The Hidden Heartlands

The clocks went forward and suddenly there was light at the end of the tunnel. The finish line of the MBA came into sight and, with that, an obvious emphasis among the MBA cohort on prospective careers. On our return from the well documented International study trips, students endeavoured to surmount the endless MBA workload, while allocating sufficient time for networking opportunities. Factory visits had presented valuable learning abroad and I recognised the opportunity to organise a similar visit because of my family involvement in Xtratherm – an insulation manufacturer in Navan, Co. Meath. Conscious that semester three will offer significantly less time collectively as a class, there was no time like the present. Wednesday, 25th April, was identified as a rare vacancy in the MBA calendar. Although we did obliterate an organised golf outing (apologies Ian), the date was confirmed, and preparations began.

john-keegan-4

Exam concerns and assignment overload resulted in some having to withdraw from the trip, but an enthusiastic 21 students travelled to Navan – a first for many. Karl McEntegart, a full time MBA student, has developed a reputation for meticulousness on comparable company visits and this trip was no exception. He travelled alone and was ready (as expected!) to interrogate Xtratherm Sales Director, Martin Groome, when the rest of the MBA contingent arrived. We were directed to the board room where Martin presented us with a comprehensive overview of the company, its evolution to date and the obstacles it encountered to achieve the market presence it has today. Martin emphasised the importance of relationships in the industry and their dedication to offering “more than just insulation”.

john-keegan-1

Refuelled by coffee and refreshments, the diverse array of products came to life in the 3D demonstration room. The factory walk-through reiterated the learning from our ‘Operations’ module, attempting to maximise value and eliminate waste in all complexities of the manufacturing process. Although I have visited Xtratherm on many occasions, I am ever intrigued by its continuous improvement and management’s vision for growth. My father has always been a role model of mine, and today, I was extremely proud to illustrate to my classmates what is achievable when a collaborative group, with a hunger for success and a willingness to learn, is established. Xtratherm has exceeded all expectations and its acquisition by UNILIN in 2016 is recognition for the value created by three individuals who started out with what was only a dream.

john-keegan-3

I started by highlighting that the finish line of the MBA is in sight and I will also conclude with that thought. There have been times on this programme when I felt I was past insanity and I questioned my decision to endure such a rigorous programme. However, as the end line nears, I feel a sense of lonesomeness for my classmates. We have been to the trenches and back and created bonds that I genuinely hope last a lifetime. But in reality, each individual will pursue their own personal career, wherever that might take them. Where will everyone be in six months? I do not know – I suppose I better make the most of the next three!

John Keegan, Full Time MBA 2017/18

john-keegan-2

THE YALE TALE

Remember the first time you fastened your seat belt to drive your first car? Nervous hands on the steering wheel with the feet juggling among 3 pedals?  – The thrill to drive, fear of failing, anxiety to know what’s next. It felt like a now or never moment, didn’t it?

Well, this is exactly how I felt on being selected to represent UCD in the Yale case study competition. I was thrilled, excited and proud to be part of the amazing UCD team. Given the style of the competition, it was obvious that as a team, we needed to be at our very best on the D-day to create an impact. The panel comprised of seasoned industry leaders and it was our job to ‘wow’ them with our ideas and solution. We took the bull by its horns and came home with the ‘Best Team Dynamics’ award, which meant that we were energetic, positive and adapted well to change. Hurrayyyy!! Let’s rewind a bit and talk more about the process and competition.

deepti-yale-1

In this competition, challenge was to solve a raw case. A raw case is very similar to a real-life situation resembles an actual client problem. The information related to the case is presented in various formats and sources. The ask in the competition was to parse through all the information to define the ‘Exam Question’, analyze the data to recommend a solution and implementation plan in just 6.5 hours!!! I know! There were 14 teams from all over the world to compete in this competition.

Preparing for this competition was like an additional module in itself. The 2nd semester makes it a little tough as everyone in the team had picked separate optional modules and finding a common available time slot during the week was not an easy task. Given the time constraints to solve the actual case, it was important for us to function well as a team, play to each other’s strengths and work around the weaknesses. Zoe was very generous to help us through the SDI, to identify what will function best as a team for us. Coming together was just the beginning. We aimed to do a ‘Come dine with me’ amongst us to learn more about each other in an informal setting, but given the routine commitments, it was not easy to find time for it. Instead, we used International trip in March as a step in that direction. We met alumnus to learn about their experience, things that went well and key lessons.

As we know, it takes a lot more than a single person who is in the ring to win a game.  We had exceptional support from Roisin Downing. Be it motivational talks, keeping us on the ground running or working around all the logistics. We never had to worry about a single thing. Ro, you are a star!!

“We all need people who give us feedback, that’s how we improve”. Strategy classes with Karan Sonpar gave us valuable tips on solving the case and structuring the presentation.  We had excellent support from our classmates, who were the judges of our practice sessions and provided us with great feedback.

How can I forget about the presentation skills sessions with Paul Slattery? We not only learnt about fundamentals of good presentation, but also about being at ease around each other. It was during these sessions that we truly came out as a team. We had a team huddle and a team song.  No matter how exhausted we used to be from our classes and assignments, we came out energetic after his sessions. His passion, energy and enthusiasm always inspired us to go the extra mile. Paul, you are incredible and an excellent teacher.

I believe our strengths as a team came across well in Yale when we were preparing for the case. We were just being ourselves; comfortable in sharing our view points and having a healthy discussion on all the points. The assessor in our room judged us on the basis of communication, collaboration, decision making and team management. We were natural at this. It is really critical to have a good camaraderie and belief in each other, and that gets projected automatically.

deepti-yale-2

We won the ‘Best Team Dynamics’ award. We didn’t win the case-study competition but we came back with lots of learning and a beautiful, life-long memorable experience. We were not the winners but we didn’t lose either. The friendships we made, the learning we had and the insights we gained were our trophies from Yale. It is absolutely true that it is not winning or losing that makes a competition worth, but the overall experience or (like we say it here in Ireland) ‘craic’ that you have around it.

Deepti Jindal, MBA Full Time 2017/18

deepti-yale-3Sauyith Cueva, Deepti Jindal, Robert P. Brennan, Ian Rafferty and Ruary Martin represented UCD Smurfit at Yale Integrated Leadership Case Competition, 2018.

Smurfit MBA- ON THE HORIZON

In the blink of an eye, 8 months have passed. As we return from our International trip and begin to re-immerse ourselves into our regular routines of lectures and assignments, I realize that we are into our final lap of MBA. It is now time for me to reflect on how my life has changed in the span of those 8 months.

Among managing multiple assignments, writing journals, job hunting and other things; what has really encouraged the collaboration and team work among my cohort are the clubs at Smurfit. These clubs provides us an opportunity to step beyond the realms of our regular jobs and gain first-hand experience of managing a team, while also managing an event.  I take pride in being a member of the Smurfit Entrepreneurship Club, which provides a stage for aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as serial entrepreneurs to learn from each other’s experiences.

It has taken 23 club members, 7 months and to enlist 7 speakers to bring, “ON THE HORIZON” to life. The event was marked with the presence of prestigious speakers from a range of diverse and thriving sectors such as Heathtech, Fintech, Renewable Energy and Artificial intelligence- with the focus on addressing the inevitable Industrial revolution 4.0. As an MBA student, I feel blessed to be in the presence of some of the brightest and forward-thinking minds of the country.

I will admit when we first discussed about the event, I couldn’t have anticipated from that this event concept would grow into one of the most memorable experience of the MBA for me. It was a wonderful experience to witness my MBA colleagues collaboratively sweat to make this event a success.

The Entrepreneurship club provided me with the necessary breaks from the  MBA. I learned a lot about my colleagues during the club meetings through sharing our entrepreneurial experiences, which at times were both insightful and overwhelming. Personally, it gave me a platform to share my initial ideas to a critical and well-informed group for their expertise. I am sure that in today’s world, nowhere else I would be getting such valuable and trusted advice for free.

The idea of “On the Horizon” event, began with industries our club wanted to know more about, in the context of exploring entrepreneurial drive of Dublin. Our interests in Healthtech, Fintech, Renewable Energy and Artificial intelligence became the pillars of this event. The roadmap our event was not smooth, as I realized quite early and it wasn’t easy for us as students to attract such renowned speakers to our event. However relying on our Irish colleagues networks proved really helpful, as did the Smurfit MBA brand behind us in order to help us get the ball rolling. 

We are a club of budding entrepreneurs and wanted our innovative event to live up to the Smurfit name, doing us both proud. Not a single person shied away from their responsibilities, from the event preparation and guidance, with continuous suggestions to improve the event coming from colleagues and club members alike.

What came to me as a surprise to me was the experience that I gained as it challenged my thought process. I was a staunch believer of the fact that an individual requires a certain level of education before they can channelize themselves into setting up a business. My belief was contradicted, when I witnessed a group of school going students in the age group of 7-11 pitched themselves as CEO, CFO and COO. Furthermore, one of the teams had also prepared and shot an advertising campaign for their product. The event witnessed an inspiring array of entrepreneurial talent from school going kids, to our key note speaker- Oliver Tattan, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Genebox. I would like to thank the speakers, MBA Programme Office and my fellow club members that helped to make this event a huge success.

Ayush Nagpal, Full Time MBA 2017/18

ayush-blog

MBA International Trip – A True International Experience

I had the opportunity to visit South America for the first time as part of the MBA International Study trip. Narcos, Machu Picchu and football were few of the things I knew about South America. This International study trip was my opportunity to have a real taste and feel of the continent, while also understanding a different culture. This helped me to link the theoretical knowledge that I learnt in the MBA programme, to its market application in an unfamiliar country. The main reason of doing an International MBA was to obtain a global experience. This trip added the icing on the cake.

Santiago is one of the most developed cities in South America. However, it is also a city which lies in a highly active seismic zone, as earthquakes in Chile are a routine occurrence. I was astonished to find that the Chilean infrastructure is so strong and dependable and that the Chilean people are unperturbed unless an earthquake measures higher than 6.5 on the Richter Scale. I also had the opportunity to visit one a non-profit organisation- Fundacíon Vivienda, which makes temporary houses for earthquake affected people. I fortunate to meet with to Miguel Mora, the Operations Director of the firm. We discussed on how we could make use of the residing materials from the houses.

We also met a lot of renowned speakers like Nicolas Verdesoto, who manages investor relations at Banco Estada, the State Bank of Chile. He explained the Chilean economy and its fiscal policies. We had the privilege of visiting one of the finest vineyards in the world- Vineyard Veramonte in Casablanca and of course, we bought some bottles for ourselves!

After a few exciting days in Chile, we flew to Lima, Peru for the second leg of our journey. And guess what, we met the CEO of Vivo Air, one of the cost leaders in the Aviation Industry. He spoke about the history, the company strategy going forward, their beliefs and how being a cost leader gives them a competitive advantage.

This trip also gave me the opportunity to visit one of the leading textile manufacturing firms in LATAM. I had never been to a textile manufacturing factory before. Eduardo Elias, the Director of the firm, provided us with a great insight into the process of making clothes. We also visited his industrious factory and the textile testing centre.

We stayed back in Peru for five more days to understand the LATAM culture. We explored the cities on our own experiencing the nightlife, the remains of the Incas civilisation and the natural beauty that South America possesses such as Machu Picchu and the Rainbow Mountains.

Orientating and managing cultural differences is an essential part in a manager’s work life. As an MBA graduate, it becomes essential to learn how to conduct business in a completely different environment with a variety of cultures. Furthermore, it becomes vital to understand how to harness the theories learnt during the MBA to accommodate the cultural diversity in an International setting.

Finally, I would like to thank the Smurfit MBA Office for providing us this opportunity, my group who accompanied me to make each and every day special, Karan Sonpar for his speed dating networking tips, Thom Strimbu for capturing these wonderful pictures and the tour organisers for making this trip a memorable experience.

Himanshu Kamat, MBA FT 2017/18

himshansu-collage

 

Bursting the MBA bubble

Our International Study Trip ‘Doing Business in International Markets’ brought us to Singapore and Hanoi with visits to a number of organisations including Citigroup, Amazon Web Services, Caterpillar as well as the Irish Chamber of Commerce in Singapore and the Embassy of Ireland in Hanoi. We had the chance to listen to senior executives of both local and expatriate backgrounds, including a number of Irish expats. The focus was on how they succeeded in business, with insight into the cultural nuances, adapting to the country and the way things are done. We travelled as a large group of both full-time MBA and Executive MBA students together with Professor Patrick Gibbons and Roisin O’Loughlin from UCD Smurfit Business School. Much of the advice and counsel focused on building relationships and the need to invest in and nurture those relationships. Culture, language and traditions may vary in different parts of the world but people still value people who have shared ambitions, ideas and values.

lucy-macauley-pic-4

*Picture by Eoin Carroll

Singapore oozed sophistication, calm and control with their increasingly wealthy economy and well developed infrastructure.  Hanoi’s frenetic energy couldn’t have been a greater contrast with the noise and excitement and vibrant night life as we drove to our hotel on arrival. We spent a lot of time together; travelling, visiting companies, eating, sightseeing, shopping and even some socialising.

The intense goldfish bowl of the MBA means you spend a lot of time in each other’s company, at lectures, group work, social events and in both structured and ad-hoc meetings. Having come together just six months previously we soon found ourselves spending much of our lives in each other’s pockets. Almost all the deliverables are developed as group projects so that, not only is the MBA an accelerated learning experience covering the academic content, but you build strong relationships with your class.  We see each other at our worst, but also at our best; under pressure when numerous assignments are due at the same time; trying to understand a subject that may be completely out of our comfort zone; sharing the expertise in the class and, with the collective efforts of the whole class focused on a weekend deadline -and a large pizza delivery needed to sustain us through the night. There is the immense satisfaction of achieving those deadlines with seconds to spare, supporting each other through presentation after presentation, asking the right questions and applauding appropriately; celebrating exam survival and success, and, of course, some days it is just about keeping each other going and helping each other make it to the next deadline. And even after all that time spent working so closely, many of us chose to extend our International Study Trip and spend a week’s holiday together afterwards.

As we listened to our international business colleagues talk about the importance of relationships in their different corporate environments, it may be worth reflecting on what we have achieved ourselves. Our class has become our primary network, our support network and our current, and no doubt, future career network. With such an international class, our networks are far-reaching; future business leaders, future business partners, mentors, business confidants, coaches, friends; those who can help us make the next biggest decision. Travel broadens the mind, widens the experiences, and helps us learn from international colleagues. But, sometimes it also makes us appreciate the international network we have built for ourselves in such a short time.

lucy-macauley-pic-3

*Picture by Eoin Carroll

Lucy MacAuley, Full Time MBA 2018-2019

The Tale of Two Cities

Decades ago along the sands of time, Latin America gave birth to two children, Chile and Peru. Both were born with rich Spanish blood and long mountains running down their back. Skin that sparkled brilliantly from the varied numerous minerals hidden beneath its surface, mostly copper and soil rich for food production. Two beautiful children whose fingers and toes were dipped in the blue Pacific Ocean. When Chile became of age, his independence took him to boarding school. He learnt to play by rules no matter how difficult they seemed. He met other boys there and he was instructed on how to treat everyone independent of another. A bank that is fully owned by the state should operate fully independent of state influences. It should do no business with other state agencies to keep it free from financial risk. Chile also learnt to engage in fair competition, no companies are subsidized by the state and regulation allows for participation in free trade for all. Chile learnt to wake up early, dress in uniform, make his bed, walk down the hall in silence and show up for his classes. Children are assigned a social number at birth at the state bank and start carrying a debit card that allows for basic transactions at the age of 14 years. The citizens of Chile do not compromise with the police and it can be seen in the order on the road and obeying of traffic laws. Buildings meet strict regulation building codes which ensures they withstand even a major earthquake. Earth tremors that are the norm in that part of the world do not easily frazzle Chileans-unless the tremor is big enough that one cannot get up to a standing position, they smile and continue to have lunch.

elizabeth-collage-1

*Chile

On the other hand, at Independence, Peru decided to explore the world. He wanted to live young and free with no rules. He made fast and easy friends who fell in love with the copper color of his skin, the mountains down his back and rich soil. They offered to show him the way to live and lead him and he gladly accepted. Peru has embraced leaders with such diverse origins including Irish and Japanese, something not many countries can attest to. These leaders invited Peru to parties where they filled his cup with wine and laid a table of sumptuous food. Peruvian food is acclaimed to be one of the best cuisines in the world due to the influences from all over the world that has led to a wonderful fusion of tastes. Peru’s friend’s played music and his intoxicated body stood and danced to their tunes. His mineral rich skin sparkled and everyone wanted to run their hands over it. Peru’s land is mined not just for copper, but gold and is the world’s highest producer of silver. Peru spent his days sleeping off his hangover and getting up just in time to get dressed for the next party. The party had to keep going and Peru played his part to ensure it. It is the highest producer of illegal cocaine and counterfeit American dollars. His friends that clapped and cheered were actually laughing and mocking as he stumbled in intoxication. Peru has had an unfortunate selection of leaders who have rummaged through it, amassing riches from its copper and mineral rich economy, engaging in boundless corruption that has steeped Peru’s economy in a hole where only a few benefit at the expense of the masses. 10 companies own 70% of the current economy while the population struggles with sub- standard education and a failing healthcare system. The lack of rules has filtered down to the street where even crossing the road is a hazardous fete as road rules are more of an option than an obligation.

elizabeth-collage-2

*Peru

Eventually after a couple of decades, Chile left the closed walls of the boarding school and ventured out into the big wide world. He saw people wearing interesting clothes, driving cars and living life as they wanted to and not as instructed to. Wide eyed, Chile began to embrace difference and question the rules cautiously. He learnt to drink wine and dance some nights away. But he finds that most days, he still prefers to stay within the rules he had learnt to follow those many years ago.  Chile is concertedly opening up its doors to the world and signing free trade agreements to encourage the world to come and explore Chile as they too learn from the world.

Peru, after may hungover days woke up and his sober mind realized he needed to break away from his friends. He started to set rules in place to guide him. He started staying in some days instead of going out and with a clear mind he began to strategize. He cut off some of his past friends and some friendships are still being assessed. The current president is under motion to vacate the presidency while the former president and his wife are in jail for corrupt practices they engaged in while in office. Other corrupt presidents before these, unfortunately have managed to get away after a sizeable payoff. Peru continues to grapple with the need of necessary rules for a thriving economy but are determined to make meaningful change. Meanwhile, tourists continue to flock to it to enjoy its sumptuous delicacies and dance to its hip swaying tunes that it perfected in its youth. Chile still comes alive several nights of the week where the streets fill with men and women looking for some delicious wine and fun.

Chile and Peru, siblings and neighbours, similar yet still different. Still growing and learning. Adapting to embrace the good and shift the bad. Still beautifully Spanish, still captivating suitors with their beautiful mineral sparkling skin and rich soil, encompassing captivating mountains and fingers and toes dipped in the Pacific Ocean.

Elizabeth Kiathe, Full Time MBA 2017-2018

UCD Smurfit MBA Graduation Ball

The MBA Classes of 2017 traded caps and gowns for glitz and glam within a few days in early December. On Saturday December 9th, the eagerly anticipated Smurfit MBA Graduation Ball 2017 was held in The Hilton Hotel, Charlemont, Dublin.

With over 130 people in attendance, the black-tie event was thoroughly enjoyable and the perfect way for the graduating classes to celebrate reaching the MBA finish line together with partners and friends who provided support throughout the journey.

grad-pic-4The event, which raised €7,000, was organised by 2017 MBA graduates: Anne Marie Barcoe, Ciarán Hope, Tanya Kenny and Catherine O’Brien. Following the lead of last year’s class, it was decided to use the event as an opportunity to raise funds for charity. The class elected to once again support Spinal Injuries Ireland, and this year it was decided to also support Friends of St Lukes Cancer Care Rathgar. Both charities are very worthy causes, and the vital funds raised on the night will contribute to the important work they do to support their patients and families, so details on how the donation will be used are outlined below.

A charity raffle was entertainingly compered on the night by MBA graduates Fenton Murphy and Marcus O’Dwyer. The very generously donated raffle items generated much interest with hotel stays, rugby tickets, sports jerseys and electrical items among the prizes on offer. There were also spot prizes awarded for Best Dressed Lady (Christine Kiernan) and Best Dressed Gent (Brian McGrath).

The funds raised by Smurfit MBA graduates, current students, alumni, Aspire scholars, and Smurfit school staff, together with partners and friends, means we are all part of doing something very positive. Sincere thanks for the incredible generosity by all who attended the event.

The committee would also like to acknowledge the generous support of all those who helped in the run up to the ball, especially our prize donors and sponsors.

MBA Graduation Ball 2017 Committee

Anne Marie Barcoe | Ciarán Hope | Tanya Kenny | Catherine O’Brien

Spinal Injuries Ireland will use the donation to grow their national Peer Support programme entitled ‘Someone Like Me’. When patients have returned home, after completing their rehabilitation at the NRH, SII works alongside them and their families to support full integration into their local communities. More information available https://spinalinjuries.ie/ or follow them on Facebook @SpinalInjuriesIreland

During 2018 The Friends of St Luke’s Cancer Care are fund raising for  some very important projects across the Network which include; Child and Adolescent play areas for their paediatric service. St Luke’s is the only centre that provides Paediatric Radiation Therapy, Gated VMAT Radiotherapy, 3D Bolus Printer for treatments, PICC line ultrasound system for the Day Ward and many other projects. More information available https://www.friendsofstlukes.ie/ or follow them on Facebook @friendsofstlukes

grad-ball-pic-2

The Clubhouse

The Professor Michael MacCormac Room, or more popularly known as the MBA suite, is considered by some, if not all MBA students as their second home inside the Smurfit School. Accessed by a secret code, the suite has been a constant hangout spot for the 2018 full-time MBA class for the past few months.

joanna-pic-1

However, if you expect a room full of students quietly drowning their minds in homework and books, you are sorely mistaken. In fact, if you want some quiet study time for yourself, this is the last place you would want to be. The MBA Suite is the common gathering area for study group meetings, club discussions and on rare occasions, 5-day pre-examination revision bootcamps.

joanna-pic-2

More importantly, the MBA suite is a place where you can unwind when the pressures of academic life and unknown future job prospects get you down. Stocked with full kitchen equipment, the suite is where everyone catches up over pre-packed lunches or a cup of coffee. No one stays silent for too long as people would constantly arrive and start a conversation.

joanna-pic-3

I’m grateful to have cohorts who are willing to share their thoughts and experiences and to have a place to hold these exchanges. Looking back at the past five months, I found that the best conversations I’ve had with my classmates happened here. It’s great to know that there’s a place where one can relax and have fun with people who are as stressed out as you are. If your colleagues are laughing in the MBA suite, it’s a good reason to kick back and not stress out too much over academics.

joanna-pic-4

Joanna Villanueva, Full Time MBA 2017-2018

All Set for the Second Innings

anupam-pic-1It has been five months into in the Smurfit MBA programme and the change couldn’t be any bigger. From the ‘tropical monsoon’ type climate in India to the cold, temperate oceanic climate in Ireland; from machines and client-first attitude in business to personal individual development, from learning to work in small core teams to open exchanges with a very diverse group in the MBA class, even from being in my first semester to the second. It has been a wow journey.

As someone who loves variety, I have been in awe of the intense fast-paced environment and have loved the engagement with intellectually curious and culturally diverse people. The learning has been endless and so has been the joy. I have not only worked hard but also thought hard. It has been a considerable part of investment and I feel transformed. I finished the first semester feeling content but the thirst has deepened to experience what the second innings has in store for me. It’s a new day, new group, new semester, new challenge in the New Year. I’m looking forward to the fun and constructive group time with Bhavya, Elizabeth, Lucy and Thom though I will thoroughly miss my earlier teammates. Each of them brought a wonderful personality to the team. Joanna was our organizer and our beloved social butterfly. She taught me to be focused (an instance: one should see her type). Ruary was the motivating factor of the team, often extracting a “eureka” insight that wowed us all. I adored him and his quality to keep calm and work tirelessly taking the team along. Manish, being super energetic, taught me to live life king size and work silently while I learnt versatility from Bob. He was the seasoned, witty manager, who calmly worked in alignment to the team.

I’m now on my second semester with another set of people waiting to learn and give back in equal measures. The semester started with a class on Financial Statement Analysis by Professor Eamonn Walsh. In a span of a mere two hours, I knew I was in for a great experience. Surprised by Prof. Walsh’s knowledge about anything and everything under the sun, I am sure this subject will leave a lasting  impression on us all. A whole day class in Operation and Supply Chain Management by Mr. George Onofrei followed this. Attending his lecture and listening to the real life experiences of George, made me grasp and understand the fundamentals of supply chain management smoothly. With a follow-up lecture by Mr. Eamonn Ambrose regarding Global Virtual Teams (GVT) Littlefield Operations Simulation, designed to enable us to apply operation and supply chain theories in a real world setting was enticing. GVT is one of the primary focuses of this semester and the opportunity to work as a team with Yale students makes the experience even more worthwhile.

The optional module is another fascinating element of this semester. It was a hard decision to make but my gut feeling drove me towards my keen interests and I chose ‘Entrepreneurship and Managing the Negotiation Processes’ as my optional module. Taught by Prof. Raomal Pereira, the entrepreneurship class was one of the most fun and fundamentally driven classes. In the first class, we ended up formulating and finalizing three business ideas on which we plan to work for this entire semester. We are all hopeful to be able to convert the idea into reality.

Negotiation module taught by Mr. Stephen Boyle is another subject that has been one of the most popular subjects amongst our batch. We were advised by our alumni not to miss this class particularly and they couldn’t have been more right. After a lecture and an intense negotiation role-play interestingly Thom, Emrecan and I were able to sell a factory at the highest rate.

The Entrepreneur Club has helped sharpen my leadership skills and enabled me to explore and pursue new interests and old passions by becoming a member. It has been as great experience promoting new ideas and working with a group of people with different backgrounds that share the same passion.

With a satisfying result, great group mates and amazing professors this semester has already taken its flight. The trip to Peru and Chile for some and Singapore and Vietnam for others is the next big thing all of us are looking forward to.These five months flew past wherein I learnt a lot, taught somebody something (I believe), gained some things while I lost many. But it has been an exhilarating adventure. Life as I knew it had changed; and I ain’t just talking about pin addresses and food habits. Sure, living by the ocean is amazing. But I have to cycle many kilometres in the cold, prepare food, fix clogged toilets, and so much more. I have learnt so many things beyond the classroom too and I must say it has been nice. I now know what it takes for every chore to be done. Little by little, I think I have become a local. For me it started with learning the local language and has now gone way beyond understanding conversations. Eventually, I got to know when to go to the market for the best deals, find a coffee shop/pub where I know what I want before I even order. Even though I will probably never become as local as someone who grew up in Dublin, I have caught myself “doing as the locals do” and trust me being part of a new culture is a pretty awesome feeling.

anupam-pic-2

Anupam Tiwari, Full-Time MBA 2017-2018

John Molson International Case Competition: The Moment of Truth!

molson-pic1Months of intense preparation and coaching, facilitated by UCD Smurfit, had prepared us for this moment. As we took our places on stage in front of 200 plus people, we were totally in sync, a true team. We knew we could win if we made this the best show of our weeklong adventure at the John Molson MBA International Case Competition, the world’s largest business case competition for MBAs. And so, after a slow and measured breath, we assumed our temporary roles as Smurfit Consulting and dared the audience to buy into our unconventional pitch.

Exactly 3 hours and 10 minutes earlier, we had been given an unpublished case and locked in a room with no internet access, robbed of our phones, smartwatches and anything to connect us to the outside world. The challenge: How was Wal-Mart’s e-retail business to survive in the face of the ever powerful Amazon? Just as we had practiced, we methodically analysed Wal-Mart’s core competencies and opportunities, with each of the four team members developing a particular part of the analysis, solution or proposed implementation strategy. The 20 minutes of allotted time for group debate were, as always, the most intense. But with everything riding on our solution to this case, today was a flurry of ideas in which we debated the future of retail, the internet and even basic human needs for interaction. Finally, we settled on a plan and with 2 hours of furious scribbling, calculating and putting together a power point, we were ready.

2 minutes in to the presentation, we witnessed an abundance of raised eyebrows and sideways glances in the audience asking “how could they be proposing that?” As time progressed, quizzical looks changed to heads nodding in agreement, even a few smiles. At the end of our 25 minute presentation and 15 minutes of grilling from the judges, we exited the stage to resounding applause knowing that we had sold our plan. If this wasn’t going to win the competition, well, it just wasn’t meant to be.

The moment of truth: despite our knowledge that we had given it our all, we had watched a number of the other 35 teams present during the week and knew that the competition was formidable. They were, after all, some of the brightest and most engaging students from many of the world’s top business schools. By the time Smurfit was announced as the winner of the 37th annual competition at the formal dinner on Saturday evening, we had lost track for the first time that week of the slow count of breathing in and out, instead holding our breaths in anticipation. Collecting the Concordia cup on stage, it finally sunk in that all the Sundays we spent pouring over cases and being drilled on presentation skills had paid off. Indeed, we will certainly remember that moment every time in the future when we take a deep breath and pitch a crazy, innovative idea in a boardroom whose occupants aren’t quite prepared for what they are about to hear.

How did UCD Smurfit’s team solve the Wal-Mart case? Find the video recording here (third finalist presenters): https://mbacasecomp.com/media/videos-2/.

Maria Barry, Paul Donnelly, Andrew Gebelin, Ruth Lalor, and Gearóid O’Briain travelled together with coach Professor Patrick Gibbons to compete in the 2018 John Molson International Case Competition in Montreal, Canada. Professor Gibbons and Paul Slattery deserve many thanks for coaching the team

 

Andrew Gebelin, EMBA 2016-2018  and Ruth Lalor, EMBA 2016-2018