UCD Smurfit MBA alums join European elite at the Europas!

Best of luck to fledgling company Buzzoo who take on the best in Europe at the Europas on 22nd Jan. 2013.  Buzzoo are made up of FT MBA 2012 alumns – Dave ByrneVishal Balasubramaniam, and David Pierce.

The Europas have been deemed the premier European awards for early, mid-, and late-stage technology start-ups, by leading investors and media. The Europas seek out the “hottest new start-ups in Europe, Middle East and Africa” and have previously recognised such household names as SoundCloud, Mind Candy, Spotify and Betfair.

Buzzoo made the shortlist for the forthcoming Europas start-up awards in Berlin on 22 January from more than 1,000 nominees that were put through the judging process.   The nominees were judged by venture capitalists from firms like Kleiner Perkins, Accel and Google Ventures, as well as founders like Bebo’s Michael Birch, Cloudflare’s Matthew Prince and YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim, not to mention journalists from various tech news sites across Europe.


– Michael McDonnell, MBA Programme Manager

Success for MBA entrepreneurs

Congratulations to Lynne O’Donnell, MBA 2012, who came second in the final of the entrepreneurship accelerator programme, LaunchPad, run by the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC).  Lynn is founder and CEO of the start-up company, Tempity, which took second place at yesterday’s final granting access to an investment fund of €20,000.

Tempity is a cloud-based platform, which allows Recruitment agencies to easily monitor the availability of temporary candidates and match their clients with temps in real-time, based on skills match and location. Tempity dynamically tracks candidate availability so recruitment consultants will only see temps who are available for work now.  On the other side, Temps can actively manage their availability, location & accept jobs directly from their smart phone.

Lynn was in good company yesterday with a second UCD Smurfit MBA start-up company also competing on the day – Buzzoo.  Three graduates from the Fulltime MBA 2012 are part of the management team – Founders Dave Byrne and Vishal Balasubramaniam and Business Development manager – David Pierce.  Buzzoo is social music software for businesses that play music. It allows people at a premises to control the music by using their smartphone to view and influence the music playlist for the venue. It’s like moving the jukebox onto the smartphone and turning the smartphone into a remote control for the music so that the crowd becomes the DJ. Buzzoo also represented UCD Smurfit in the inaugural ‘Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition’ last June.

NDRC LaunchPad is Ireland’s first digital accelerator, ranked 1st in Ireland and 6th in Europe, supporting the next generation of digital entrepreneurs to accelerate good ideas to sound startups. This innovative programme is managed by another UCD Smurfit MBA graduate – Gary Leyden, who has worked with over 80 digital ventures to date on LaunchPad.


– Michael McDonnell, MBA Programme Manager

Because you’re worth it….

Today’s Irish Times features an article about MBAs in Ireland.  The article quotes Smurfit MBA Director Orla Nugent on the increasing number of Smurfit executive MBAs who receive some form of sponsorship from their employer.

In the article, Smurfit FT MBA 2012 alumni Dave Byrne talks about how the year on the MBA offered him the ideal opportunity to get a business plan together and take the first tentative steps towards being an entrepreneur. “One of the key things about it is that it’s a risk-free environment. You’re very free to just take risks during the year, and if it doesn’t work out then it’s not the end of the world.”

Read more here..

– Rikke Budolfsen, MBA Programme Manager

Professional Business Coaching on my UCD EMBA

Coaching has been one of the most beneficial aspects of the UCD Smurfit MBA Personal Development Programme in my experience. It is something I was offered in the past, but did not take up at the time due to time pressures.

In Year 2 of the EMBA, there are three coaching sessions offered to every single EMBA student.  In these one-on-one sessions, I set out my goals and my plans for achieving them. In my case, this was my business plan. My coach acted as a sounding board and through the coach’s skilful questions, it challenged certain assumptions I held and encouraged me to tease out certain issues – challenges that I envisaged and how I planned to overcome them. The coach helped me pin down my preferences on the options that were before me.

Managers can sometimes get caught up in the day-to-day operational aspects of the business and neglect to come up for air and look at the big picture and where they should be heading.  Have the goalposts changed?  A few sessions with a professional business coach can help you to take stock and review your position and focus on getting to where you want to go next.

Kate Healy, EMBA 2010-12

MBA Conferrings 2011

Wednesday 7th December saw the 2011 class being conferred in the O’Reilly Hall in Belfield.  It was a great occasion for all the graduates and their families some of whom had flown in for the day and a fitting event to mark all the hard work and effort put in by the MBA participants from the beginning of the applications process, in some cases year ago, to the handing in of the final assignment and putting the pen down in the final exam.  The conferral was a joint one between the MBA and the Masters in Accountancy programmes.  The ceremony itself was conducted by UCD President Hugh Brady and Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh.  The address was given by Dr. Tony Brabazon, Director of UCD Smurfit Business School.

As usual the run up to the conferral was marked by lots of running around getting gowns and scanning of the hall to locate family, not an easy task in such a large hall.  After the official part of the day was successfully completed by graduates the 670 men, woman and children present adjourned to the O’Reilly Conservatory for the Conferring Reception.  There were lots of introductions of family to class mates, photographs taken with classmates and family with a rather splendid Christmas tree as a back drop and discussion of everyone’s plans for the evening.  A couple of the classes had arranged group meals or events for after family meals were over.   By all accounts some people didn’t finish celebrating until the early hours of the following morning.

Congratulations to the UCD Smurfit class of 2011 from all in the MBA Office.

– RoisinO’Loughlin | EMBA Programme Manager | MBA Office










What’s an MBA to Do!



So, I am now an MBA. My desire to consolidate 25 years of work experience has been achieved. The CV is now ‘interesting’ and business relevant. So:  Job Hunting. To be honest, when I finished the course I wasn’t sure I want to work for anybody. I spent the past 10 years in self-employment. Nor did I know what I wanted to do with the rest of my work life. I looked at Not for Profit and Facilities Management, but in addition to there being a lot of qualified people in the job market, neither felt right.

Two months after finishing the course 38 of my 45 strong class are in jobs. It’s not that the remaining 7 are less capable; in fact I regard some of them as the most capable and talented of my class. No, I think they find themselves in a somewhat similar position to me. They may not have been Laser focused on specific areas of work like the other 38. Like me, they know what they want to do, but in a slightly more vague way. So what’s an MBA to do?

In my case it seems that not worrying too much helps. Not beating myself up about how few responses I have received. About the Not for Profit job that I wanted, but was probably not what I needed. Realising that Facilities Management was not going to be any more interesting to me now than it was when I left the sector. It seems that patience is more a necessity than a virtue for the MBA graduate who wants to change career direction.

In the end my decision on career path came from a series of random events.  My wife was offered a job in Singapore ‘out of the blue’, so we are moving the family there for three years. In looking at the job market there I saw some jobs in Recruitment and realised that with my experience, personality, and MBA, I might be suited to Executive Search. My wife, who works in HR agreed. So I am now focused on this area.  I doubt I could easily find a suitable Search role in Dublin, while Singapore is a far larger market and the Irish community is quite strong there.

So, the post MBA scramble to get a job may soon be over for me. What have I learned? Well, use the time on the course to consider your options, listen to Brian Marrinan and start job searching early to get a sense of what you want/don’t want; don’t panic when the course finishes as may take time to find the right job (for some it may be back to the area they were keen to exit; as funds are short; for other it may be a case of getting in at a lower level/salary than envisaged to get a start in a new industry) but most of all life is quirky and we must keep our eyes and ears open, we must network and we must ‘chance our arm’ a bit.  And I know all of this because the Smurfit MBA graduate is a formidable package. A package which may not fully reveal itself for months or even years, but which is all about innovation and measured risk taking.

Good luck to all; whether in/out of/or considering entering, the world of the MBA student. It is certain to me that we change during the one/two years, and become better able to read life, not just business. As one lecturer sad to me ‘Everyone on an MBA is in crisis of some sort. The course helps in facilitating life change of one sort or another.’ Let the change begin!

– David Gosling, FT MBA Class of 2011

I visited Blackrock this week

I visited Blackrock this week. My first view in a while of the long dipping main street strewn with highbrow establishments such as The Wicked Wolf and the wafting of shampoo fumes from one of the twenty one hairdressers burning my eye balls – I must say it was a delight to be back. As a 2010 / 2011 MBA graduate of Smurfit, the waft of cash burning a hole through the pockets of my D&G carrot chinos while I waded over the slew of board chairmen shouting job offers at me outside Supermacs on Blackrock main street did give me a little reminder that I am pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to business in Ireland. And then I walked into a pole and woke up.

The last few months have been interesting. I have met some amazing people, in marketing, retail, sales, manufacturing, product design and event management. These people are getting on with it. They are making the best of a crippled market and using innovative thinking and creativity to get ahead.

The most impressive individual I have met is a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in probably five years, Gavin Downes. Gav, a marketing graduate of Smurfit from back in the day is a director at Modern Green, one of the most advanced Experiential Marketing agencies in Europe. Their award winning campaigns for O2 and Heineken have ensured that they attract serious talent and have an absolute blast while doing it. Their pool table, turntable, vinyl records, dog friendliness, barber on a Tuesday, fun office is a joy to visit and the welcome everyone gets is part of who they are. Modern Green are open to ideas and dedicated to turning these good ideas into measureable brand experiences for clients.

As a converted experiential marketer I have had the fortune to engage MG recently to partner with me on approaching a major international brand about what I saw as their ineffective brand strategies in Ireland and to impress on them the need to change them. You see, Experiential Marketing (XM) allows customers to engage and interact with brands in sensory ways that provide the icing on the cake of providing information. Personal experiences help people connect to a brand and make intelligent and informed purchasing decisions. People remember experiences, and this drives sales. Gavin has a great saying, “it’s like telling someone who has never tasted chocolate what chocolate tastes like and expecting them to appreciate the experience.”

The growth of XM is very important. Last week I attended Experiential Marketing Ireland’s (XMI) first session. It was a mix of Ted Talks, a gig and a Damien McLoughlin lecture -very interesting and entertaining. About 100 agency and media people attended. It was hosted by GD, and there was some cool stuff discussed around billboards that communicate individually with consumers, Jay Z’s staggering multimillion dollar book launch, Bud’s weather thing that polarised the panel and innovative thinking by Brando.ie. The main point from this symposium was, value your own work. Ireland is one of the top media and marketing nations in the world. We have the most creative and innovative people working in marketing in Ireland, all of whom are only a phone call away and we should be proud of them and proud of ourselves.

So there is hope, keep positive, keep bashing out ideas, all you need is one.

Cheers,

–  Colin Barry, FT MBA 2010/2011

(PS I’m promoting this Macklemore and Ryan Lewis gig on the 21st of October -buy tickets and come, there is a Smurfit MBA connection with one of the performing artists!!).

Follow Colin on Twitter

Doing the in-company project in India – a gateway to opportunities

Although the in-company project was due to start only in April, right from the last week of January, I started looking out for projects with Digital Marketing companies in India. I had my reasons for wanting to do the project in India. First, my goal was to return to India. Second, I wanted to use the 7 week period to also explore post-MBA job opportunities in India. If I don’t find suitable opportunities in India within these 7 weeks, I will then be able to look out for potential roles in Dublin when I return to Ireland in June for the summer term. But to know about the job market in India, I will have to spend some time in India and explore! So the in-company project was a good opportunity.

The reason I wanted to do my project with a digital marketing company was because all my professional experience has been in this industry, and I’m keen on going back to the same industry and using my acquired skillsets. Therefore, I approached quite a few digital marketing companies and about 4 of them were happy to offer me a project. I was overwhelmed by the response and had the opportunity to pick the best of the four available project offers.

I’m currently in India doing my project, and the experience and exposure have both been great so far. Adding to this, my efforts toward finding a suitable job have also been fruitful. At the moment, I have about two offers, well almost, and both of them are currently in the salary negotiation stage. I’m, therefore, really glad that I chose to do my project in India.

So far, my classmates have been very helpful in passing on all the important information shared with the class back in Dublin, my second home. Therefore, I don’t think I’ve missed out on anything important, at least up until this point, thanks to my wonderful classmates. Right now, all that’s in my mind is to finish the project successfully and within the 7-week deadline. More to come in about 2 weeks’ time after there’s been more progress with the project!

Until then,please all wish me luck!

– Diana Vincent

Back to work preparation



My MBA class’  return to the labour market is several months off yet, but it is something that is on everyone’s mind (well, that and our international trips to China or Brazil!)

In years past, Smurfit graduates have always done extremely well gaining full employment after three months from graduation. But in these more chastened times, when even a Vanity Fair reporter scoffs at our country’s past spending excesses, the confidence that one might have approached the jobs market has evaporated, and in its place a dire sinking feeling.

But all is not lost. We are given every opportunity and tool to equip us for the daunting task of winning our dream role.

Mock Interviews: Getting it right before the first time

Continue reading Back to work preparation