I find myself in week four of the second semester of my 1-year full-time MBA. The weeks just fly by and one week does not resemble the next. With three electives on top of my core modules, I run from one thing to the next: I jump on a video conference with our Yale counterparts to manage a virtual plant as part of our Supply Chain module; try to negotiate a good deal to buy a new biotech manufacturing site in my negotiations elective; am torn between Friedman and Mackey on the purpose of business in my Business Ethics class; come up with a business model for a new venture in Entrepreneurship; juggle fixed, variable, direct and indirect costs in Management Accounting; create a ‘Elena 2030’ vision with my executive coach; take a breath and literally run to the next thing.
And yet, there is a comforting constant in the hectic MBA week. Every day, at 1.30pm on the dot, the door to the MBA room opens and ten very excited (mostly male) MBA students cannot wait for the highlight of their day: the sandwich and soup deal from the Deli around the corner. I have to admit that I do sometimes join in because you cannot beat a good sandwich for lunch – may my sourdough-loving German ancestors forgive me. The comforting thing about it is, however, not so much the sandwich itself (and the obligatory basil and tomato soup), it is the fact that no matter if you buy a sandwich, bring your own lunch or just enjoy a coffee after eating in the cafeteria – every day you get to spend a peaceful 30 minutes in the MBA room with a mix of interesting, genuinely nice people who always have a good story to tell.
An MBA is an intense experience and it is a tough and sometimes scary decision to leave a great job to go back to being a full-time student for a year. Building on what Cathal wrote in his blog entry below (check it out, well worth reading!), what makes this year a lot easier and very enjoyable is the people you get to spend it with. In Germany we say ‘geteilte Freude ist doppelte Freude, geteilter Schmerz ist halber Schmerz’, which translates to ‘shared joy is double joy, shared sorrow is halved sorrow’. This definitely applies to an MBA. To make it a little less dramatic, let’s replace sorrow with stress. Sharing this experience with a great group of people is definitely double the fun and half the stress!
On Friday June 24th last, the UCD Smurfit MBA Golf Society held its latest event – the summer golf classic in the fabulous environs of the K Club in County Kildare, owned by the name sponsor of our school, Dr. Michael W.J. Smurfit.
We were joined on the day by current students, alumni and supporters of UCD. Also, as special guests, we had two Special Olympians and staff from the Special Olympics Ireland who took part in the day’s golf event.
The course proved challenging and up to its mark as a championship course. With scoring conditions tough, many participants found the scramble format somewhat of a relief and this hopefully added to their enjoying the day.
A good selection of prizes were arranged by the committee with first prize being a fourball back to the K Club. This was won by the Special Olympics team and well deserved to say the least. An alumni team took second prize which consisted of a set of Cleveland wedges and Titleist golf umbrellas for third place was taken by current students. A number of top raffle prizes were also donated and given to the various winners.
The staff at the K Club ensured we had an enjoyable day despite some rain early in the proceedings and even arranged for local swans to greet golfers as they made their way along the course. We would like to thank The Smurfit MBA office for providing a budget for our event and our hole sponsors for the day – Business Change Management, Business Performance Perspectives, Geith International Limited, NxtGen, The Ash Tree Bar and Philip Lee. With their help and everyone else who attended we raised €1,705 which will be donated to the Special Olympics Ireland.
As is obligatory, the 19th hole was visited after the rounds were completed followed by dinner and prize-giving in the K Club Palmer Clubhouse. An eventful bus journey then returned us to the Smurfit School where further reflection on the standard of our golf was discussed in Flash Harry’s of Blackrock.
It’s hard to find a better way to spend a summer’s day than on the golf course followed by a meal among friends and of course doing it all for a worthy cause.
It’s important to pause and reflect during the busy MBA. Here is how I chose to savor the opportunity outside of the classroom during a day off:
We reached the Glendalough Valley, now part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, at around 1.30 p.m. The weather was almost perfect for an excellent hike. When my colleague Nihar insisted that we take the Spink and Glenealo Valley Route, a 9 km spiral loop trail, I thought to myself that I was never going to make it.
We had to complete the walk by 5 p.m. so that we would be on time to catch the only bus back to Dublin city. We set off at 2 p.m. with a few cans of beverages and a handy map (according to the map, the estimated time for the walk was 3 to 4 hours!). As we hiked along the scenic valley admiring the breathtaking landscape, I understood why Ireland was renowned for its walks. We saw so much from beautiful cascades to dense forests. After about two and a half hours of walking (at 4.30 p.m.), I noticed a familiar building about 100 metres ahead – it was the visitor centre, our starting point. Before this experience I never knew that I could push myself so much physically. In a sense, it has also been the story of my MBA so far!
– Vishal Balasubramaniam, FT MBA 2011/12
We had to complete the walk by 5 p.m. so that we would be on time to catch the only bus back to Dublin city. We set off at 2 p.m. with a few cans of beverages and a handy map (according to the map, the estimated time for the walk was 3 to 4 hours!). As we hiked along the scenic valley admiring the breathtaking landscape, I understood why Ireland was renowned for its walks. We saw so much from beautiful cascades to dense forests. After about two and a half hours of walking (at 4.30 p.m.), I noticed a familiar buildingabout 100 metres ahead – it was the visitor centre, our starting point.Before this experience I never knew that I could push myself so much physically. In a sense, it has also been the story of my MBA so far!