Changing directions, new friends and aspirations

It’s been sixteen years since I stood beside the lake at Belfield and stared across the water shimmering in the autumn sun. Back then, O’Reilly Hall behind me played venue to my graduation day. We were a close group of BA graduand friends. Then, how we celebrated – hats thrown in the air, (too many) drinks taken and bright futures ahead of us all.

Regrettably a massive financial crash the following year, along with the general march of time, scattered us. 

Four young people smiling in front of an ornamental lake, with university buildings in the background
Author’s study team in from of the UCD lake
From left to right: Harsh, Vaishali, Luke and Kumuta

Today it’s just a few weeks into the first semester of my MBA at Smurfit Business School and the same hall is hosting a careers fair which I’m visiting with the three other members of my new study group. It didn’t take us long to become friends – luckily for us, we turned out to make a great team. But I can’t help but feel nostalgic about my first time here as we ask a passer-by to snap a picture of the four of us in front of the lake.

It was during the pandemic that I really started questioning whether I was happy with my career. I’m proud of the success I achieved in journalism after graduating UCD but the world, and the profession, has changed. 

Then earlier this year, a redundancy process. 

The last few months have seen some of the toughest decisions of my life, a lot of a risk and worry – but I already know I won’t regret coming back to university. I’ve learnt more here in the past five weeks than I did in the previous five years across a range of new subjects. How, for example, could I ever have known that I’d find financial reporting incredibly interesting? On top of that I’ve met fantastic new people with a diverse range of backgrounds and outlooks from around the world. 

A group of about 25 young people, many in grey MBA hoodies, all smiling in front of a large tree. The students in the front row hold a banner that reads UCD Smurfit School MBA.
MBA Class of 2024

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to California, something I’ve always dreamed of doing, to take a course and network in Berkeley during GNAM (Global Network for Advanced Management)  week. This is not humble bragging – in fact I invite you to be jealous. You’ll be able to read a post about that adventure soon.

To be serious though, I am honestly and sincerely so very grateful for having been awarded the Aspire scholarship that allows me to start this new journey in my life. I’m not yet sure what the future holds for my career, but for the first time in a long time, I’m excited about it. 

Take the plunge. 

Luke Byrne, Full Time MBA Class of 2024

Navigating New Beginnings: My UCD Smurfit MBA Reflection

On the 24th of August 2022, as the morning sun cast golden hues across the campus, I stood  at the gateway of UCD Smurfit Graduate School of Business, a  haven for new beginnings. I embarked on a journey of enrichment, where the old and  the new would weave together to create a tapestry of deeper understanding and personal  growth. 

The MBA programme at UCD Smurfit was a chapter of academic enlightenment. Every day unfolded like a page from a book  of wisdom, offering lessons that went beyond the confines of a classroom. I found myself constantly inspired, absorbing the wealth of  knowledge and diverse skills that my peers brought to the table. Amid this vibrant learning environment, friendships blossomed organically, in corners of  classrooms, during coffee breaks, and within the comforting walls of my home where we  gathered to create joyous memories. I was enriched, as I learned to meld the structured approach from my past as a marine engineer with a Japanese company with the vibrant,  dynamic, and collaborative learning environment at UCD Smurfit.  

The author and MBA classmates

As I reflect on this journey, a profound sense of gratitude envelops me. UCD Smurfit has  been more than an institution; it has been a fertile ground where dreams were nurtured,  aspirations fostered, and where individuals honed their abilities to leave a lasting imprint on  the world. Some of my favourite experiences follow:

  • During the summer trimester, I had the privilege of serving as the Class Representative, a role  that allowed me to foster unity and collaboration within our diverse group. My colleague Ananya Singh and I orchestrated class events that not only facilitated  learning but also nurtured bonds that I believe will stand the test of time.
  • The international trips to Prague and Italy expanded our horizons, teaching us to navigate the intricate nuances of  different cultures with grace and adaptability. This demonstrated the global  perspective that UCD Smurfit nurtured within us. 
The author and friend, about to jump into the sea
  • My dear friend Eddy O Byrne ushered me into the exhilarating world of sea  swimming, a practice that became a sanctuary of tranquility and reflection amidst the  bustling MBA life. The rhythmic waves of the Irish Sea seemed to mirror the heartbeat of the  Irish people, a community that embraced life with resilience and joy, whether under the gray clouds or the shining sun.
  • An exciting chapter of this journey led me to the lively sets of “Fair City“, a cherished TV  show that encapsulates the vibrant pulse of Ireland. Here, amidst the laughter and shared  stories while working as an extra, I glimpsed the true spirit of Ireland, a place where joy  permeated the simplest moments.
The author in a screenshot from the RTÉ programme ‘Fair City’

Now, as a proud member of the CoolPlanet team, I find myself utilizing the rich tapestry of  experiences and knowledge acquired during my MBA journey to help companies navigate  their path towards sustainability, aiding them in achieving their decarbonisation goals. It feels  like a natural progression, a step forward in a journey that seeks to harmonize business goals  with the pressing needs of our environment. 

As I pen down these cherished memories, I realize that this journey is a continuous path of  growth and learning. The friendships forged, the knowledge acquired, and the experiences  garnered are precious treasures that will accompany me as I step into a future brimming with  hope and promise. To my classmates, my professors, and the entire UCD Smurfit community, thank you for  being an integral part of this enriching journey. Here’s to UCD Smurfit, a place where dreams find wings, where individuals grow into  leaders, and where the journey is as enriching as the destination itself.

A young man in a white shirt stands in front of a multi-textured brick wall

Abhinav Agastya, Full Time MBA Class of 2023

Most Important Lessons Learned on the MBA

Finally putting pen to paper having promised this blog for a while. We’re in the final week of our MBA program; it’s been quite the year!

Why Smurfit? Having done my undergraduate degree in UCD–with parents also alumni–no other colleges even came into thought. Smurfit’s reputation speaks for itself: it takes huge pride in its present students and alumni, and the MBA offers multiple opportunities for international exposure and learning throughout the year. Plus, I could never even dream of going to any of our cross city rivals! 

Here are some of the main learning points I’ve taken from this year on a personal level.

Importance of Teamwork

Cliched for sure. But the MBA has taught me so much about teamwork and team dynamics. We’ve had multiple different teams throughout the year. Each team has different personalities, different skill sets and most importantly, different ways of working.

In these situations we need to learn how to adapt. Get to know those on our team, get to know how they work. There is never a perfect team recipe, or a one size fits all. If there was, we’d all be winning. Learning about how you work best as a team is crucial to optimizing the experience for all involved. 

The biggest learning here for me is being able to find that middle ground, trying to find a perfect fit for that team at that moment, even though it won’t be a sweet spot for everyone involved. 

Three young white men in suits pose with an Instagram photo booth frame labeled UCD Smurfit School
The author + classmates at the beginning of the school year

The Power of Authenticity

Authenticity: This is by far one of the most used words or phrases used by our guest speakers this year.

I think authenticity isn’t spoken about enough at times. I believe people feel pressured to be something they’re not to allow themselves to fit into a social group, a work group or even into a job description. ‘Being your authentic self’ is obviously easier said than done at times, especially when you feel it may not be good enough. But I’m a firm believer in what is for you won’t pass you by, and things will become easier in the long run by staying by your own beliefs.

Applying this to myself, the transition from a clinical to more corporate style environment has been challenging in itself. The networking, the events, the phone calls–I didn’t even have a LinkedIn profile this time last year! But I’m hopeful and slowly becoming more confident that in the long run my own skills, old and new (courtesy of the MBA), will be useful to a team, company or client wherever my professional life takes me come September. My skill set has improved for sure, but me as a person won’t change to fit into a job description or role.

The Importance of Balance

Stress is another word which has certainly been thrown around our class group quite a bit this year. I think as humans it’s super important to learn how to cope with it. Everyone has their quirks, habits, and hobbies, their small things that improve their overall wellbeing by those small percentages. This year more than ever I have found it to be both extremely difficult but also high priority to try and find a balance between work and wellbeing. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to not have had huge exposure to stress in my 29 years, and I think the MBA is trying its best to make up for lost time! Time is the most valuable resource to us in the Full Time MBA class, but for me the most important part of the week is the small pockets of time to offset that stress. Exercise is my own go to, and I know this differs throughout my class cohort.

This particularly has been a huge learning point for me this year. I think we as humans are improving, but still slow to talk about and manage things like stress and mental health. And also slow in admitting we do certain things to offset that, when in reality the importance of it for our overall health couldn’t be more significant.

Owning your Strengths

As this year has developed this has become something which I would hold huge value to. The Irish culture is one which is certainly not conducive to “fancying yourself”, but I certainly believe there is a balance to be struck here. 

One thing I have certainly learned from the MBA this year is that the corporate environment can be dog eat dog at times, and nobody is going to own your strengths for you. This has required a shift in mindset for myself personally, coming from a healthcare background.

However, what the careers team and faculty in UCD have done consistently for us this year, is go above and beyond to facilitate our own self-development and increase our own self-awareness of our skill sets and strengths. This has come from not only self reflection, but also what our peers see that we may not. Hopefully we as a cohort can do ourselves and the school justice going forward. 

So a huge shout out to Bernie and the rest of the staff for all of their hard work.

The Author on his GNAM Network Week posting

Respect for my International Colleagues

In a year that has demanded substantially more than most of us could have imagined, I have to take the opportunity to show my respect for my international colleagues who have made the journey to Dublin this year.

Having lived in New Zealand for 4 and a half years prior to coming home to study, I know exactly what it feels like to be away from home for such a long period of time. However in such a challenging year, I am super grateful to have my friends and family so close as a support system to make the year that little bit easier.

I don’t think I could imagine doing the year so far away from them. So again, a huge amount of respect to my international colleagues who have taken the leap to Dublin and hope you have found those safe spaces whilst being here.

The Author & Classmates on their International Study Tour to Scandinavia

All in all this year has been an experience to say the least, one which has presented big challenges but also plenty of good memories. As the end is drawing nearer, the next challenge of entering the working world again awaits, and is something I hugely look forward to embracing.

Eddy O Byrne, FTMBA Class of 2023

The MBA + Part-time Job Combo

So, you’ve decided to pursue an MBA at UCD, hoping for a thrilling academic adventure. But wait, there’s a twist! It would be best to juggle a part-time job to keep your savings intact. Don’t worry: We’ve got some first-hand insights from MBA students who’ve walked this path of multitasking madness. So, buckle up and prepare to navigate the wild world of part-time jobs and the MBA!

My Personal Experience

I have been working in a famous Irish supermarket as a sales assistant. My part-time job paved the way for me to learn completely new skills I never thought I would try my hand at. Getting out of my comfort zone and choosing to upskill myself was nothing less than an achievement. Some of the skills that I picked up are better planning (planning is very important in inventory management), time management and better customer interaction & engagement. These skills will enrich my personality and add dimensions to my persona (hopefully).

Timing is Everything

Starting a part-time job while managing your MBA coursework requires careful consideration. At the start of the programme, you may find yourself drowning in modules and assignments, desperately trying to grasp the basics. There are better times to add another variable!

The consensus among seasoned multitaskers is to hold off on the part-time job until you’ve settled into your MBA routine. While the MBA timetable may seem to have free spaces, it’s important to remember that these are dedicated to coursework tasks like group meetings, reading, research, and homework. The schedule is designed to handle the significant workload of an MBA program. Seasoned multitaskers advise against taking on a part-time job alongside your studies, particularly during the program’s initial stages. Trying to juggle too much can result in a messy situation and hinder your ability to engage and excel in your coursework fully.

Jobs as Diverse as Your Classmates

You’d be amazed at the vast array of part-time jobs your MBA cohorts will embrace. There’s something for everyone, from supermarket shelf stackers to pizza parlour wizards, physiotherapists, nurses, movie side actors and warehouse warriors. Remember, many of these gigs require physical labour, so get ready to flex those muscles with your brainpower.

Filmmakers at work.
Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

The Art of Multitasking

Once you’ve taken the plunge and secured a part-time job, it’s time to put your multitasking skills to the test. Prioritisation would be your new best friend. Seriously, it cannot be stressed enough how crucial it is to prioritise your MBA work effectively. 

If you need help keeping up with readings, fear not! Explore the wonderful world of PDF-to-audio reader apps. Who knew your MBA journey could be filled with a symphony of readings?

Embrace the Irish Work Culture

Working part-time during your MBA will introduce you to the vibrant and lively Irish work culture. You’ll get first-hand experience interacting with people from different countries and cultures, broadening your horizons while stacking shelves or delivering pizzas. You might even learn a few choice phrases in various languages. Bonjour, ciao, and dia duit!

Financial Freedom and Fancy Purchases

One perk of taking on a part-time job is the newfound financial independence—no more hesitation before buying those fancy items you’ve been eyeing. Just remember to resist the urge to splurge your hard-earned cash on too many unnecessary treasures. Saving money is essential, even amid your MBA journey.

Photo from work, by the author

Not Everything is Hunky-Dory

Sometimes you will have to deal with people who may not be as polite as your co-workers from your pre-MBA life. However, it is for you to stand your ground and take on challenges as they come – you need to stand behind your work and build confidence in your abilities. You will surely come out on the other side as a stronger individual.

It’s Not All Doom & Gloom

While the MBA + part-time job combo may sound daunting, it’s not all bad news. The challenges you face will make you more resilient in handling heavy workloads. You’ll become a multitasking maestro, and prioritising your work will become second nature. Think of it as a crash course in professional development with a side of financial stability.

The Camaraderie of Cohort Gems

One of the silver linings of pursuing an MBA is the incredible support and camaraderie you’ll find among your classmates. In group projects and assignments, everyone is generally happy to adjust their schedules to accommodate their part-time job. But care must be taken to ensure that when pursuing part-time work, students keep in mind that they will also have responsibilities to their classmates and study team members. Therefore, consider yourself blessed if surrounded by a batch of true gems, ready to conquer the MBA journey together.

A group of students smiling together in the Common Room at UCD Smurfit
At work in the UCD Smurfit Common Room

Where to Find Part-time Jobs

To discover part-time opportunities, check websites like Indeed and For a more proactive approach, visit local shops and personally hand in your resume. If you’re interested in supermarket chains, apply through their websites. Lastly, don’t forget to tap into your network of friends already working part-time—they can offer valuable assistance.

In the fantastic journey of the MBA program, taking on a part-time job might seem daunting. However, you will survive this adventure armed with time management skills, a multitasking skill, and the willingness to prioritise. Remember, it gets a little more accessible daily, but you must consistently put in the effort. So, embrace the MBA, conquer your part-time job, and emerge from the MBA as a multitasking warrior with a bright future.

Roshen Sunil, FTMBA Class of 2023

Bella Italia

In March 2023, a group of 21 Full Time and Executive MBA Students traveled to Italy with Professor Karan Sonpar for the Doing Business in International Markets study tour. There, they heard from experts and executives in fashion, food and beverage manufacturing, luxury brand management, financial services, and technology sectors ranging from data analytics to aerospace engineering. Here’s what the students had to say about the experience.

The Italy travel group in front of the Milan Duomo

The Italy Study Tour was an incredible experience visiting the offices of Campari, Enterprise Ireland and Piaggio. The presentations were insightful and the visit to Insoore showed us the innovative start-up culture in Italy. A great opportunity to learn about the luxury brand industry, heritage marketing, and competitive advantage of nations. In addition to the valuable business insights gained from the Italy Study Tour, the quality time spent with my MBA batchmates was truly unforgettable. The opportunity to bond over delicious Italian cuisine and explore the beautiful cities of Milan and Rome together was a highlight of the trip. A truly enriching experience both professionally and personally. Abhinav Agastya, FTMBA Class of 2023

FTMBA Student Ananya Singh submitted this photo of herself & two classmates during the Duomo Rooftop Tour the first day in Milan
A group of Indian, Chinese, and European young people standing in a sunlit lobby smile for the camera.
MBA Students wait eagerly for their tour of fintech startup Insoore to begin.
A white man takes a selfie of a group of students standing with their luggage on a street in Milan
EMBA Student William Boyd took a selfie as the group assembled for the train journey from Milan to Rome.

Experience is the teacher of all things.’ – Julius Caesar.
The international business trip to Italy was an invaluable experience I would carry for my life. The trip provided an opportunity to immerse in a new culture, try local foods, visit local landmarks, and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the diversity of the world. I was able to meet business leaders and learn from the experts in the field. I got a chance to visit local companies and industries to learn about their operations and business models and to observe the challenges and opportunities they face in the global market. Overall, I found the experience was more tangible, and I could see how the theories we learnt in the class apply in the real business world. Ananya Singh, FTMBA Class of 2023

FTMBA Student Blessing Ehinomen Ebare poses with a matching Vespa at the Piaggio Showroom in Milan.
A white woman accepts an Aperol Spritz from a bartender.
The visit to Campari Group wrapped up with aperitivo hour in the company’s function space.

Did you know that more than 85% of businesses in Italy are family-owned? This makes up about 784,000 businesses and accounts for around 70% of employment in the country. These businesses include the Said chocolate factory, the well-loved Borsalino, specialists in Italian luxury hats,  the luxury Italian fashion house D&G and Piaggo, the Italian motor vehicle manufacturer to mention a few.  If there is one thing all these companies share in common, it’s the appeal to lifestyle, culture, and joy of life which Italians are known for.

Well, it was not all business. I did get to enjoy some Italian delicacies, tour the Campari museum, the Duomo Di Milano Cathedral, the D&G fashion house in Milan, and visit the Milan Fashion Institute, among others. It was also a great opportunity to bond with my classmates and the Executive MBA students outside the classroom setting and make new connections. I also got to appreciate a culture that was different from mine. I fell in love with Italy and look forward to visiting again sometime. Blessing Ehinomen Ebare, FTMBA Class of 2023

A soccer pitch at night, with bright lights overhead and stadium staff in orange in the foreground
A group of students arranged on their own to see a soccer match during a free evening: EMBA student Noel Quinn submitted this photo from the outing.
A group of around 20 students, faculty, and staff smile behind a banner reading UCD Smurfit School MBA in front of the obelisk in Rome's Piazza Navonna
The MBA Travelers on their walking tour of Rome

This should give you an idea of why so many UCD Smurfit MBA Students consider the International Study Tour a highlight of their year! Thanks in particular to Legacy Ventures for putting together such an engaging and rewarding itinerary.

To any prospective students reading this: Just think, next spring this could be you.

Kathryne Del Sesto, FTMBA Programme Manager

Advice to Live By

My first boss told me that “Fake it till you make it” is not a piece of good advice, because it involves pretending that you are great at something that you are not and then just hoping that you somehow get to the pinnacle of success. Since I have grown up on this advice, as many of you have, I was taken aback by this. But while thinking about writing this blog, I understood how my boss’s words changed my perspective towards life.

“It” can be any new task, habit, project or role you haven’t aced yet. And acing “it” may involve constantly fighting with your inner self. But, if you are not convinced you are initially good at “it”, you might feel an imposter syndrome kicking in and stop doing “it” altogether. My boss recommended that I replace “faking it” with  “believe in pushing your boundaries”. The suggestion was to accept that I must leave my comfort zone and convince myself I can break the glass ceilings. 

She said that when you know in the back of your mind that it’s high time you must take up a challenging project, build your self-confidence, or try out something different in the company, it is better to overpromise in a meeting quickly. In fact, per her, once you have overpromised, you need to take responsibility to not under-deliver! For example, if some co-worker comes and tells you that there is this new project that you have to take up immediately, and even though you feel like saying, “no, that is hard”, sometimes it is lovely to go that extra mile and say “yes” to that project in a 10-second “confidence window”. The 10 seconds is to ensure that before the inner voice kicks in and tells you that you can’t do the project, you publicly take ownership of it.

I have realised that this was a brilliant way to give new challenges my all while pushing my boundaries, one hard thing at a time.  My boss said that, gradually, I would see progress in that new project and finally give my best shot at the project because I have openly taken up the responsibility to do “it”.

This advice works because you might develop a new passion or skill while exploring that new hurdle. You never know your true potential; if you give in, you can ace “it” (that, too, in one go!) Even if you do not execute “it” that wonderfully, at least you have an empowering feeling that you have tried out something different. And the next time you get a similar challenge, you know exactly what not to do to crack “it” the next time! 

Me with my classmates at the Van Gogh Experience

Most recently, I applied my boss’s advice when I decided to take on the role of FTMBA Class Rep for Spring 2023. I had the least professional experience in terms of years of work experience in my MBA cohort. So, initially, in my head, I did not think of myself as serving as a class rep of such an experienced group. But I impulsively implemented the above advice.

Before becoming a Class Rep, I knew I was very approachable and always wanted to be helpful to my classmates. As I did not believe in being competitive, I did not view the role of a class rep as some position of power to boast about in an MBA. I got great help from my classmates in both my personal and professional life. So, I wanted to serve the best interests of my classmates, many of whom became “my tribe” for life. Hopefully, pushing my boundaries will bring justice to this promising role.

Needless to say, it is a leadership position for someone like me who was otherwise shy to be opinionated in class. I now use this opportunity to hone my communication skills further. Therefore, I highly recommend you take up this post once you are here.

Rajshri Chakraborty, Full Time MBA Class of 2023

Meet an Executive MBA Class Rep: Allyson Barr

What ways do you hope your career will change when you’ve earned your MBA?

My hope is that I move into a role with a wider scope, directing more of the strategy execution within a business. My background is in marketing and product management, and my ambition is to take on a Chief Operating Officer role where I can design and optimise the full end-to-end commercial journey for a business. The MBA helps reinforce my practical experience while also filling in knowledge gaps across that spectrum from creating to fulfilling demand.

Portrait of the Author

What skills have you learned in the programme so far that you’re most excited to take to work?

First and foremost is time management. It’s amazing how much you can take on when you are deliberate about how you spend your time, plan accordingly, and commit to that plan. When you know what your plan is you can ironically be more flexible about changes that arise – you know where the tradeoffs can be made and how to set expectations when new tasks or projects come up.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got from a boss or coworker?

When you’re thinking about making a job or career change, make sure you’re running toward something, not running away from something. In running toward something you have the opportunity to define and craft what you want in an opportunity; in running away you’re defining your next move based on what you don’t want – which isn’t the same as defining what you want.

Allyson Barr, EMBA Class of 2023

Meet an FTMBA Class Rep: Tanveer Dosani

As a multitasking professional, I wear many hats, with sales being one of my strong suits. On my free days, I love to delve into the latest non-fiction books, keeping myself up-to-date with the latest trends and ideas. Being a die-hard fan of Marvel movies, I make sure to catch every release on its opening day. My passion for learning and keeping up with current events reflect my dynamic personality, making me a well-rounded individual with an insatiable thirst for knowledge and entertainment.

FTMBA Spring Class Rep Tanveer Dosani

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your MBA?

Looking back, there are several key things I wish I had known when I started my MBA program. One of the most important is the importance of effective time management and workload management. Balancing the demands of coursework, group projects, and other responsibilities is challenging.

One of the key things I wish I would have known that would have helped me would be to speak to more people about their experiences and insights on how to make the most of the program. I believe that speaking to other students and alumni would have given me a broader understanding of what to expect and how to manage my time more efficiently. Getting to know other people and their experiences could have also helped me in creating a network that would have been useful throughout the program.

Another important thing that I wish I had known earlier is the value of networking. While I had a fair understanding of networking, I now understand the importance of being well-prepared and intentional in building meaningful relationships with other students, alumni, professors, and professionals in my desired industry. By building these relationships, I would have been able to gain a better understanding of the industry, secure internships and job opportunities, and also gain insights into the job market.

What skills have you learned in the programme so far that you’re most excited to take to work?

As I progressed through my MBA program, I have learned a variety of skills that I am eager to bring to my professional life. One of the most significant areas of focus has been gaining a deeper understanding of crucial aspects of business, such as finances, strategy, and macroeconomics. This knowledge has equipped me with the tools necessary to make informed business decisions and comprehend the complexities of the business world. 

One of the most fulfilling aspects of the MBA program has been realizing that the most demanding tasks are also the most rewarding. Whether it was a challenging course or a complex group project, pushing myself to tackle these tasks has resulted in substantial growth and satisfaction.  I still recall the time when I had a particularly challenging course. The concepts were difficult to understand, and I struggled to keep up with the pace of the class. Here, I decided to push myself to tackle the task at hand. I put in extra hours of study, sought help from my professors and classmates, and eventually managed to not just pass the course, but also excel in it. Similarly, when I was assigned a group project, I was initially apprehensive. Coordinating with different team members, managing conflicting schedules, and ensuring that everyone was on the same page seemed like an impossible task. However, by breaking down the project into smaller, more manageable tasks, and collaborating effectively with my teammates, we were able to complete the project on time and produce excellent output.

I have also significantly improved my communication and presentation skills during my MBA program. Whether I am delivering a presentation to classmates or leading a team meeting at work, being able to effectively communicate my ideas and thoughts is essential for success. Through coursework, group projects, and other opportunities, my MBA program has provided me with ample opportunities to develop and refine these skills.

What inspired you to volunteer to serve as class rep?

I was motivated to volunteer as a class representative because I want to assist others and promote a sense of unity and positivity in our cohort. This role aligns with my personal values and provides a valuable learning opportunity as I pursue my MBA. As class representative, I have the chance to connect with a diverse group of classmates and staff and gain a deeper understanding of different perspectives within our group.

As a class representative, I aim to bring people together and create a supportive community within the cohort by planning and organising social events, facilitating discussions, and representing the class’s collective interests. I believe that my role as class representative is crucial in fostering a positive environment for everyone. I am also excited about the challenge of solving problems and finding solutions that benefit the class. This experience will help me grow as a leader and provide me with valuable knowledge and skills for my future career. 

Overall, I am honoured to serve as class representative and am eager to make a positive impact on my classmates and the broader community.

Tanveer Dosani, Full Time MBA Class of 2023

MBA Cultural & Performing Arts Club Outing

There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.” Vincent Van Gogh

Why would you visit Van Gogh Experience as an FTMBA student? The same question ran through my head when I was planning this trip as the President of the MBA Cultural and Performing Arts Club. However, MBA has definitely taught us one thing: adapt to the unknown. With this in mind, our class went to explore what turned out to be an amazing experience that most of us will cherish for a really long time.

A group of young adults in colourful coats, smiling in front of a Vincent Van Gogh self-portrait
Some FTMBA Class of 2023 Students

In less than one decade Vincent Van Gogh, the Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, created some 2000+ artworks and a majority of his work came in his last two or three years. Van Gogh, Immersive Experience in Dublin is more than just an experience. It is a wide array of emotions, plentiful surprises and moments that are very relatable. This one-hour journey will take you to places – the life of Vincent Van Gogh and his true love for nature – by depicting them artistically in its most innocent sense.

The 3D Immersive Hall: I promise you will not want to come out of it

The Vincent Van Gogh Exhibition is a potpourri of imperfections and yet everything looks perfect and surreal. The flowers, the vase, the depiction and the story through his paintings.

Personally, his work has inspired me to embrace uncertainty and imperfections and admire individualism. His artworks depict emotions ranging from anxiety and sufferings to love and hope.

On a lighter note, the kid in us was reborn to juggle and struggle with crayons when we learnt about one another on how good (or bad, haha) we all are at sketching. It was super fun.

The Creative Space: some of the sketches on that wall belong to MBA students

I thank the administration of UCD Michael Smurfit School and their support to help us live this experience amidst the rigorous and intense curriculum.

Abhinav Chaturvedi, FTMBA Class of 2023

Why UCD?

‘Experiential. Transformational. International.’ Those were the first words that stood out to me when I looked up the official Smurfit MBA website a year ago, looking to see if the school fit into my plans, and I with it. I can never forget those words. 

If you are reading this, it means that just like I was, you are considering doing the UCD Smurfit MBA program. And you are probably wondering, ‘is this the one?’ Well, a thousand times, ‘Yes!’ And I hope to show you why through my experiences.

A wood-paneled hallway with a student walking through and flags from a multitude of nations suspended from the ceiling
My favourite part of school for the first few weeks: the ‘Hall of Flags’, as I call it

To take up studies at the UCD Smurfit MBA program, I embarked on a life-changing journey: leaving my home in Nigeria to come to Ireland. I was airborne for 2 days, arrived on Sunday evening, and started classes the following day. I do not recommend this type of travel itinerary–I promise it is not fun when it comes down to it. But I was too excited to feel the exhaustion that no doubt coursed through my body. 

Hey! I made it, I’m here now (me, dancing on the inside). In my head, as I stared at the red brick walls of the Smurfit building on day one, I said to myself, ‘Shall we begin?’

An Asian man and a Black woman in business casual dress, smiling inside the cutout of a cardboard photo booth frame, in front of the red brick UCD Smurfit main building
Study Partner Linh & I on Picture Day

A typical day at the MBA involves two classes, at most 3. Almost always, there are classes every day of the week (it’s the downer, I know. Wipes imaginary tears). The modules themselves are fascinating. What is most compelling to me, however, is that, with each module, you are not just reading books to pass an exam, you have the opportunity to take the knowledge and apply it to real-world problems.

In Leadership & Organisational Behaviour, for example, my module partner Linh and I took a real problem at a real organization and we diagnosed the cause of the massive attrition rates the organization was experiencing. The results were far beyond what we expected and we felt very proud of what we accomplished together. It felt very empowering for me. Needless to say, we scored an A on the project (again, dancing with joy on the inside).

Or take the project that my study team took up for the Marketing management module. We wrote a paper on a very real digital camera company and were able to diagnose the weaknesses in its marketing mix and its value proposition. We came up with some solid recommendations for the company at the end of the paper. I felt proud to be able to produce a value of such magnitude and feel like the Smurfit MBA has unlocked hidden potential in me.

Five smiling students around a computer keyboard on campus
With my study team, putting an assignment together

Right now, I am preparing for a pitching session that to me is the equivalent of the dragon’s den, for the entrepreneurship module. It is hard work, as much as it is exciting. But I am confident that the program is preparing me for the career I intend to pursue after the MBA.

Seven smiling students in a wood-paneled hallway in front of a huge, brightly-lit Christmas tree
Some classmates & I just around Christmastime

The Smurfit MBA is structured such that you work in teams for a large percentage of the time. This helps you increase your network, and ensures that you benefit from the strengths of your classmates as they benefit from yours. In my class of about 30, I get to work with engineers, medical professionals, salespeople, architects, creative designers, and much more. So do not worry if you do not have an accounting or business background. Working with a diverse and international cohort from a variety of backgrounds, you will learn valuable skills that will help you come out on top in your career, whatever it may be.

So why UCD? Tell me, why not UCD?

Blessing Ehinomen Ebare, Full Time MBA Class of 2023