After wonderful success of Katie Taylor and the Irish boxing team at the Olympics and the excitement that has swept through the country in recent weeks, I can’t help but make the analogy that going into second year of the MBA feels somewhat like getting back into a boxing ring.
Like boxing, the MBA requires a lot of self-discipline and a lot of sweat away from the bright lights of the ring/boardroom. Last semester, I lost count of the many late nights myself and my team mates spent pouring over company annual reports (corporate finance module), critiquing the management controls and budgets of large organisations (management accounting) and preparing SWOT analysis and brainstorming new market ideas for a company’s future (corporate strategy).
A successful boxer also has a great team of people that work with him/her every step of the way. One of the real benefits of the MBA is that you work in small groups on a number of assignments. For me, being part of the group gave me exposure to the views, experiences and perspectives of professionals from a wide range of background that I would not usually encounter in my day-to day-work. This has helped me to look at challenges in my own sector through fresh eyes, which has been invaluable.
A key element of achieving success in boxing is being able to perform at your best under pressure. As aspiring MBA’s, we need to be able to perform under pressure too. We need to be able to present our ideas and business cases to senior business people in a professional and convincing manner. The Smurfit MBA places a high level of significance on developing these skills and throughout the past year we have all had to deliver multiple presentations in front of our classmates, lecturers and senior business people and deal with their questions competently.
Of course, competition is inherent in boxing and it is no different on the MBA. The fact that you are on an executive programme which requires about 15- 18 hours of your time each week, on top of your ‘day-job’, means that the majority of people who make this kind of commitment are motivated to do well. Sometimes the competitiveness comes out with different groups ‘battling’ against each other on their group projects and presentations– but it is more out of a sense of friendly rivalry than anything else and usually ends up in a good laugh over a pint after class.
That said, a new fantasy football league has started in our class and the competition is heating up so let the games begin!
Conor O’Donovan -EMBA Yr 2