The Professor Michael MacCormac Room, or more popularly known as the MBA suite, is considered by some, if not all MBA students as their second home inside the Smurfit School. Accessed by a secret code, the suite has been a constant hangout spot for the 2018 full-time MBA class for the past few months.
However, if you expect a room full of students quietly drowning their minds in homework and books, you are sorely mistaken. In fact, if you want some quiet study time for yourself, this is the last place you would want to be. The MBA Suite is the common gathering area for study group meetings, club discussions and on rare occasions, 5-day pre-examination revision bootcamps.
More importantly, the MBA suite is a place where you can unwind when the pressures of academic life and unknown future job prospects get you down. Stocked with full kitchen equipment, the suite is where everyone catches up over pre-packed lunches or a cup of coffee. No one stays silent for too long as people would constantly arrive and start a conversation.
I’m grateful to have cohorts who are willing to share their thoughts and experiences and to have a place to hold these exchanges. Looking back at the past five months, I found that the best conversations I’ve had with my classmates happened here. It’s great to know that there’s a place where one can relax and have fun with people who are as stressed out as you are. If your colleagues are laughing in the MBA suite, it’s a good reason to kick back and not stress out too much over academics.
Joanna Villanueva, Full Time MBA 2017-2018
I find myself in week four of the second semester of my 1-year full-time MBA. The weeks just fly by and one week does not resemble the next. With three electives on top of my core modules, I run from one thing to the next: I jump on a video conference with our Yale counterparts to manage a virtual plant as part of our Supply Chain module; try to negotiate a good deal to buy a new biotech manufacturing site in my negotiations elective; am torn between Friedman and Mackey on the purpose of business in my Business Ethics class; come up with a business model for a new venture in Entrepreneurship; juggle fixed, variable, direct and indirect costs in Management Accounting; create a ‘Elena 2030’ vision with my executive coach; take a breath and literally run to the next thing.
And yet, there is a comforting constant in the hectic MBA week. Every day, at 1.30pm on the dot, the door to the MBA room opens and ten very excited (mostly male) MBA students cannot wait for the highlight of their day: the sandwich and soup deal from the Deli around the corner. I have to admit that I do sometimes join in because you cannot beat a good sandwich for lunch – may my sourdough-loving German ancestors forgive me. The comforting thing about it is, however, not so much the sandwich itself (and the obligatory basil and tomato soup), it is the fact that no matter if you buy a sandwich, bring your own lunch or just enjoy a coffee after eating in the cafeteria – every day you get to spend a peaceful 30 minutes in the MBA room with a mix of interesting, genuinely nice people who always have a good story to tell.
An MBA is an intense experience and it is a tough and sometimes scary decision to leave a great job to go back to being a full-time student for a year. Building on what Cathal wrote in his blog entry below (check it out, well worth reading!), what makes this year a lot easier and very enjoyable is the people you get to spend it with. In Germany we say ‘geteilte Freude ist doppelte Freude, geteilter Schmerz ist halber Schmerz’, which translates to ‘shared joy is double joy, shared sorrow is halved sorrow’. This definitely applies to an MBA. To make it a little less dramatic, let’s replace sorrow with stress. Sharing this experience with a great group of people is definitely double the fun and half the stress!
Elena Nock ~ Full-Time MBA
It’s the middle of winter here in Ireland, there was snow in the Wicklow Mountains last weekend and we are four weeks into the second semester of our MBA. Perfect timing for a class event! Brining a bit of American influence, a class potluck was organized. It was a great break away from the hectic schedule of our core courses, varying electives this semester and ongoing career sessions.
The MBA helps reinforce that you should not make assumptions; when organizing this event I took for granted that everyone would know what a Potluck is (rookie mistake!). For those of you reading that don’t know what it is, a potluck is a common American-style gathering where everyone brining a different type of dish: warm or cold, appetizer main or dessert dish. After a few explanations to fellow classmates, it went off without a hitch.
Having such a diverse group we had an amazing mix of dishes from around the world, dishes included: Indian Egg curry, Mexican Guacamole, Irish Stew, Saudi Kabsa, Vietnamese Spring Rolls and Indian Pav Bhaji to name a few. The pictures don’t do these food justice!
Building on learnings we have surrounding high performance teams, the fundamental building block is climate and tasks will be accomplished more successfully if you have a good team climate. Taking the time to spend together gets us away from the tasks, the assignments and upcoming deadlines. Instead, a small break in the middle of the week brings us back to spending enjoyable time together, sharing our food, our cultures and our stories. As a class and group of friends that often work together in class, on projects, on case studies and in clubs, it’s important to take the time out to enjoy each other’s company every once in a while.
Carley Wasechek ~ Full-Time MBA