Meet an EMBA Class Rep: Fardod O’Kelly

EMBA Class of 2022 Representative Fardod O’Kelly has contributed posts in the past on applying the triage technique to work/life balance, and on the importance of resilience on the MBA. Today he gets a little more personal via our Student Profile Questionnaire:

An image of a US$50 bill, with Fardod O'Kelly's headshot in place of Ulysses S. Grant
Sometimes in-class simulations require props

What ways do you hope your career will change when you’ve earned your MBA?

I guess I may be a little atypical when it comes to career progression post-MBA in that I’m already a consultant surgeon and assistant professor, and therefore am not using this for career advancement. One of my main motivations was to gain significant business, and leadership skills in order to effectively communicate with senior management, and understand issues like strategy, investment management, supply chain, digital transformation and finance. I also wanted to use the MBA to improve my own clinical service delivery and personal development, and as an adjunctive tool for research. I would therefore hope to take a larger role in clinical leadership in the hospital setting and use it to improve healthcare delivery and to advocate on behalf of my department.

How would you spend your ideal day off?

With 3 kids and a busy household and career, there is no such thing as a day off as I’m taxiing kids to training, working or doing research, but if such a thing existed it would involve the following:

  • Send the kids and pets down to their grandparents the night before
  • Wake up really late at 8:30am. Brew some fresh coffee and go down to the store to get some fresh bread for breakfast with my better half
  • Lounge around the sitting room reading a newspaper and/or tinkering around on the piano for the morning
  • Go out for lunch with my wife and then browse a few shops and have a couple of coffees with her
  • Watch some tv for the afternoon, and then go for a walk and just chat and catch up
  • Go out for a nice meal and a glass of wine (and get a taxi home)
  • Aim to be in bed super early for about 11pm

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got from a boss or co-worker?

A former division chief (and friend) of mine once told me that no matter how good, popular or productive you are, there will always be someone you can’t please, and will never like you. Don’t be so naïve to think that everyone you meet or work with will want to be your friend. The important thing is to be true to yourself, make your own luck, and build strong friendships based on loyalty and mutual respect. 

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your MBA?

I would definitely have loved to have known that I was not simply an imposter starting the MBA. I felt a huge level of uncertainty and anxiety as I had no business acumen. Smurfit is a great leveller of backgrounds. No matter where you have come from, your knowledge will be built from the ground up.

What’s one thing none of your MBA classmates know about you?

We’ve all gotten to know each other reasonably well online and in-person. Many of my interests you could probably guess from my profile, or social media. However what you won’t find is that I really love 80’s/90’s karaoke with a couple of drinks! I’ve got some firm crowd pleasers.

What inspired you to volunteer to serve as class rep?

I’ve really been continuously involved with university education since 1998 when I left school. I’ve been lucky enough on many occasions to serve as class rep, faculty convener, students union, sports union, chief surgical resident, hospital committees  etc. I have a reasonable understanding of the role, am used to advocating, and tend to be fairly direct. It wasn’t a huge jump to be a class rep in Smurfit. Furthermore, my class colleagues are a great bunch, so it’s a privilege to be able to help them in any way I can.

Fardod O’Kelly, Executive MBA Class of 2022