Everyone in the class is back in real world at the moment. We’re in the middle of our company projects. Having a normal nine-to-five job has been a nice break from the intensive study.
From my own point of view, I have had some of my option modules running in the background which is annoying. It still feel as if I’m in college. I should have been a bit more strategic in my choice of subjects. But then again some of my classmates were very busy with their extra subjects back in February and March so it all evens out over time.
Regarding being back at the coalface….A surprise, and a pleasant one at that, has been how much of the material that I have learnt on the course has been applicable in the few weeks I have been on the project. Who would have known that in the real world Prof Brennan’s accounting notes or Prof Gibbons’ frameworks were actually used? I’m even looking into applying Dr Mac Fhionnlaoich’s real option theory to RnD expenditure.
An even bigger surprise has been that the material has come back to me which has been helpful. Maybe I have learnt something worthwhile on my year off!!
– Donal O’Sullivan
And so we’ve all arrived back safe and sound from our international study trip. About thirty five members of the full-time class went to Brazil with the balance opting for China.
The trip turned out to be a fabulous experience. We learned a lot about the Brazilian economy and society. Of course, there was an onus on the travelling group to take a holistic approach to sampling Brazilian culture. This sampling of the culture ranged from sipping caipirinhas on Ipanema to some of the group attending a local football game. These extra-curricular activities could be viewed as burning the candle at both ends but we would like to look on it as making the most of the trip.
The other group seemed to have just as interesting a time although based upon the photographs of their trip we seemed to get the better weather – hats and coats for them, shorts and flip-flops for us!! One of the more unexpected benefits of the trip has been the manner in which it allowed us to get to know each other even better. This is especially true for those of the people who were not part of the same study group up until now.
What I would like to understand is how the students of MBA programmes with classes of more than 250 manage to get to know each other. With that many in a class, it must be difficult to get to know everyone’s name! Within Smurfit, the class is less than fifty so everyone knows each other a lot better. This makes for a great atmosphere and a more rounded experience.
Whilst writing my last blog I had what can only be described as a wake-up call. I had to start looking for a job. The whole class seemed to have undergone a similar epiphany. So much so, Brian, the MBA Career Manager, is a person who is very much on demand. My classmate, David Lawton covers the pressure of going back to work in his latest blog. I’d recommend it.
Strangely, though, job hunting is not the most pressing issue on my mind. What seems to be more pressing for me now is not securing my future but that we’re well over half way through the course. In just one week the last full set of exams will be completed. After that it’s just our international trip, the company project and the final summer term in June. Where has the time gone? It just seems like yesterday that we started out on the journey.
In a state of panic I’m trying to extract as much value as possible from the remainder of the course. Stay tuned to see how I get on. My future career can wait!!
– Donal O’Sullivan
So here we all are back at Smurfit School after a well-earned break. The time off for Christmas and New Year has recharged everyone’s enthusiasm, so much so that most people didn’t mind coming back. But when we were back, we were back. There was no allowance for easing ourselves back into the routine – we were straight into assignments, readings, presentations and more readings and more assignments. The time off we enjoyed seems like a distant memory now.
One slight difference I have noticed this term has been the increase in mutterings about jobs and applications and “what are you going doing next year?” Surely it’s much too early for that I thought (and hoped).
However in reality it’s not too early. At the end of this term, it will be March and we will be going on our International Trip. Before we know it, April will be upon us and then the panic will set in! And if we are to be honest with ourselves, it is the reason we signed up in the first place. Whether it was to get a leg-up in our chosen profession or for a change in job, it was all about the career at the end of the day.
So onwards and upwards as we commence our search for gainful employment in earnest! I had better make my way to the Careers Office.
– Donal O’Sullivan
Just to give some background on myself so you know where I’m coming from….
I’m 33 years old and have worked as an engineer in the construction industry here in Ireland for ten years. I studied civil engineering in UCC in Cork and graduated in 2000. That’s more than 10 years ago now and makes me feel very old.
As you may be aware, the construction industry here in Ireland has collapsed in the last two years, so I was faced with a choice; either travel outside the country to find work or else take a year off. What better way to take a year off than to do an MBA; you don’t feel as if you’re completely wasting your time and hey I might even learn a thing or two along the way.
Continue reading Meet the Class of 2011
And so we’ve made it through the first three months with only a few scrapes and bruises, and one major surgery. Nobody’s been killed thank God. Well, not yet anyway.
We’ve the first term done and mostly forgotten and we’re now fully immersed in term 2. The Christmas break is only a week away and it will be our first real holiday of the year. Hanging over us rather ominously before we can relax for a few weeks, are umpteen assignments and, of course, the end of term exams. So near and yet so far…
For some reason this term seems to be more manageable than the first, even though I’m working just as hard. I don’t seem to be as snowed under -no pun intended given the recent weather! Officially, it’s because we’ve had fewer group presentations to prepare. The real reason is that you learn to be a little more cunning in selecting what needs to be done and manage your time accordingly. The Time Management gurus call it ‘prioritising’.
I spoke to an alumnus about this. He said in the first term you try to do everything, in the second you try to do most things and in the third you just do what’s required. As the year progresses your grades improve!
But I think this is part of the MBA learning experience – it’s as much about the process as much as it involves the module material. You learn to prioritise, juggle and even say no. You learn to pick your battles as well; which assignments to concentrate on; where a good mark is possible and which ones to do an adequate job on because of the Law of Diminishing Returns. That’s something from an Economics module that I picked up during the first term.