered by three main programmes: Fellowship, IDEAS (Irish Development Experience Sharing) and Strategic Cooperation.
We are explained three reasons that Ireland gives aid to developing countries are Moral Obligation, Self-interest and International Commitment. Irish children are educated these values from primary schools. At the moment, the budget for Official Development Assistance is made up 0.53% GNP of Ireland. 15% of the budget for Vietnam goes into capacity building in IDEAS programme which aims to share lessons of Ireland’s economic and social development with Vietnam. Programme commenced in 2009. Irish Aid does not directly train fellows, but they have partnership with UCD Smurfit Business School.
“Tet – the lunar new year” is knocking the door when I start writing this entry. This year we Vietnamese students welcome our traditional “Tet” in Ireland – a wonderland in my mind. Missing home so much, I know that I will miss this land evermore when I am back to Vietnam.
There are thousands of reasons that make me love this country. My first impression is Irish people, who are very warmhearted and friendly. You can easily get acquainted with people and talk with them, even on the buses or in the streets. I still remember a cold winter day, when I got lost on Moorehampton Road. Thank God, an old lady passed and asked if she could help. She took me to the nearest bus to get home and told me about Ireland in the past. Her stories conjured me up an old Ireland with family ties, catholic norms and community spirit. Above all, I feel the very human nature of Irish people when they communicate and do charity, as in a lyric of my favorite song: “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, sure, they steal your heart away”.
Thirsty for knowledge and further management development after several years working experiences, I tried to find an opportunity for MBA. Scholarship was the only feasible option for a candidate from an emerging country, like myself. And I found Smurfit and Irish Aid.
However, I was not that lucky to be selected for the scholarship. After several challenges and fierce struggles, I thought that I would give up. However, thanks to the encouragement of my fiancé, who is my husband now, I decided to go forward with the program without waiting for any other opportunities. I came to the school with mixed feelings where I felt both anxious and worried. Deep thoughts normally occupied my mind during the initial time. I only looked forward to gaining as much knowledge as possible to make up my efforts. My husband, and also my classmate ;), was the only place I could put all pressures on during those days.
Gradually, things have changed. Going along with the program, I get used to the culture and study load, I feel more comfortable now, not only in study but in social life as well. I have friends who I can talk with. Not only my husband, but I now also have Germany, US, Kyrgyzstan, Indian and Irish gals who have the same concerns with mine about the programs, life, etc. I started to approach lectures and program more softly. The presentation ways, communication methods, how to realize true facts from daily news, etc. are more valuable to me now. Besides studying, I go here and there to discover Ireland. I know more Irish and react better in specific situations both in and out the classroom ;). Especially, when Tet, the biggest event of Vietnamese, came, my Vietnamese friends and I had all classmates and lecturers to come to enjoy Tet atmostphere with special dishes and images prepared by ourselves. In Pillar Room with special smell of my mother land’s foods, we all shared the enthusiasm and I really felt I was home at that time. “All wishes may come true to all of us” was my prayer for a new year.
Time flies. It has been almost three terms. I am now more confident with what I have gained from the program and eager to be back to my home country to apply to reality.
And finally, “no life with full of roses”, a Chinese sentence, meaning to live is to take both rewards (roses) and challenges. But on my own perspective, challenges are also “roses”. MBA and my peers are beautiful roses that I have enjoyed.
I grew up in the highland countryside of Vietnam in a family of six children in the time when Vietnam just opened the gate to the world. At that moment, our need was at the basic level of having enough food and clothes. As a single parent, though my father was struggling to feed us, he still thought big about our future to work extremely hard for our education. I was impacted strongly by his tenacious effort that not only helped me to have a good education in Vietnam, but also trained me to have a strong will to pursue higher education and open my world.
Each year, a group of highly talented individuals from Vietnam gets the opportunity to study for a year at UCD Smurfit under the Irish Aid Irish Development Experience Sharing (IDEAS) programme. The objective of the IDEAS Programme is to share the lessons of Ireland’s economic and social development with Vietnam. This academic year, the UCD Smurfit School has welcomed 10 students on that Programme
In end November, Orla Nugent (MBA Director) and Gillian Flanagan (Smurfit Admissions) visited Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam to promote both the Business School and the IDEAS Scholarship programme 2011/2012.
In Ho Chi Minh City, Orla and Gillian attended the QS World MBA Fair in HCM. Here they met with over fifty students who were most enthusiastic about UCD Smurfit School, studying in Ireland and the Irish Aid IDEAS Scholarship programme. They also interviewed a number of applicants who have already applied to the Scholarship programme.
Later that week, Orla and Gillian attended a meeting in the Irish Embassy in Hanoi where they met with the IDEAS Programme managers at the Embassy. At this meeting the discussion centred around the applications received to date and a plan of action for the forthcoming months. Part of the programme for the visit to Hanoi was also a visit to the residence of the Irish Ambassador, Maeve Collins, to attend the official launch of the Irish Aid IDEAS Scholarship programme for the 2011/12 academic year. This event was very well attended by interested students who were able to meet also the IDEAS Programme Alumni from the 2009/2010 Programme.
“All in all, it was a very exciting trip. We met a number of interesting applications for the IDEAS Programme 2011/2012 and we now look forward to processing all the applications”, MBA Director Orla Nugent says.
Stay tuned for an update on the IDEAS Programme and to hear from the current students on the Programme.