Staying on Track

Semester two is tough. It is not tough because the workload is greater than Semester one. Nor is it tough because the courses are more challenging. In fact, for a vast majority of the class the workload is lighter for the option modules. It isn’t the obvious things that make Semester two tough. It is the growing realisation of the need to figure out where the next stage of my life, post-MBA, is going to take me. Deciding what and then moving onto the how should be the focus of my time. It is, let’s face it, the reason anyone embarks on an MBA. Whilst some of the academic staff may not wish to admit it, the academic parts of an MBA course are a means to an end. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to learn and plenty to stimulate the intellectual curiosity, but the MBA is a springboard into a potentially new and exciting career.

Semester two is tough. There are so many pulls on your time and it is too easy to neglect the longer and longer shadow being cast on a future career. Many will say this is simply down to time management, and there is a certain degree of validity in that assertion. There is more complexity to it, however. Using the year in an MBA is, as has no doubt been noted by my colleagues previously, a unique opportunity to explore a totally different career path. However, this requires a depth of research and contact building that could in its own right be a full time job. Notwithstanding the HR strategies to get you around, the Activity Based Costing in Managerial Accounting and Investment Management classes that leave you mentally exhausted, trying to forge a new career is a considerable challenge.

Semester two is tough. As more and more gets thrown at you from preparing for the trip to China to extracurricular activities to assignments and late night classes, many things can knock you down. The prospect of developing an exciting new career from September is enough to motivate you to keep bouncing back off the canvas. But it is easy to lose track, no matter how often you are reminded of the real reason you are doing an MBA.

As the days get longer and (hopefully) the sun starts to get warmer, it is a great time to revaluate priorities and at the same time maintain the commitments you have made to family, friends and colleagues. That is the challenge.

Jim Radmore

Full-time MBA 2014

United Kingdom

Pressure is a Privilege

So the 6 Nations Championship is upon us. For the majority of rugby fans in this part of the world, it is a fascinating and gruelling six weeks of international rugby. For those lucky few who take part in the tournament and represent their families, counties, provinces and countries, it is both physically and mentally draining. During the build up to this year’s tournament, I came upon a phrase that has been recycled from the former tennis champion, Billie Jean King. Pressure is a privilege. In a sports context this is quite an easy, logical progression. The privilege to represent your country obviously comes with significant pressure. If it’s ever forgotten by an international sports person, it is a privilege that those around them will quickly remind the athlete of. At this stage, it may seem odd as to what, if anything, this has to do with the journey through an MBA. If the reader is considering this, I strongly suggest a brief reflection on what ‘pressure is privilege’ means to you.

It is easy to get wrapped up in the bubble of completing an MBA. All the assignments, leadership development, careers and networking events can very quickly distort the wider picture and impact personal motivation. The privilege of being amongst a small band of individuals going through this journey comes with pressure. Being successful in our future careers and achieving everything we want to achieve will be a privilege. It will bring with it significant pressure. In order to reach the heights we are being prepared for throughout the course, we have to prove competence under pressure. This connection can be forgotten during the long and dark winter months as we slog through another case study or number crunching exercise.

Pressure in business should not be lonesome. At every stage there will be the support of highly talented teammates. In the sporting context, pulling everyone together onto the same page and pulling for the same cause, taking on the same pressure, is critical to success. The Smurfit MBA provides fertile ground for the individual to acquire the tools with which to succeed in this way. The focus on teamwork, pulling disparate styles and philosophies together and communicating at every stage is very similar to putting together a strong performance on the rugby pitch. Business can take a lot of the successes from sportspeople and learn significantly from them. ‘Pressure is Privilege’ should be just the beginning.

James Radmore – MBA Rugby Captain

FTMBA 2014

United Kingdom

UCD Smurfit MBA Rugby Defence is Up & Running for 2014.

There is a quote I often like to fall back on and whilst it originates from the sporting world, it is pertinent across all aspects of teamwork.  It comes from the man who is revered in NFL circles (especially those from Green Bay) – Vince Lombardi.  

One of the greatest sports coaches of all time, he  said ‘The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand’. Given that the UCD Smurfit rugby club is focused less on playing rugby and more on ensuring there is an opportunity to play the sport, this is apt.  With the not inconsiderable task of putting together a squad and ensuring we have the funds to travel to the US to defend the MBA Rugby World Cup, our small, dedicated and hard working committee has hit the fundraising road as early as possible.

On Tuesday 29th October, UCD Smurfit Rugby FC held what is hoped will be the first of many table quizzes in the Dark Horse on Carysfort Avenue. Whilst some of the question rounds proved trickier than hoped (maybe the rugby questions should’ve been easier…), the pub was buzzing with arguments about the second largest city in the EU, what the highest selling album of all time was and what is that obscure country that begins with a ‘D’.  With the division of labour across the committee and the opportunity to drive additional fundraising through selling questions and phone use, the rugby club committee was kept busy. With the kind support of the Dark Horse (MBA students can make time for the pub), it is hoped that there will be many more table quizzes during the year.

It was great to see some of our predecessors and other members of last year class come out and support this first event – we hope to see them more often! With all funds going towards ensuring that the club can attempt to defend the MBA Rugby World Cup in April, every little bit certainly does count.

With the hard work, dedication and determination shown at getting this first fundraiser put together and executed, there is no doubt that the UCD Smurfit rugby club will make a success of the task at hand.  With ongoing support from family and friends and growing interest in the club, future quizzes will promise to be even more competitive, so get your thinking caps on!

Keep an eye on the club’s website:

facebook page:

and twitter @ucdsmurfitrugby for news of the next event.

Jim Radmore, UCD Smurfit Rugby Football Club Chair 2013-14.

FT MBA 2014.

It’s time to take a ‘balcony’ moment.

As semester one reaches its half-way point for the FTMBA class, it’s an appropriate time to take stock and reflect on the last few weeks. As a portion of the class prepares to immerse themselves in a week long module at various locations across the globe, it’s time to take a ‘balcony’ moment. A mere four weeks ago, all the focus was very much on the academic workload: could the study group cope, what ‘tactics’, if any, were to be used to complete all the assignments and so on. Now, there are growing time pressures from elsewhere.

From a personal perspective, my wife has finally arrived back in Ireland after completing her contract in Chicago. That has a considerable impact on my time. From a more general point of view, club activity is starting to pick up. As I have found myself in a senior role within the Smurfit rugby club, there is a certain amount of pressure. Not for the feint of heart is the prospect of following up 11 MBA Rugby World Cup victories. Fortunately, we have an extremely capable committee and it has, so far, been a pleasure working with them all. It’s also a great opportunity to work more closely with members of the class who are not in my study group. The club activities are a great release (some may say excuse) from some of the academic rigours of the MBA.

Beyond the ‘on-campus’ goings on, the ultimate goal of getting gainful employment on graduation is starting to shift into focus. There has been an entrepreneur event in Google this week, which was a great exposition of the start-up landscape in Dublin. As a taste of what‘s to come, it was tantalising. The opportunity to get out and about and start networking is both exciting and daunting in equal measure.

Now, back to that Financial Reporting assignment…

Jim Radmore

FTMBA 2014

A Whirlwind start to the MBA

Sitting down to write this blog entry and reflect on the first 2 weeks of the Full Time MBA journey, it dawned on me that the time has flown past. It is not that long ago that I was packing myself up to move back to Dublin after 6 years away living in London and most recently, Chicago. It does, however, feel like a lifetime ago.

How the time has flown became pretty stark to me as I stepped away at the end of Foundation week to attend my brother’s wedding in Malibu. Whilst this may sound exotic, flying half way around the world for a weekend is not something I would recommend – particularly at the start of an MBA programme! However, on coming back into the class on Wednesday, having missed only (!) 2 days of classes, it quickly felt as if I had missed 2 months! So quickly does life move in Smurfit.

On a personal level, the quality of people in this year’s class seems extremely high and it is exciting to consider the amount I will learn off everyone else. It was especially enjoyable to attend the welcome dinner this past Friday evening and to celebrate a classmate’s birthday in style. I think it is vital for us all to, above all, have fun this year and Friday evening was a great start to the social side of the MBA. This small snippet has led to a fascinating start to the MBA journey (and this without mentioning the academic side of things!). Here’s to laughing along the way, keeping on top of the workload and, most of all, avoiding crying in the MBA office!

Jim Radmore – FTMBA 13/14