Every Ending Is a New Beginning…


Today I finished my MBA. In Smurfit the final piece of work is a team-based Capstone project which I had the honour to complete with Arka Banerjee, Conor McMahon, Elsa Heffernan and Shane O’Driscoll. We undertook an industry review of a private equity firm, gaining an understanding of the industry in which they operate, how they are placed within it and then making recommendations to the firm involved.

We were lucky to benefit from the level of investment the firm put into the project, supporting and challenging us as the process advanced. I think it is fair to say that the final output is a piece of work that the whole team are very proud of.

It marks the end of what has been an amazing year for me. I have learned so much and about so much. The class of 39 has only 15 students from Ireland, with others coming from India, Vietnam, Brazil, China, Canada, the US and Saudi Arabia – a heady cocktail that ensures learnings. During the year I was fortunate enough to visit Yale, India, South Africa and China; I finally have an interesting passport!

I undertook a total of 16 modules, covering subjects from Corporate Finance to Corporate Governance, from Management Accounting to Financial Statement Analysis, from Global Corporate Strategy to Doing Business in International Markets. Yet, the most important thing I learned was that I did not study 16 modules, instead I have only studied business, albeit from all possible angles. I gained huge insights from the lecturers, the books and mostly from my fellow students.

The work was hard (I had much to learn), and the hours were long, but I thoroughly enjoyed the collegiate environment, the support and the humour and energy of those around me. I will never regret the year I spent doing the MBA and it is an option I would recommend to anyone thinking about it.

So what next? That I don’t yet know, but one other thing I have learned in the last 12 months is that in life you have to back yourself, know what you can do, work on what you can’t do (yet) and trust that opportunities will arise. One thing is for sure, I am better armed for the upcoming challenges than I thought possible a year ago and I look forward to the next chapter.

Paul Kelly ~ Full-Time MBA