UCD Smurfit MBAs go to Tokyo & Seoul

Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul
Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul

On March 11th, 70 MBA students will depart for the annual Smurfit MBA International Study Tour. This year, for the first time, we will be visiting Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea. The Study Tour encourages participants to immerse themselves in the business environment of these unique countries by taking them on an intensive exploration of local business practices, challenges and cultures, using company visits as the ideal setting for practical learning. It 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.

Harajuku, Tokyo
Harajuku, Tokyo

Along with the academic aspect of this module, there are three main outcomes that we aim to achieve throughout the week-long Study Tour:

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”.

Asakusa Temples, Tokyo
Asakusa Temples, Tokyo

There is a strong networking and social element to the Study Tour and we have lots of exciting adventures lined up; dinner in the ‘Kill Bill Restaurant’ in Tokyo, visits to Harajuku, Takeshita Street, Asakusa temples, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok village and National Museum of Korean Contemporary History.

The students will be joined by Professor Karan Sonpar, Professor Pat Gibbons, Roisin O’Loughlin (UCD Smurfit), Lyndon Worrall (Legacy Ventures) and myself. Keep an eye on the MBA Blog next month to hear how we get on in Tokyo and Seoul!

Click here find out more about the Smurfit MBA.

Avril Donohue ~ MBA Alumni Relations, Communications & Events

MBA International Study Tour 2016

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Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai

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!

Lyndon
Lyndon Worrall – Legacy Ventures

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.

Cape Town Overview
Cape Town

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”.

View from below the world's tallest building, standing at almost 830 metres and 160 stories high. Illuminated at night.
The Burj Khalifa – View from below the world’s tallest building, standing at almost 830 metres and 160 stories high. Illuminated at night.

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 

Click here find out more about the Smurfit MBA

The MBA Experience Curve

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Week 5 and who would have known a glossy magazine or a good thriller has been swapped for the Harvard Business Review and the New Yorker! (Thank you Megan).

Week 1 informed me that most experience curves reflect the joint effects of learning, technological advances and scale all of which feature in my MBA experience to date.

Coming from a science background the learning growth has been enormous already, the clues are there: my accountant husband smiles with delight as I engage wholehearted in the debate of rules-based versus principles based accounting standards. Although, as a Welshman I do wonder if his smile is more related to a recent sporting event.

I am not an avid fan of motorcycling nor have I played Wii or Xbox but now I can hold my own in a conversation on market shares in these industries. I do look forward to exploring the online dating industry in an upcoming assignment particularly when one of our team has expressed he will sign up – all in the name of experimental research of course. The strong focus on team work has been a brilliant contributor to the learning curve as well as laughs as we engage in great healthy debate at late hours and produce assignments. My favourite to date has been the complementors debate and whether the hot dog can survive without the bun.Personal_Development_300

Learning doesn’t stop at the acquisition of knowledge, as I embark on my own self-development journal, the exploration of my values, personality and emotional intelligence is yielding insightful information aiding my professional work.

Technological learning is also growing at a rate of knots, who knew there was an App to read PDF articles as you drive, proving time management tips are invaluable in the MBA experience.

This leads me to scale, in this context it is volume, where would we be without the volume of reading and assignments to add to the overall learning experience.

Only last night in the midst of Tie-gate we discovered in the forecasting world that the Donegal football team may be seen as a coconut and that Ruth is a Taurus like myself.

It really is the MBA that keeps on giving; my credit card bill is the lowest it’s been in a decade. Late night shopping ..ahem I mean …class ..on a Thursday is a blessing.

With the news of exam dates last night, resilience, endurance, stamina are all key words as I move into week 6.

So as my brain expands, I’ve been told ‘gosh you are a great dinner party guest’ alas if there was time … for now I just have to be a great conversationalist at the water cooler!

Tanya Kenny ~ EMBA Year 1

The True Meaning of Learning


The True Meaning of Learning

Fifteen months ago I contemplated embarking on the executive MBA. It was something I thought would benefit my career. Then, I had just completed my professional accountancy examinations and couldn’t imagine a greater workload from doing the course. Fast forward fifteen months, the EMBA has been a rollercoaster. It is a four-semester course with continuous assessment exercises contributing to final grades. For me, in terms of workload this represents the key difference between professional accountancy exams and the EMBA. Individuals learn the skill of combining the pressures of assignments with readings without forgetting the demands of their full time jobs and family lives. In truth, the intensity of this semester hasn’t yet scaled the heights of the last semester perhaps due to knowledge of a two-week mid-term break with an added week for Easter. However, with several projects due after the mid-term break, there is a general feeling that we are about to quickly shift through the gears.

Before I enrolled, I questioned myself whether I had made the right decision to do the EMBA, whether the benefits of the EMBA outweigh the financial and non-financial cost. In the last week, I have seen an NPV calculation in one of my finance lectures that shows how financially valuable the course is. While that is nice to know, it is not as important as the self-development programmes which I have found equally as valuable as the academic learning. Regardless of time constraints, I would encourage anyone considering the Smurfit Executive MBA to take advantage of the invaluable non-academic sessions included in the programme. To date, my eight academic modules and the non-academic ones of presentation seminars, career development sessions are interactive making the EMBA programme a truly unique experience. This is not surprising considering the rich blend of experience in the classrooms. As Benjamin Franklin once said “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. For me, this encapsulates the essence of true learning.

Olumuyiwa Farayibi ~ Executive MBA

Coaching on the UCD Smurfit MBA.

The feedback has been excellent once again this year.

We offer all of our MBAs personalised one to one coaching from the very best Business Executive Coaches and it is entirely free to all of ourparticipants.  The programme fits into the personalised Leadership Development Programme (LDP) and goes from strength to strength every year.  Some stats from the latest survey:

– It got a 95% rating in terms of its effectiveness as part of LDP.

– 93% will recommend as unmissable for next year’s participants

– 63% will continue to seek coaching post MBA at their own expense.

– hot topics this year were Career Transition, Leadership Development, Managing upwards and Personal Confidence building.


CLICK ON THIS PICTURE:

“The Secret Ingredient”

So what do you do when school’s out for summer and the first year of your exec MBA is over…?

You start to push the boundaries where you work, build new teams across departments, apply the learning AND hit the media.

That’s what I’ve been up to. I joined a fundraising team in our hospital and helped to create a cookbook to raise much needed funds for family rooms on site.

Continue reading “The Secret Ingredient”

Learnings from year 1 for Newtalk scholarship winner 2013 Niall Twomey

One year down (almost!), one more year to go and what a year it has been! Looking back on the past twelve months the experience has been both fun and challenging. I don’t think any applicant can fully appreciate the opportunities the Smurfit MBA offers until they experience them first-hand.

The MBA is all about teamwork, and understanding your strengths and weaknesses in a team setting is vital in order to develop your career. The calibre of your fellow students is second to none. You quickly realise you are being given the opportunity to work with future leaders from different industries. Through team interactions I have come to recognise that because I have only worked in the IT sector my opinions were actually quite fixed and need to be challenged and matured. My teammates certainly helped me there.

The style of classroom learning is very different to anything I have experienced before. You are expected to have completed a large amount of self-study and research before class. This means the classroom is an interactive learning experience where you learn from your lecturer and your classmates through discussion and debate. You realise that you need to be on top of your game in order to participate, but it is a lot of fun to challenge yourself.

The academic content is just one strand of the MBA; the leadership development programme, speaker series and society events are just as important. The connections to industry mean that your network goes far beyond your classmates.

Having the good fortune of receiving the 2013 Newstalk MBA scholarship has opened up the Smurfit MBA experience to me, and one which I will always be grateful for. The opportunity to be interviewed by Bobby Kerr on his “Down To Business” show was a great way to finish off the first year.

Niall Twomey

EMBA Weekend Year 1

Breaking Through the Career Ceiling

Why I did an MBA:

Before the MBA I was working as IT consultant on multi-million European-wide deals. When we were finalising these deals, I found myself in a room with the EMEA heads of HR, finance, marketing etc. I was representing the EMEA lead for consulting. I was keeping up with these high-power conversations, but only just. I had hit a career ceiling and to progress my career further, I needed to break out of my consulting zone and get on the same level as these domain specialists.

The Smurfit MBA was how I did this.

What my head knew but my heart denied:

The content of an MBA isn’t difficult; it’s the breadth and depth of knowledge that you have to consume in a compressed time that’s the challenge.

What everyone says, but I didn’t believe until I got there:

You learn quite a lot from your classmates, and yes – you get out what you put in. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and you will be rewarded.

What I learned most:

Over the years, I had already worked out many of the concepts from the MBA in my own head, from first principles. The MBA put structure and a formal nomenclature on the fuzziness, allowing me again to work with other domain leaders.

What shocked me about the MBA:

In the last 5-10 years before the MBA I had gotten used to being the “smartest guy in the room”. In the first couple of weeks in Smurfit, I realised I was in the lower 50-percentile of the class. This was quite a shock to the ego.

My favourite moment on the MBA:

We had a presentation from the conductor of a concert orchestra. I didn’t engage initially – I wasn’t going to apply for the job. But he slowly explained his role: to coordinate 80 primadonnas, all who believe they are better at their job than he is at his.  All who think they could work better without him, all who wanted to give their own 90 second opinion, some of whom were just passengers, and somehow his role was to add value so the whole was significantly better than the sum of the parts.

EUREKA! I realised these were the same challenges that I faced in my role as a programme manager, and therefore certain knowledge and skills are fungible.

It was these insights that were the highlights of the MBA.

What I did with my MBA

I was hired by a major IT organisation to improve their “Value Engineering:” to create business propositions for large deals, especially where the CIO was convinced.  The CFO & CEO needed to see some financials, albeit based on the technology, and with real numbers before getting on board.

The job offer was routed through the Smurfit MBA Careers Office and the mandatory requirements for the position included an “MBA from a top European business school.”


Luke Beare

Full-time MBA 2009

Senior Director | Industry Strategy & Insight, Oracle

Second Term: New Challenges, New Vibe

It’s scary to think we are nearly half way through the second term.  The first term seemed to progress far slower with the workload being quite evenly distributed throughout the week. This term classes are mostly at the beginning of the week, which is presumably designed to allow you time to network with businesspeople and focus on job hunting. While this makes a lot of sense it’s less fun than the first semester when the entire class had similar schedules and we could eat lunch together most days and go to the pub on Thursday evenings.

However all good things must come to an end and the reality is that an MBA is very much an applied degree during which you’re supposed to get outside the classroom and out into the real world to meet businesspeople and work on real business challenges as much as possible. Whatever we are missing in terms of socialising together in recent weeks I’m sure we’ll more than make up for during the China trip which is only a few weeks away.

In my experience travelling together is an excellent way to bond and while going through airports with very little sleep and suffering being away from home comforts can be difficult, such experiences are great bonding and learning opportunities. I think the whole class is really looking forward to the trip (for those with families the sudden burst of freedom might be truly shocking!) and even though I’m sure we’ll all be tremendously jet-lagged by the time we get back we’ll be an even more unified cooperative class for the rest of the year.


Conal Campbell

Full-time MBA 2014

Ireland

Transition

It had to come to an end. A month of glorious holidays: meeting friends I’d neglected since last September; reading magazines, Christmas bestsellers, anything but case studies; and watching oodles of box-sets and movies. To ease myself back into MBA mode for Semester 2 – which according to cruel rumours was going to be even tougher than Semester 1 – the last cinema trip was to see ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’ I’m not sure that much of the film would tally with our previous Business and Society module but it definitely sparked my interest for the upcoming Competitive Strategy and Corporate Finance modules!

Semester 2 kicked off at 9am on a rainy Saturday morning with a personal development seminar. We were presented with the results of survey No. 734* and I discovered that I’d been a lone ‘blue’ (altruistic – nurturing leadership style) in a team with three ‘reds’ (assertive-directing leadership style). On paper that combination shouldn’t work but somehow, in reality, it did. If I was to hypothesize, I’d say my team mates brought out my latent competitive streak, whereas I kept them from trying to outdo each other! However I think it’s mostly due to the fact that my former team mates are very hard working, smart, encouraging people, and good fun to be around.

One of the reasons I wanted to do an MBA was to see if – having worked in the non-profit sector for 10 years – I was up to the challenge of working with people from completely different professional backgrounds and mindsets. Being arbitrarily assigned to teams of people who you’ve never met before and being dependent on the team for a significant percentage of your overall results lets you meet that challenge head on. I was sorry that after getting on so well with my team in Semester 1 that we would now have to go our separate ways. All too abruptly we were assigned our new teams for the next 12 weeks. Nothing like an MBA for keeping you on your toes.

This time our new team have the benefit of knowing each other a little bit in advance. We’ve sussed each other out in class and we all implicitly know that working together is essential to success. We can get down to business quickly. Which is just as well as those rumours have proven correct: Semester 2 is tough. Brilliant, but tough. We’re less than a month in and all of us EMBA-ers are juggling work, multiple assignments, and a rainforest’s worth of readings. Not to mention the surveys. It’s a bit overwhelming, but luckily I’ve got another great team around me, a strong Wolf Pack.

*Possibly an exaggeration, but only a slight one.

Deirdre Mangaoang

EMBA Midweek 2015