The Final Frontier – Well Almost!

as1515

It’s exam time again. Our 2nd Semester classes are just over and we are marching straight into our final exams this week (after a short break termed as ‘Revision Week’). Though, the exam times are always filled with hectic activity, I am feeling less stressed this time. This seems to be the impact of continuous ongoing assessments which have helped to build a strong foundation in all of the modules. The types of assessment techniques used at Smurfit seems to be as varied as the term ‘Variation’ itself ; ranging from class participation, individual assignments and journals, group case studies and projects, class presentations, and even a “Class Quiz on Ethics in Business”.

The support system provided by Faculty, the MBA office staff, as well as my classmates is immense. I always have an assurance that whenever I may face any difficulty while preparing a topic, the help is within arm’s reach. This provides that extra confidence which makes studying for exams a smooth and enriching experience. Sometimes, an e-mail response from my classmates is even swifter than a ‘Google search’.

Ashutosh Singla ~ Full-Time MBA

Wings for Life World Run

wings-for-life-world-run_0_710

Red Bull Wings for Life Run is happening on 3 May 2015 in Dun Laoghaire. The MBA Social Outreach Society and MBA Golf Society have joined forces to run on behalf of World Sports Team.

http://www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com/int/en/race-with-the-world-in-2015-wings-for-life-world-run/

The concept is, you set a goal/distance and try to reach it before the chaser car gets to you! It’s a pretty cool/fun run that takes place all over the world.

wings-for-life-world-run-ireland

This run aims to raise awareness and funds for people who can’t run. Moreover, the spinal chord research and support aligns well with World Sports Team’s mission to build a network for people who suffer catastrophic sports injuries.

By the way, your goal doesn’t have to be huge! If you are interested in joining us you can register here and then join the team once you’ve completed registration.

wingsrun

Lindsey Nguyen ~ Full Time MBA

International Women’s Day 2015

Purple

We’re all members of the MBA family but we’re also supporters of women and their achievements. Last month, we celebrated those achievements and helped raise awareness of the issue of equality by wearing purple to the classroom. Purple symbolises justice and dignity, two values strongly associated with women’s equality. Thanks to all who took part – #makeithappen

Lindsey Nguyen ~ Full Time MBA

MBA Rugby World Cup 2015

Carysfort Celts flying the Irish Flag at The MBA Rugby World Cup
Carysfort Celts flying the Irish Flag at The MBA Rugby World Cup

Last week, the MBA Rugby Team travelled to the United States to take part in the 35th Annual MBA Rugby World Cup.

Our team finished a creditable fourth out of 15 men’s teams, placing just behind Harvard’s A Team and ahead of fifth-placed Duke.Action Shot 3 - World Cup

Other teams that competed include Columbia, Yale and Stanford. An elite competition, in more ways than one. Well done to all involved!

Founded in 1999, the UCD Smurfit Rugby Football Club has grown from humble beginnings into one of the most successful business school rugby football clubs in the world.

Action Shot 2 - World Cup

On 25 September 1999, UCD Smurfit played its first ever game against the then reigning MBA World Champions, INSEAD of France. Determined to prove themselves against the best, the team attacked relentlessly and stormed home to a comprehensive 31 – 0 victory.

Buoyed on by this result, the members of the Club set themselves the goal of competing in the 2000 MBA Rugby World Championships. Achieving this required months of hard work and endeavour and, in April 2000, their efforts were rewarded. By defeating Duke University 8 – 0 in the final, the ‘Carysfort Celts’ won the Club’s first ever World Championship title.

In the years since, the Club has continuously strived to expand and improve on the efforts of its founders. This determination to succeed has resulted in the club winning the MBA Rugby World Championship on a further 11 occasions, the most recent being on April 2013.

In addition to having a successful men’s team, the Club also has a successful women’s team. In 2006, the Club won its first World Championship title.

Aside from its on-field activities, UCD Smurfit RFC is also extremely committed to assisting causes less well off than it. For the 2014/15 season, the Club has continued its partnership with World Sports Team and assisting our community through sponsorship and other fundraising events put on by the MBA Class.

Avril Donohue ~ MBA Senior Programme Coordinator

Study Tour to South Africa – Fostering the Spirit of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Vodacom Visit March 2015

It was a couple of weeks back when we had commenced our journey to South Africa for our 8-day intensive Study tour, as part of the ‘Doing Business in Emerging Markets’ MBA module. Though, we were looking forward to whole new world of learning and experiences, we never thought that it would be such an amazing experience. The companies we visited ranged from well-established MNCs viz. Vodacom, Old Mutual plc, SABMiller plc to highly successful innovative and entrepreneurial organizations viz. Raizcorp, Synexa Life Sciences, Pick n Pay etc. The interactions with entrepreneurs and top managerial personnel helped us in understanding the nuances, challenges and opportunities of doing business in South Africa in general, and in emerging economies in particular. We also had the opportunity to interact with students of GIBS, a leading business school of South Africa and share mutual perspectives. We had Networking events with ‘Enterprise Ireland’ and ‘Business Ireland’ in Johannesburg and Cape town, which gave us an opportunity to interact with numerous successful and dynamic entrepreneurs, who have established their businesses from scratch in South Africa and today they had become a living inspiration for the aspiring entrepreneur.

South Africa was seen by our group as one of the most enterprising nations and it has therefore earned its place in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) association of emerging economies. During the tour, we also visited a few South African communities to understand cultural perspectives of the country.

It’s really amazing how much an international study tour can transform you and can foster a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. The diversity of the South African population and their determination to collectively work together for their nation’s progress, despite differences in languages and cultures (South Africa has 11 official languages) can be observed in its workplaces. It helped us to gain extremely useful insights about leading effectively in cross-cultural teams, inculcating teamwork and collaboration.

The Study Tour definitely gave us valuable understanding about the business opportunities in emerging markets and challenges being faced by them. This also gave us a toolkit to overcome those challenges which can be applied not only in emerging economies but also universally to foster the spirit of innovation, teamwork and entrepreneurship in the organisations we would be working in throughout our future careers.

Ashutosh Singla ~ Full Time MBA

China; A Nation of Contradictions

Visit to the Great Wall - March 2015

China is a nation of 1.3 billion contradictions.

It is governed by a Communist party but is fundamentally capitalist. It wants to open up more to the world, but censorship is everywhere. The government has vowed to crack down on internal corruption and yet, instead of focusing their attention within their own borders, they have reportedly asked the British government for help in extraditing around 50 ‘foxes’ who have fled to the UK.

These discrepancies were to the forefront of my mind as myself and around 60 class colleagues departed for Shanghai and Beijing on an eight day intensive study tour as part of the MBA programme at UCD’s Smurfit School.  While we could only hope to see a snapshot of the country in such a short period of time, we were keen to absorb as much information as possible about the local culture and how to operate within their business environment. It is likely that many of the class will be working within the Chinese market after graduation, or dealing with Chinese counterparts. So any experience or insight gained as part of the Doing Business in Emerging Markets module, could prove invaluable.


The steel making process at BaoSteel

During the trip we visited a number of companies including CICSO, youku, ChinaHR and BaoSteel. The difference between the indigenous Chinese companies and those which were owned and/or operated by Westerners, was marked. In the West we are accustomed to a certain level of candor – and irreverence – but that is not part of the Chinese culture. While this is something Western business people struggle with, it is also something which we must accept. The way they do business is very different and as ingrained within their culture as our methods are within ours.

Take for example, the different ways in which business deals are struck. While in the West we prefer to get down to business and agree a legal contract as quickly and efficiently as possible, business is done differently in the East. They prefer to build a relationship first, with negotiations taking a long time – and even when a contract is signed, it could be changed. While the these methods seem diametrically opposed, it is testament to the desire of companies and individuals on both sides to do business – and make money – that they somehow surmount their differences and go into business together.


Shanghai

But of course, the entire module wasn’t only about business – it was also about finding out more about the culture (via shopping and visiting restaurants), climbing the Great Wall of China, and finally, finishing the week on a high at the Beijing St Patrick’s Day Ball. There were some sore heads on the flight home the next morning, but we also brought back with us some new insights into China, and a desire to learn more about emerging markets and the possibilities which exist within them.

Edel Kennedy ~ Full Time MBA

Mindful Quotes For The Aspiring MBA Student

Henry Ford


  1. Wisest is he who knows he knows nothing (Socrates).
  2. Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right (Henry Ford).
  3. Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom (Aristotle).
  4. Leadership and learning are indispensable to one another (JFK).
  5. A leader is best when people barely know he exists. Of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, “We did this ourselves” (Lao Tzu).
  6. Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect (Mark Twain).
  7. Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence (Robert Frost).
  8. Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision (Peter Drucker).
  9. Study the past if you would define the future (Confucius).
  10. It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change (Charles Darwin).
  11. Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens (Jimi Hendrix).
  12. A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do (Bob Dylan).

Cathal Small ~ Full Time MBA Student

Sojourn to China – A Lifetime Experience

This sojourn to China proved to be an eye-opening experience for me as I found the tour beneficial for my career, and educational on a personal level. This international study trip is a brilliant idea to ensure that MBA students are well rounded both academically and practically. Visiting emerging markets such as China and South Africa (members of the BRICS countries) is very relevant at this time as it will assist Smurfit MBA students to appreciate different business environments, and allow them to apply what they have learnt during the tour.

The trip was an incredibly valuable experience and pivotal in my MBA journey.  It served to de-mystify China while bringing forth the true challenges of the very real global business environment that China often represents. With visits to excellent companies such as CISCO, IBM, HUAWEI, YOUKU, CELAP, and BAOSTEEL, we had the opportunity to discover what operating in China and navigating the international marketplace is truly like.

Furthermore, the trip provided a tremendous opportunity to network with and to develop closer relationships with my classmates.  Smurfit School’s ability to lay out such a well-organized and well-thought-out experience reflected the professionalism and quality of the School.  I was absolutely thrilled with the study trip.

Huawei visit
CELAP visit
CELAP visit
IBM visit

This International Study Trip to China was truly the pinnacle of my MBA experience. While I’ve had prior international experience working with Western European countries, I had very little previous exposure to business in China. Having the opportunity to visit on site with several different Chinese businesses, in different cities, in different industries and attend lectures given by experts in Chinese culture, technology, HR and manufacturing has dramatically broadened my understanding of both the opportunities and challenges of doing business in China. The trip provided an exceptional view of the Chinese business environment and how it intersects with culture and government. The insights I gained on this trip will certainly serve me well as a future manager in a global context.

Apart from business studies, we also enjoyed the breath-taking sightseeing, Chinese folk culture, and exquisite Chinese cuisine, all of which enriched our China tour and made it a lifetime experience.

Deepak Sharma ~ Full time MBA Student

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

MBA International Study Tour 2015 – South Africa & China


South Africa ~ MBA International Study Tour 2015


On Saturday, March 7th, we saw 90 of our MBA students jet off on the Annual MBA International Study Tour. This is an intensive 8 day tour which is spent visiting cultural, political and educational institutions and undertaking a number of company visits as part of the MBA Module; Doing Business In Emerging Markets.

As we are an International Business School based in Dublin, it is no surprise that the MBA module ‘Doing Business in Emerging Markets’ forms an integral component of our MBA Programme. During this Study Tour, our MBA students will have the opportunity to engage with leading academics and world class organisations across a number of sectors, not to mention the experience of a lifetime with their classmates.

Each year we review our destinations and this year, due to popular demand, we are returning to China for our tenth year and visiting South Africa for the first time.

This is no surprise as China’s story is still fascinating, having transformed from a traditional centrally planned economy into a market economy with all of the associated challenges. South Africa has managed to stay on its feet during the wake of the global financial meltdown, largely due to its prudent fiscal and monetary policies. South Africa is one of the largest economies in Africa – and it remains rich with promise. It was admitted to the BRIC group of countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China (known as BRICS) in 2011. Therefore, this is a very interesting time to experience these economies first hand. We are hopeful that it will be an unforgettable experience for our students and that they will gain a new perspective on international business.


China ~ MBA International Study Tour 2015


There are over 60 participants on this year’s trip to China, including students from both the Full-time MBA and Executive MBA classes. They will visit both Shanghai and Beijing during their trip. This tour is being led by Professor Pat Gibbons.

There are just under 30 participants travelling to South Africa and their tour will include a visit to both Cape Town and Johannesburg. Dr. Paul McGrath is leading this tour.

CELAP, Baosteel, Cisco, Vodacom, QK Meats Group, Enterprise Ireland and Business Ireland are just some of the companies and organisations that will be hosting the company visits and networking events over the course of the week.

I am looking forward to hearing all about both study tours when the students arrive back in Dublin next week and I’m sure they will have lots to share with us on the blog upon their return.

Avril Donohue
MBA Senior Programme Coordinator