On Tuesday, the Smurfit Social Outreach Society welcomed Bizworld, a local charitable foundation, to our campus in Blackrock for a Primary School Showcase. Our guests included 35 sixth class children as well as teachers from three local schools (Our Lady’s Grove, Goatstown; Scoil Mhuire, Shankill; Harold Boys NS, Dalkey), BizWorld staff including CEO Fiona McKeon, Don, cathoirleach of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Barry Saul, a television crew from Irish TV, and members of the UCD Smurfit community.
The children made up seven teams of 4-5 and they used this opportunity to showcase their learnings from the BizWorld programme. BizWorld holds two-day sessions in which students create business ideas and learn about topics from teamwork to finance. They pitch their businesses to MBA students like ourselves who act as “Dragons in the Den,” developing communication skills and confidence in the process. At this event, we invited Smurfit lecturers Brian McGrath, Virginia Stewart, Christoph Dreschler, and Bruce Martin to ask questions to the students and offer advice.
The event started with an address by UCD- Bizworld coordinator Kamala Sadanand welcoming everyone for the morning. I then followed and spoke for a few minutes sharing my experiences with Bizworld and what I have learned from the children. After these brief words, the adults in the room walked around to each table, learning about the different business ideas which ranged from a zoo app that allows people to watch animals around the world to a taxi service in which riders can replace traditional taxi rides and enjoy a trip in a Bugatti while sipping chocolate milk and playing video games.
Each group then presented its business ideas to the room, expertly communicating ideas, sharing responsibility, and fielding questions from lecturers, students, and each other. We then had a few minutes in which the students sold goodies like baked items and handmade bookmarks in exchange for currency with which to invest their business, known as “biz bucks.” When buying slowed with adults fatiguing of sugar, the students worked the room, lowered prices, and attempted to make more sales. They impressed us!
Finally, Barry Saul from Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council address the room, surveying the students about key learnings. The main takeaway from the groups was how much they learned about teamwork and working with one another. Mr. Saul presented certificates for each of the students to honour their participation in the programme and also to the MBA dragons who participate in the workshops across schools in Dublin Irish TV, a channel that broadcasts on local networks and internationally, was on hand covering the day. In the end, we all gathered for photos and cheers.
Participation in the Social Outreach Society has been such a great way for Smurfit students to learn about business in contexts outside of the classroom. We enjoy the BizWorld programme because it reminds us of some of the ways in which participating in business can develop communities and inspire people. Also, we can relate to the kids who say that they learned the most about teamwork and grew through that because we have experienced the same thing in the MBA. I’m sure some of the talented students we saw on Tuesday will find themselves excelling in UCD Smurfit classrooms in the future, no doubt with BizWorld experiences in mind.
Find out more about the Smurfit MBA here
Elsa Heffernan ~ Full-Time MBA