Golf in Historic Surroundings – A Day in the Luscious Parklands of Luttrellstown Castle

 

Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all.

Superhuman effort isn’t worth a damn unless it achieves results. 

Sir Ernest Shackleton

Just ahead of our recent exams and final assignments, we set out for a day’s leisure in the peaceful and historic surrounds of Luttrellstown Castle. While the golf was at best mediocre, we were fortunate to get some fine weather for the day and had the opportunity to catch up with classmates at the “19th hole” to reflect on our endeavours over the course of the MBA programme.

MBA Luttrellstown - 3 Golfers

Many esteemed graduates note that doing an MBA is like “going on a journey” and the mediocre standard of golf on the day ensured that we got to see more of the tracks and trails that Luttrellstown has to offer than most regular golfers. In conjunction with the challenges posed by the variety of elements of our MBA programme, the championship course we played also provided many obstacles with a lot of water features to be overcome among other challenging features.

The MBA Golf Society will hold its main event of the year in the splendorous surrounds of the K Club on Saturday, July 1st. The day will be held in aid of the UCD Ad Astra Scholarships/UCD Foundation and Cardiac Risk in the Young. Details of how to enter are on Eventbrite at:

https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/ucd-smurfit-mba-golf-society-classic-tickets-34792133207?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing

Ciarán O’Shea,

Executive MBA.

The Power of Positivity…How to increase your brain power by 31%?

I stumbled across this Ted Talk recently and I found it truly inspiring and dare I say life changing…

In it Shawn Achor, a Harvard graduate, describes how we can rewire our brains for positivity and in doing so increase our performance levels, brain power and lifespan.

A positive mindset results in:

23% greater energy in the midst of stress,

31% higher productivity,

37% higher levels of sales,

40% higher likelihood to be promoted,

and improved our longevity.

The good news is we can train our brain to happy and more positive just as we can train our bodies. The even better news is its not nearly as challenging as pumping iron or pedalling it out in a spin class. It’s just a matter of developing a few good habits in our daily routine. Achor summarises his recipe for success in the Ted Talk but has written many books on the power of positivity which are worth a read if you get the chance.  Achor’s training plan is very simple… it nearly sounds like something you wise old granny would have taught you…

  1. 3 Gratitudes: List 3 things you were grateful for today.
  2. Random Act of Kindness: Compliment someone on on their outfit, applauded a colleague on a job well done, buy someone a cup of tea…
  3. 10 minutes of Exercise: Teach you brain that behaviour matters
  4. Keep a Journal: Take 2 minutes a day to write a few sentences on a positive experience, so that you can relive it
  5. Meditation: You don’t need to find your innerself but take 5 minutes in the day to sit in silence and allow the world to past you by.

Watching this Ted Talk was the best twelve and a half minutes I have spend this year. I have found a huge difference in my attitude to life and to others as well as my capacity to deal with the increased pressures of taking on a new role as well as the MBA this year.

Dawn Reilly

EMBA Midweek year 1


Time out! MBA Charity Club’s Table Quiz

Where does the time go? Seriously… Forgive me for the late post!

The Charity Club decided to kick off the first event accordingly after our Financial Reporting Exam on October 23rd to support two special charities: BizWorld IE and Aid for Sierra Leone. After a challenging morning, a majority of the class and some alumni met up at the Dark Horse for pints and bragging rights.

We were all really glad that we could all sleep in the next day so no holds barred! Cian Collins was an amazing Quiz Master, posing some really challenging rounds. Special thanks are also in order for other FT MBAs: Ronan O’Beirne for providing the audio equipment and Edel Kennedy for photographing and grading the responses. With some amazing persuasion, we were able to round up a couple of teams from outside of Smurfit to participate

Right from the start, the alumni teams kicked off in the lead and held strong throughout the night. The full-time class seemed to just be focusing on getting on the piss. (Can you all tell I’m adapting to the Irish slang?) I recall loads of cheers to our beloved Professor extraordinaire Niamh Brennan for bringing us all together!

In the end, the winning team were comprised of FT MBAs– Enda Power, Joe McMenamin, George Gilliland, and Allan Brownlee ­– who stole the show with the Father Ted round.

The questions were funny and drinks and laughs were a plenty. So all in all a successful night!

Thank you to everyone who showed up to support BizWorld IE and Aid For Sierra Leone!

More about Bizworld here: http://bizworldireland.ie/

More about @aid4sierraleone here: aidforsierraleone.org

Here are the photos, courtesy of Edel.

Lindsey Nguyen

FT class 2015 and Charity Club

Time management lessons

Baby Alex contemplating his future with an MBA

It has been an eventful few months. In August I finished up work and moved house to Dublin. This was the same month that I started the Full Time MBA programme and became fully immersed in the course. With the workload of the MBA my time management skills were thoroughly tested from the outset. Being a project manager, I managed my time well at the beginning with various calendars, trackers and to-do lists. I was very busy, or so I thought.

Then baby Alex arrived to the world on 27th September. My time since has become even more precious. I have learned how to function on approximately five hours sleep a night. I have learned how to carry out various baby related tasks, sometimes while reading a chapter of ‘Contemporary Strategy Analysis’. The MBA and the coursework that goes with it has continued at full throttle. I have had great support from my classmates (thanks for the babygro!) and my ‘performing’ team.

Had I known how hectic these months would be, would I change anything?

Not for a minute!

Jospeh McMenamin

Full-time class 2015

To MBA or not MBA

Filling in the application form in March, April and May (yes that’s right 3 months to finalise the initial submission) I feel demonstrates the fine art of procrastination I had mastered over the years. Fast forward to today, 6 weeks of lectures under my belt and those precious lazy Sunday afternoons lying on the sofa gone. They have been replaced with a sea of paper and an ever growing pile of ignored emails from friends (fingers crossed they are still friends).

The question is do I miss the lazy Sundays and do I need those friends? Well I may need the friends but I don’t long for those lazy Sundays. Yes some sleep without the constant mouse on a wheel running in my head screaming, OB pairs project 60%, supply chain presentation 20%, competitive strategy report 25% would be nice, but you can’t have it all.

The learning curve has been steep to date and the group dynamics intense at times, especially when feminism is brought up, which is generally twice a week in our Group.  It is however this fast paced environment that keeps me alert, no matter what the week in work was like and what obscure place in Europe I had the pleasure of visiting.

There has not been a lecture where I have questioned why did I sign up to this? I run out of work on a Friday to get to lectures (generally with minutes to spare) and eagerly await the classroom discussion tangents we will undoubtedly force the lecture to take. So far so good!

The lyrics corner

The lyrics which sum up my first six weeks are: my face above the water, my feet can’t touch the ground. Ironically my feet are on the ground.

Darren Kelly

EMBA Weekend year 1

The half-way point….. of semester one

We are now half way through semester 1, or a quarter of the way through year one, or an eighth of the way through the MBA. It doesn’t matter how you put it, it’s all the same. Some of us focus on the big picture while others are taking one day at a time. When I applied for the MBA, I knew it was going to be a tough two years, but I thought if I managed my time well, I would go to lectures on Monday and Thursday nights and try and fit in a few hours of study on the nights in between, thereby I would still have my weekends to relax. During the induction week that dream was shattered. It was announced that a further 20 hours on top of lectures would be required – four hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings along with a full day on Saturday would allow us to take a full day off on Sunday. Impossible I thought to myself, I’ll never be able to do all that. Now at the week 7 mark, my average week is that as described above with the addition of approximately four to five hours on a Sunday. Personal time, what’s that?  But as Albert Einstein put it, “Time is an illusion”.

When in school or college, you know you should be spending the day studying, you watch the clock and will it to move on. Now in the MBA, I watch the clock as a reminder to go to bed and will it to slow down.  Honestly, there are days that I think my watch has broken because it has skipped a couple of hours. I now have to balance reading something really interesting versus sleeping. If you ask anyone to give one negative comment about the MBA, the response is always, “I want to read everything, but there just isn’t the time”. There are no boring topics, lectures or assignments. In fact, we are now approaching the stage that we can start to apply, in our own work situations, what we have learnt thus far. What makes it even better, is how the semester one courses seem to have been selected – they all seem to interlink in some way. What you learnt in one, does actually help with another. The MBA is like no other course that I have done before. I am interested in the topics, I want to do further research and I actually don’t mind the fact that I have missed the first two episodes of Love Hate. Before I get carried away, they are recorded and will be watched over Christmas with an entire box of celebrations by my side.

This of course would not be possible without the other 30 odd people in my class. Funnily enough, before commencing the MBA, I didn’t worry about the academic side of the course. I worried about the other people in the class and hoped that they would be like minded individuals that I would get on with. That fear was put to rest  after the induction week and buried not long after. Each of us have the same problems of balancing the MBA with sleep, work, and where possible friends. And believe it or not, we all want each other to succeed. This became apparent during a presentation last week when I momentarily let my attention drift away from my group’s presentation to look around the room. The expressions were all the same – everyone was willing our group make a successful presentation and not hoping that we would trip up and fail. Each of us is in this for the long haul and together as one big team rather than 30 or so individuals.

Two more weeks until mid-term and then four weeks until exam week – nine weeks until Christmas break…… not that anyone’s counting!

Dorothy Chestnutt
EMBA Midweek year 1

A lot done, more to do

A lot done, more to do. No, I am not resurrecting a Fianna Fail tag line, I am summing up my first 6 weeks of the EMBA. It’s hard to believe that only a few months ago I was flicking through the glossy course prospectus. Smiling faces and glowing testimonials expounded the virtues of the qualification. But was this course for me? Trundling along on a train to Cork one Saturday morning, I decided to complete my application. Buzzwords such as “challenge”, “opportunity” and “diversity” peppered the final version. These words have now come back to haunt me.

Induction week is a distant memory at this stage. Perhaps that is due to those memories having been pushed to the back by a plethora of readings on motivating teams, Honda and the motorcycle industry and the innovative IDEO design process. Hard to believe but I already managed to incorporate some of this new knowledge into my day job. I am not sure who was more surprised, the client or me, when I was able to discuss with him the challenges faced by the motorcycle industry AND it sounded as if I actually knew what I was talking about!

In looking for inspiration for this blog, I read the contributions of some of my classmates. Like Ruth, I have developed a greater appreciation for time. Balancing work commitments, a personal life (?), class attendance and course work can be challenging. A spare 5 minutes has become a precious commodity. 5 minutes is an opportunity to read a few more lines of an article. 5 minutes is an opportunity to send an email to a client. Over the last 6 weeks I have learnt a secret. Do you want to hear it? Ok, but keep it to yourself and whatever you do, DO NOT tell the opposite of the specie….here it is…..men can multitask!

Don’t get me wrong; the course has not been all work and no play. Our local public house, The Dark Horse, welcomes weary first and second year EMBA students on a Thursday night. Marking the end of another week of lectures, it offers students a forum to chat, unwind and network (it’s all about the networking!). But more importantly for us first years, it gives us an opportunity to grill the second years for tips and tricks on surviving the year.

Looking at my color-coded calendar, red (warning!) is a prevalent color for the coming weeks. We have just completed a project on financial accounting and are due to give a group presentation this week. Projects on organizational behavior and strategy will also be worked on in the coming days. For a third party looking in, the workload may appear daunting. For those of us on the inside, the workload is heavy but manageable. It is only manageable by virtue of a supportive employer and collaborative classmates. A lot done, more to do? Absolutely. The next number of weeks will be challengeable, but if they are as interesting as the last 6, it will be manageable.

Cormac Kelleher

EMBA Midweek year 1


The MBA and work/life balance – any suggestions?

Cyril Northcote Parkinson

In The Economist of 19th November 1955 Cyril Northcote Parkinson published for the first time the famous law which bears his name. From the everyday observation that work expands to fill the time allocated, he was able to prove that x = (2k^m+p)/n. Where k is the number of staff seeking promotion through the appointment of subordinates; p represents the difference between the ages of appointment and retirement; m is the number of man-hours devoted to answering minutes within the department; and n is the number of effective units being administered. Then x will be the number of new staff required each year.

In the case of application to the Smurfit MBA program, we can take x to be 38 (the number of new students every year); k to also be 38 (the number who would like to have a subordinate) and p to be one (the amount of years we spend in the program). A little simple arithmetic, and the use of a handy online logarithmic calculator, and we arrive at m = 0.8. That means that between the 38 of us, we have just 48 minutes to spend on answering minutes all year. To put it another way, we don’t have a whole lot of time to waste.

In the maelstrom of the past five and a half weeks I’ve tried to waste as little time as possible. I’d love to start up a conversation where we can exchange useful tips for efficiency and keeping our work/life balances optimal. There’s probably no magic trick that’s going to make completing the MBA easy (although if there is I’d like to hear it) but I’m sure some creative thinking and teamwork will make it bearable. I’m going to write up my bright ideas for next week. All suggestions gratefully received in the comments – maybe we could develop an MBA survival guide? I’d particularly like to hear from EMBA students. I’m sure you guys have had to be even more inventive than us full timers.

Richard Mitchell

Full-time class 2015

“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”

UCD Smurfit MBA Day out at the K Club.

UCD Smurfit MBA Golf Society Blog update for their latest outing:

Derek “the Scallywag” Scally, you dark horse!!! As a 1981 UCD Smurfit MBA Alum, and one of the true gentlemen from the Golden Era of MBA education (please note: finishing a course that did not contain an “Ethics” module), he continued to set the K Club alight in what were some challenging conditions to take home UCD MBA’s 50th Anniversary Prize. Derek was graciously joined by his dear 1981 MBA colleague and friend, Norbert McDermott and his fellow Meath brother in arms, Donal Coyle (who won the wonderful “Monkey’s Ass” Visitor’s Prize). Alongside an always entrepreneurial (both on and off the golf course) Joe Kenny, this foursome could be heard chuckling their way through the 18 holes and well into the 19th. The highlight of this group came when Joe attempted a Crazy Golf style shot across one of the many bridges traversing the water on the 12th. Derek, we all agree, you deserved the victory, keeping it simple throughout.

Continue reading UCD Smurfit MBA Day out at the K Club.