Well here we are in December. Where has the time gone? It seems like it was only yesterday that I was walking into orientation wondering what exactly I had gotten myself into. Now I have fully immersed myself in the Full time MBA and the opportunities that come with it.
The most fun I have had thus far has been with the Rugby Club. I have met so many wonderful people through the connections I have made within the club. When I took over the club as President in September I was worried that nothing would get done because I would be the only FT MBA actively in the club and had no clue how it would work with bringing in MSc students to fill in the rest. The previous boards had full involvement from the MBA class so it was unnerving to change that. However the MSc students that have stepped up to take part have been a great asset to the club.
The previous year had done a great job with setting up a dinner to fundraise for the world cup trip, but since I did not have any connections with hotels or pubs I decided to go with the connections I was making and choose a fun event. This year the rugby club will be hosting a Networking and Rugby event on Friday, February 6th from 6 to 9 pm at Old Wesley Rugby Football Club and the Donnybrook Rugby Pitches. There will be food, drinks, prizes and of course rugby. We have invited local graduate schools and businesses to put teams in the tournament and have started inviting business professionals from all over Ireland. The hope is that we will have 1500 people attend the event to grow networks and help Smurfit Rugby attend the World Cup this April.
The event has been lots of fun to organize and from it I have meet so many wonderful people. I have even been fortunate enough to meet the minister for sport when I was invited to attend the grand opening of the Donnybrook pitches in November. The planning of this event has gotten me working directly with Leinster Rugby and from that I have been able to gain the honor of working with the RDS Match Day team in February for a Leinster Rugby match. These have all been opportunities I would have never gained if I was not leading the rugby club this year. It truly has been a blessing.
As exams near and I take a fortnight reprieve from rugby for my exams I just would like to ask anyone who reads this blog to mark their calendars for February 6th for our Networking event. Please head over to ucdsmurfitrugbyfc.ie or follow UCD Smurfit Rugby FC on Facebook or Twitter to get updates on the event and find out how to order tickets. You can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your tickets. With the help of you and everyone else who has ties to UCD Smurfit we can make this a fun annual event for years to come.
Merry Christmas from the Smurfit MBA Rugby FC Family to yours.
Full-time MBA Class
The first days of the MBA are a whirlwind. Smurfit School staff and former MBA’s go to great lengths to impress upon you what a huge draw on time the MBA is going to be. There are lectures, assignments, leadership development activities, extracurricular events, networking opportunities and endless readings. They also tell you that you should also spend some time on your job and with your family, but this is optional.
The words “class” and “rep” are mentioned somewhere in the middle of this whirlwind. With everything else that is thrown at you in these first days, anything else could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. When the time comes to choose class rep arrives, everyone is very wary that this could be that straw. However, in a moment of clarity, I put myself forward to represent the weekend class. Upon reflection, this turned out to be one of my better decisions.
In a year where networking is so important, the class rep role gave me the opportunity to engage with my class mates more frequently, put the class perspective forward to lecturers and get insights from the second year exec class that I definitely would not have had the chance to do otherwise. As the intermediary between the class and faculty, the class rep role allowed me get a feel for the pulse of the entire class and aspects of modules that maybe at first were not apparent to me.
Class reps are offered first refusal to attend events at various points throughout the year. Examples of this were the Michael Smurfit Book Launch & the UCD Smurfit School Business Journalist Awards. These are excellent opportunities to network and a welcome break to the list of readings and submissions. They help highlight why we sign up for the MBA in the first place and give focus on the end goal.
Networking opportunities and engagement with class and faculty are great, but one benefit of being class rep outshines the rest. Class reps decide where we get to have the post exam party!
Far from being the straw that broke the camel’s back, I found the class rep experience to be extremely rewarding and actually helped me with the academic side of the MBA. I am glad I stuck my head above the parapet in that first week and recommend future Smurfit MBA’s to also.
EMBA Weekend year 2
You run into one brick wall and you’re labelled for life. Such has been my experience driving in Ireland. Let’s get one thing clear: the whole steering wheel on the right, driving on the left thing still freaks me out. It’s seems unnatural and (yes I’ll say it) a little unwholesome too. Caution – Puritanical, American judgement at work.
So for the time being I’m content getting lifts from other people and letting them worry about the driving. It’s probably for the best though. One time in high school I got lost on the way home and ended up twenty miles from my house. Oops.
When it comes to my career however, I’m not so keen to let others do the driving. That’s part of my reason for doing this programme in the first place. I didn’t want to feel like a casual, passive observer of my own life anymore. Instead of floating along and muddling through I wanted an active role in where my career was heading.
I started asking myself if the path I was on was really where I belonged. Just asking the question feels a bit daunting. Should I be questioning myself? Isn’t it safer to stay where you are? For me the answer was yes to both. It’s the next set of questions that led me to where I am now. The questions and answers are different for everyone. My answers told me it was time to make a change in an active way because I wasn’t satisfied with my complacency.
There is still much work to be done. I don’t have a clear route yet in my career journey but I have the map* out and I’m trying to plot a course. Google Maps does not exist for this trip. I have to do it the old fashioned way. Surely there will be unexpected detours along the way but I’m driving myself and enjoying the ride.
*For anyone younger than 25 reading this: a map used to be a depiction of the world on paper. Paper was a material made from trees that was used for writing or drawing. And writing was a method of communication pre-dating typing and texting.
Full-time MBA 2014