A Canadian in Dublin

This is my first attempt at having a consistent blog, so I hope you all bare with me. Let me first start off by stating that I have had this entry started since the first week of the programme, and it is only now that I am able to complete it. This is pretty indicative of what life is like in the MBA. There is always lots of work, group meetings, and even more readings. Now, coming from a corporate background the work and volume of meetings are commonplace. As for the readings, that is an entirely new ballgame! Having been 5 years removed from my undergrad I did not expect this, it consumes a good portion of the “free time” I can muster.

But I digress, back to the point of this blog: to share my experience of a Canadian coming to university in Dublin. With that said, it is best to start off at the beginning of my time here in Dublin.

I landed in Dublin, on a surprisingly sunny and warm Sunday morning in August (what I now know is even more rare than I initially thought). As I sat on the bus passing the River Liffey, it dawned on me… “I’m here”. Now as theatrical as this may sound, this was several months in the making. From researching MBA programmes, to writing the ever popular GMAT (which still haunts my dreams), to the long and arduous application forms. It is a process which takes months to do, and I had successfully accomplished it.

When I finally got off of my bus I went to my temporary flat in Blackrock and immediately set off to explore my new home for the next 13 months.  My first stop was the Smurfit School itself. When I walked through its iron gates I couldn’t help but smile, not just because I was delirious with jet lag (which I was), but rather because I was a Canadian who had just moved to his ancestral home of Ireland, and was going to be attending one of the top business schools in the world. Something I would have thought impossible years prior.

For myself, I did not leave myself much time to get adjusted to Irish life, I arrived on the Sunday and began the following day at 8:30 am.  Word to the wise: give yourself more time. Day two of jet lag is the worst! With that said, if you do as poorly as I did with flight plans remember this: coffee is your friend.

It’s amazing to think that this was already 5 months ago, and so much has happened since! I continue to forge strong friendships, have  good “craic” when I can, and continue to learn from excellent Professors and from my peers. With that said, some of the biggest learning has been adjusting to the culture and lifestyle here in Ireland. Now, it is not grossly different than back in Canada. Just replace Hockey with Rugby, Alexander Keith’s with Guinness, and snow with rain.  The people are class, the upbeat nature of Ireland and its people is more than I could ever have imagined.  As my blog goes on, I will try to illustrate my experiences through the eyes of a Canadian living and doing an MBA in Dublin.

Mark DeRocher

– Mark De Rocher, FT MBA 12/13