Diary of an MBA – March 2012

I am writing this blog during our mid-term break and can hardly believe that there are only 5 weeks of term to go and I will have finished the 1st year of the Executive MBA (fingers crossed for the exams of course!). It only seems like yesterday when I was applying for the Irish Times/ Smurfit Business School Scholarship and dreaming of having the opportunity to do the MBA at Smurfit Business School.

The past term and a half have flown by, although they seem to have gone faster for my family and friends than me for some reason. I am amazed at when they all say “sure that flew by….. where did the time go?’ 24 weeks of lectures, eight hours a week, countless team meetings, presentations, assignments and so on….but you know what? I have absolutely loved it all. It has been tough and in some ways, inspiring too.  Balancing work, study and your personal life is not an easy juggling act but you do find you get into a bit of a rhythm.

One of the reasons I decided to the MBA was to broaden my thinking and to build a skill set that would enable me to progress to the next level. And I am finding that the academic course work really does broaden your thinking and give you more confidence in dealing with people in functional areas that you may not deal with on a day to day basis. However, I have also found that I have learnt the most from the group dynamics. Another reason that I did the MBA was to learn from others and I had heard that the MBA Alumni of UCD Smurfit Business School is second to none. I have always had an interest in reading about entrepreneurs and business people to see what makes them tick and to pick up some wisdom along the way.

I recently met up with Emmet O’Neill, who is a UCD graduate and co-founded Smiles Dental in 2005 after spotting a gap for tooth whitening in the Irish market. Since then, the company has expanded into offering full dental services and has 16 Smiles dental clinics nationwide. I asked him a few questions about his journey to business success, any advice he could share with aspiring entrepreneurs and his outlook for the future. (TBC)

– Conor O’Donovan,  EMBA 2011/13