The value of an MBA is in the opportunities you create

Most people start their MBA journey with the aim of either starting their own business or changing careers. Smurfit business school provides fantastic resources to support its participants in achieving these goals through its Careers Office, Leadership Development Programme and Entrepreneurs Club.

The reality is that starting a business or changing careers is a time-consuming process –something that is extremely difficult to come by during an MBA programme!

A common mistake of MBA students is spending too much time with their “heads in the books” and not enough time leveraging the resources and networking opportunities provided by Smurfit Business School.

Therefore, my advice to my classmates as we embark on year 2 of our programme (and also to incoming MBA students) is to keep your head up and embrace all opportunities that present themselves while completing your MBA.

These opportunities will not fall into your lap – you have to get out of your comfort zone and make things happen. The best way to approach this is by attending and participating in as many events as possible (and there’s literally one on every other week).

We need look no further than the success of recent MBA’s graduates Ian Nolan and Ciara O’Brien to see the opportunities available through the Smurfit MBA programme.

Michael O’Dwyer (2nd Year EMBA)

Looking Forward to Looking Back

With a new year upon us, I’ve been reflecting on the highs and lows of 2013 which included completing my first semester of the mid-week Executive MBA (EMBA).  Given that I questioned my sanity on a number of occasions during semester 1, I am pleased to say that the EMBA was close to the top of my list of highs.

In my experience, maintaining a sensible balance between study, work, and a personal life was the largest challenge of the past 3 months. Be it lectures, readings, assignments, team meetings or guest speakers, the MBA can consume all of your time! In the case of the MBA, the old saying of “you get out what you put in” is certainly true, however the ability to prioritise and effectively manage your time is key.

Aside from the academic benefits of an MBA program, some personal highlights to date have been:

  • Attending an entrepreneurship club event which had a number of guest speakers from Irish start-ups
  • Participation and insight gained in class group presentations
  • Attending a series of guest speaker panels organised by a group of MBA alums, with a particular highlight being the visit of Des Traynor of Intercom.
  • The Leadership Development Programme events

Above all, the essence of the MBA program is the people (legends) you meet, be it team mates, classmates or those in the alumni network.  In just 3 months, the MBA has provided numerous opportunities to meet and work with exceptionally talented people. As a group, the midweek class has learned a great deal outside of academics, such as:

  • Tina is an awesome electric guitarist.
  • Not all pharmacists are boring!
  • Tullow Oil is the greatest company to work for in the history of the world, ever.
  • Frankie works in a bank.

So as we embark on semester 2 in just over a weeks’ time, where we will have new teams and no doubt new challenges, three pieces of advice I have are:

  • Manage your time & work hard but make sure to maintain a work/study/life balance
  • Attend as many extra-curricular MBA events as possible (and in particular the monthly guest speakers organised by Joe Kenny)
  • And, most of all, enjoy yourselves!

Over and Out

Michael O’Dwyer

Midweek EMBA 2015