The Real MBA was the Friends We Made Along the Way

Coming into the final lecture week of the MBA my mind was focused on how close to the end of the journey we all were, with only 6 weeks of the Capstone ahead until we were once again thrown back into the big bad world and all the opportunities it has to offer. I thought back to the different modules, the late nights working on assignments, the many, many zoom meetings and the chilly weekends in the Smurfit room trying to get study done somewhere other than my flat, and I realised something. Even with all of that, what I got looking back from the other end was far far more than I put in. The knowledge that will stand to me for years to come: the experience of studying during Covid and the amazing people who had my back, gave me advice and even just listened when I needed an open ear were more than adequate compensation for all the Zoom sessions in the world.

A trip to Brazil’s Carnaval, via Zoom

Coming into our final lecture week of the year and with that on my mind, I chose to enjoy the Doing Business in International Markets module to its utmost. And what a week it was, kicking off with an incredibly enlightening piece on the impact of Covid on the Americas and a spectacular Samba session filled to the brim with homemade percussion music. The rest of the week was a whistle stop tour, from a baking giant in Mexico teaching about the ins and outs of business in Latam, to the heights of the Andes in Chile and on to Silicon Valley where we learned that hobos and billionaires can be pretty indistinguishable. Wednesday we ended the day with a nice cup of Columbian coffee, and a walk-through of how it was made by Cafe San Alberto.

Coffee tasting kit–our virtual trip to Colombia

The highlight for me was the deep dive into the China/USA relation in LATAM, led by the inestimable Ambassador Jorge Heine. His session was an equal mix of thought provoking, insightful, engaging and pushed one to reexamine preconceived notions, and I for one walked away with much to ponder and happier for it.

Finally come Thursday we came to the main event, the DBIM closing BBQ, long awaited and much enjoyed. For some the first time to put a body to a screen and for all a great time to reconnect offline, enjoy some good food and well-earned rest while reminiscing about MBA shenanigans, lecturer quirks and that one exam you knew you could do better if given another chance.

Sláinte to the end of MBA coursework!

Walking home at the end of the night I realized this wasn’t the beginning of the end. Sure the MBA might be coming to a close, but the relationships we made along the way, the experience we gained and the trials we overcame will stand to us for the rest of our lives. With that I jumped on the bus with a smile on my face, looking forward to tomorrow–but probably not the accompanying hangover.

The end of the evening, and the end of an era

Paul Kilroy-Glynn, FTMBA Class of 2021