UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School welcomed Dr. Michael Smurfit on Thursday November 12th to participate in a “Characters in Conversation” event with Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Dean of Business. This ‘Founders Day’ event is eagerly anticipated within the annual School Calendar and this year we were delighted that Dr. Laurence Crowley, the founding Executive Chairman of the Smurfit School was in attendance.
Pooja Dey from the FT MBA class and the Thought Leadership Club capably took on the role of MC for the event. Pooja welcomed Dr. Smurfit on behalf of the Smurfit School by thanking him for his undying commitment to quality education. She commented on what a privilege it was to be in the company of an iconic leader, a role model, and an inspiration to those in attendance.
Dr. Smurfit engaged in a Q&A session and students were afforded an opportunity to explore what inspires Dr. Smurfit, the challenges he has faced in his career, the critical success factors that led him to where he is today and his views on the global economic climate. Dr. Smurfit recognised Ireland’s highly educated workforce as being a primary strength in continuing to attract International Foreign Investment when asked by FT MBA student Elsa Heffernan about our country’s future as a Tech Hub. When asked by Diana Rodríguez Béjar, a FT MBA Exchange Student, which qualities he respects in his employees, Dr. Smurfit highlighted honesty and integrity, loyalty and business acumen as being the characteristics he values most.
When asked what advice he would give himself as a 21 year old Michael Smurfit, Dr. Smurfit mused that he would advise himself to never give up, don’t be afraid to take risks and to have a go. He advised that individuals should address stress by implementing a ‘Problem, Solution, Result’ approach to business life and to switch off from your job when not at work. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh elaborated on this point by stressing the importance of pushing boundaries, to leave the world in a better place then you find it, something Dr. Smurfit has done by committing to the Smurfit School. Professor Ó hÓgartaigh quoted Seamus Heaney by saying “Faculty are here to develop capacities, your destinies are your own”. Very wise words for our MBA class….
Yvonne Harding ~ FT MBA Programme Manager