Why I Applied for the IMAGE Scholarship

I graduated from Trinity College medical school in 2012, and since then have been working full time as a doctor in the Irish healthcare system. Over the last number of years, I completed a doctorate in gut health and nutrition and have published academic research papers in peer-reviewed medical journals on a broad range of topics from cardiovascular health to gut bacteria and methadone use. I have rotated through the Irish hospital system in diverse roles, from general surgery and psychiatry to general internal medicine and anaesthesia. Most recently, I worked as a registrar in anaesthesia, having completed my membership exams for the College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland. I also have ongoing research commitments in the field of exercise physiology.

Since graduating from university, I have been continually looking for fulfilment in my career in such a way that I can improve the lives of others by facilitating them in being their most healthy and empowered selves. Having gained a wealth of experience from multiple medical specialities, the next step for me was to combine my medical knowledge with a new skill set that would give me the edge I need to promote my ideas. I wanted to gain a more universal view of the impact of health beyond the individual. The Smurfit MBA programme was on my radar and, with a natural break in my career, I decided to go for it. The IMAGE Scholarship has enabled me to be financially secure in achieving my goals. It is exciting, I feel honoured and thankful that I was the successful scholarship candidate this year. When word got out that I had been successful in my application, I received an endless stream of congratulations from those in the know, my friends and family. This was an immense boost to the journey I had embarked on.


Alumni weren’t exaggerating when they advised us that our management skills would improve exponentially during the first term. Since the introductory week in August, my juggling skills have been challenged to the extreme. I am hopeful they will eventually be finely polished and ready for action. With classes dominating Monday and Thursday evenings, both work and research commitments are confined to other weekdays and weekends. I have yet to master multitasking, but I’m getting there. You can also count on seeing me jogging, gymming or swimming to switch off and zone out when I need to.

Learning to balance work, study and life was very challenging at first. Luckily, my supportive friends have understood this and kept me in check by giving me both space and love when I needed them most. One of the most obvious parts of the curriculum I hadn’t given a huge amount of thought to before starting was the language of business itself. Coming to terms with how to articulate myself in terms of the world of business, marketing and finance has been tricky and a skill I hope to continue to improve on.

The introductory week in August was an inspiring start to my time in Smurfit; not least because we were given a taster of the path to come but also for meeting and connecting with my new classmates who were open and welcoming, normalising the whole process. There have been a great many networking events organised for us too. A few stand out, like the MBA welcome dinner in September, which gave me a chance to sit down with classmates and professors and gave me the sense that I was now part of a very large and well-connected family. I was also invited to the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2018, where I witnessed incredible Irish businesswomen being rewarded for having reached for the stars.

If you have an inkling that an MBA in Smurfit might be the ticket to expanding your horizons, building on your skillset and submerging yourself in the unknown world of business, take the plunge. While you initially have to be certain this is indeed the right path for you, clarity in the decision-making process doesn’t often come straightaway. Talk to people who have done it or are in the process of doing it – these will be invaluable in giving you an open, honest synopsis of what is expected of you. Also, while not a problem for some, timing was especially important for me. I was coming to a natural break in my career and, if this is the case for you, then your time is now.

Thinking of applying? Here’s what you need to know…
UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School is delighted to partner with IMAGE Magazine in offering one candidate a 100% scholarship to join the full-time MBA or part-time Executive MBA in August 2019.

The value: One award of up to 100% MBA tuition fees.
Eligibility: Open to all successful MBA and Executive MBA female applicants, achieving the relevant minimum GMAT score or above (MBA full-time: min GMAT 600; EMBA: min GMAT 520 or Executive Assessment/EA 149 and above).
Please note the GMAT/EA deadline is April 12, 2019.

How to apply
There is no separate application process for this scholarship. All successful applicants for the full-time MBA or the Executive MBA who meet the eligibility criteria and have met the deadlines noted below will be considered for shortlisting for the assessment centre.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Early application is recommended.
For more details on how to apply, visit smurfitschool.ie/image.

Scholarship deadlines:
MBA Application Deadline: Monday, April 12, 2019
GMAT/EA Deadline: Monday, April 12, 2019
Assessment Centre Date: Monday, April 29, 2019

Danielle Courtney, EMBA 2018/2019