Last Saturday morning (29 June), while many of you were catching up on the conversations between the buccaneers at Anglo exposed in the “Anglo Tapes”, I was advising the board of Directors at Coca-Cola on what they should do with their recent acquisition of Coca-Cola Enterprises!
NUI Galway was the generous host of this year’s annual MBA Association of Ireland (MBAAI) Inter-Business School MBA Strategy challenge. The challenge is open to all MBA students from business schools across Ireland.
Four teams competed, with representation from MBA programmes at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Griffith College Dublin (GCD), Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School (UCD).
At 10:15am, all teams were presented with a contemporary Harvard Business School case study on Coca-Cola.
At 10:30am, just as the Lions rugby team were getting ready to roar, each team was directed to a separate meeting room where we were caged for four hours to ‘crack the case’ and prepare a presentation before returning to present to the judging panel.
During these four hours my team -Richie Somerville, Benjamin Bechtolsteim, Neil Krige, Robert Farrell and I- used the analytical tools discussed during the MBA modules at UCD to analyse the information we were given, identify the problem to be solved and propose a recommendation for implementation within Coca-Cola’s business.
Those four hours felt like minutes. The environment emulated that of everyday businesses, where leaders are challenged to identify, comprehend and solve complex business issues under intense pressure.
The presentations were very diverse, with each time taking a very different perspective on the case. I’m sure the variety was appreciated by the judges!
In the evening, we all convened at the Westwood Hotel in Galway where the MBAAI had arranged a drinks reception followed by a beautiful dinner. It provided an excellent opportunity to enjoy a well-deserved drink whilst getting to know the teams from DIT, WIT and GCD. The sunshine was an added bonus!
Just before dinner, my team were announced All-Ireland Strategy Champions 2013, reclaiming the title for UCD! The road to Galway involved two-rounds of internal competition, testament to the high calibre of students in both the full-time and executive MBA programmes at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business. After months of preparation with Richie, Robert, Neil and Benjamin, it was a real honour to win. We were presented with a glistening Waterford crystal trophy – a new companion for the MBA World Cup trophy in the MBA Trophy Cabinet!
The event showcased the ingenuity, strategic thinking and diverse perspectives of the participants and provided an endorsement of the quality of MBA programmes in Ireland’s business schools. Amidst the widespread media coverage of bad leadership in Ireland, it is encouraging to see a fresh wave of leaders equipped to make a difference and contribute to rebuilding Ireland’s reputation.
Thank you to Professor Pat Gibbons and Michael McDonnell at UCD for helping my team along the way. Thank you to MBAAI and NUI Galway, particularly James and Christine, for arranging a super event and for making us feel so welcome. We look forward to returning the favour by welcoming teams to Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock for next year’s competition!
– Therese O’Rourke, FT MBA 2012-13