MBA After Hours

The inaugural MBA trimester leaves in its wake a wealth of knowledge, encompassing finance reporting, corporate finance, economics, strategy, and marketing management. Simultaneously, the period is punctuated with vibrant, exciting, and profoundly enriching extracurricular activities. 

The UCD campus offers a myriad of clubs and societies. Living by my life motto, ‘I will try anything once,’ I plunged into the world of tennis, evolving from a novice to an intermediate player in just four months. I’ve always been passionate about sports for their lessons in discipline and focus, and a regular runner and gym goer.

Tennis at UCD particularly appealed to me because it’s both physically and mentally challenging. It provides a fantastic platform for social interaction and networking. It’s not just about learning a new sport for me; it’s about embracing a challenge, expanding my network, and aligning with my energetic personality and continuous quest for self-improvement.

Author on the way to practice Tennis in UCD Main Campus

Beyond the sports realm, extracurricular pursuits extended to group hiking expeditions across Ireland, conquering trails such as Howth, Tiknock, and the Wicklow Mountains. The awe-inspiring landscapes of Ireland left an indelible mark on us.

The author and MBA classmates Emily, Emer  and Kumuta at Howth

In addition to the wide array of extracurricular activities offered at the university level, our MBA program at UCD uniquely empowers us to create and lead our own student-run and program-funded clubs and societies. This initiative begins with an idea for a new club, which we then develop into a formal proposal. Following this, we present our concept to the entire class to garner interest and involvement.

This academic year, our class has successfully launched 10 diverse clubs, each reflecting our varied interests and passions. These include the Music & Culture Club, Gastronomy Society, Strategy & Consulting Practice Club, Growth Mindset Club, Travel & Explorers’ Club, Community Outreach Society, and the Sport, Fitness, & Wellbeing Club, of which I am a proud co-founder.

Being at the helm of the Sport, Fitness, & Wellbeing Club, I anticipate honing my leadership and communication skills. It’s an exciting opportunity to apply what we learn in the MBA program in a practical, community-oriented setting.

Amidst the leisurely activities, the trimester was strategically balanced with career-focused initiatives. Notable among them was a visit to Workday, as well as numerous networking opportunities both online and offline. One standout event was a networking session at the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) organized by the Dean of UCD College of Business. The extensive discussions with UCD alumni spanned various graduation years, offering invaluable insights into the Irish business landscape.

The author and MBA cohort at Workday office
The Author and the MBA Cohort at UCD MBA Alumni event

Moreover, the trimester presented opportunities to expand networks outside of the university network. Facilitated by the UCD Smurfit Business School, I had the privilege of participating in the Ireland China Business Association Event. This event proved to be a remarkable platform for connecting with Chinese businesses and associations in Ireland.

The Author at Ireland China Business Association Event

During the first trimester all the full-time MBA students were offered to join  the GNAM Week.  It took me to ESMT in Berlin, Germany, where I chose the Sustainability Finance program. The decision was strategic, driven by the program’s relevance  rather than the city or country. Engaging with MBA students from various international business schools, hailing the Oxford Saïd Business School from the UK, IE Business School from Spain, Koc University from Turkey, Haas School of Business from the USA, and Fudan University from China, provided invaluable insights. The shared passion for ESG finance and collective experiences enriched our conversations and case studies, making it a truly transformative academic encounter. Looking ahead, 2024 holds promises of study tours to Singapore in March and Portugal in June.

Author and MBA classmates Kumuta and Emily in GNAM Week for sustainable finance program in Berlin ESMT Germany

The first trimester was an invigorating and fruitful experience, seamlessly blending academic rigor with diverse extracurricular and professional growth opportunities. As we turn the page on this enriching first trimester, I look forward with great anticipation to the new experiences, learning opportunities, and personal growth that the next phases of the MBA program at UCD will undoubtedly bring.

Lijun Chen, FTMBA Class of 2024