You get what you pay for!

I was a little late to join the MBA cohort, so missed the initial call to join the GNAM trip, which meant my first preference Yale wasn’t available. It was a real pity as that was part of the reason that I joined the Smurfit MBA. So if you are contemplating doing the MBA, I recommend you get in early, so you can get your first choice of trip locations. I always had a keen interest in technology as well as sustainability, so there was another course that really piqued my interest, that was a course on  Sustainability and Innovation: Technologies and Business Models that Address the Sustainability Crisis by Professor Justin Bull of UBC, Vancouver. I discovered that I would be travelling with David & Colm from Ireland and Kenta from Japan, they had already booked their accommodation, but I managed to convince them that it would be a good idea for us all to stay together in an Airbnb, that it would give us an opportunity to get to know each other better and perhaps do some sightseeing before the course started. Little did I know how right I would be, as we got to know each other a whole lot better.


Our Airbnb set-up was unique to say the least. There was only one bathroom with the smallest sink possible, so we often ended up brushing our teeth in the kitchen. This pretty soon turned into communal teeth brushing as you can see in the photograph above. Another idiosyncrasy of the building was that we had to walk through each other’s rooms to get to two of the bedrooms! So it meant once you were up, the whole house was up. Fortunately, we didn’t actually spend too much time in the house itself as we had much to see and very little time to see it!

photo-fourphoto-threeWe arrived a day before the course was to start, just to get over the jet lag and do a bit of sightseeing. First stop, of course, was the Long Table Distillery, a micro-distillery that produced its own Gin as well as some of the most delicious cocktails I have ever tried! It got the trip off to a very merry start, to say the least! We also managed to squeeze in some cycling in Stanley Park and a visit to Capilano Bridge. The scenery in Vancouver is stunning and some of the redwood trees are so impressive.

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The course itself was very intense. We squeezed so much learning into such a short space of time. We learned about the incredible technological advancements that were taking place around the world, that would hopefully help to create a sustainable future. We had talks from experts in additive printing, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and blockchain. We were given opportunities to apply this learning by creating our own business applications. It all ended with a hackathon-style presentation which meant very little sleep to get it all done on time. The facilities in UBC Sauder Business School were really impressive and the space we were based in was set up like a board room/executive level suite. Breakfast was provided most mornings, so we were treated extremely well. We also got to do some sightseeing with the group and visit some Canadian businesses which was interesting. We also got to mix well with some of the other students, we met UBC students, as well as people from China, Spain, US, Mexico and Guatemala, so there was a tremendous mix of views and backgrounds which made for interesting conversations.


Emma Farrell, 2018/19 FTMBA