MBA Mentoring Programme 2014

Katharine Slattery, Director of Peer Mentoring Resources

This year Katharine Slattery, the Director of Peer Mentoring Resources was delighted to be involved in co-ordinating the inaugural MBA Mentoring Programme in conjunction with the MBA Careers Manager. Through this mentoring programme, the full-time MBA students were given the opportunity to meet with professionals who have completed the MBA and have the benefit of hindsight and experience in making the often-challenging transition to ‘real-world’ industry and entrepreneurship. Thirty-five MBA alumni volunteered to take on the role of a mentor for a full-time MBA student and mentors were matched with mentees who had common career interests and/or professional backgrounds. Mentors and mentees met initially in March, with further meetings taking place up until the end of the programme in July. Mentees were encouraged to set specific goals for the process, and both parties completed online reports after each mentoring meeting.

Formal feedback has been gathered from all participants, and some very positive reports on the programme from both mentees and mentors has been received including the following: ‘This is a truly excellent process…It is incredibly reassuring to know that there is somebody there, with your best interest in mind, to offer advice and support on a range of topics, but in particular on career progression.’ ‘I feel it offers a valuable source of support in negotiating the next step in my career. The mentor can provide advice or just act as a sounding board and understands the situation well.’ ‘My mentee has a positive outlook and has embraced the process and I think both of us have enjoyed the dialogue.’ Katherine really enjoyed working with MBA staff, students and alumni on this programme and would like to express her thanks to those involved for the energy, commitment and time that they have given to it.

Katharine Slattery is the Director of Peer Mentoring Resources, who provide consultancy, training and resources for organisations and businesses who wish to provide further support for their students or staff through the framework of a mentoring programme.

Brian Marrinan Receives Award from MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance!!

The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School has a commitment to highest quality throughout the organisation, from academic through to areas such as careers and alumni. We were delighted when this past week this was again recognised internationally when Brian Marrinan, who leads the Career Development & Skills Centre here at UCD Smurfit, was presented with an award from the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance (MBACSEA), the body which represents MBA employers and careers services around the world.

The award recognised the individual whom the organisation felt had made the biggest impact in the field globally for those new to the organisation in the previous three years.

Continue reading Brian Marrinan Receives Award from MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance!!

UCD Smurfit Careers office moves and expands

As part of the on-going commitment to ensuring success for our MBA students here at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, the Career Development and Skills team has grown and has moved to a new location.

The team now consists of four people: Cathy Savage, Dee Murphy, Cathy Harrison and Brian Marrinan.

Before joining the UCD Smurfit School 4 years ago, Cathy Savage had almost a decade of experience in the recruitment industry, hiring roles from graduates through to senior management. Cathy Harrison joined us in October from the financial services industry to work with both careers and alumni relations and is a friendly face welcome you when you come to visit. Dee Murphy joined the team in January and brings with her a wealth of experience in careers, organisational development and consulting. Finally, Brian Marrinan, who also has worked with Smurfit for over 4 years and has a background in investment banking, insurance, consulting and executive search sectors, will lead the new team in delivering the best service to our students, our corporate partners and the academic community.

As part of this process, the Smurfit Career Development & Skills office have moved to a dedicated centre, ensuring a collaborative and engaging space for you to work with us on your career.

We look forward to seeing you here!

Brian Marrinan

Brian Marrinan, Dee Murphy and Cathy Savage chilling in their new office, photographer Cathy Harrison

Meet the team at

Changing roles and the EMBA

One of the basic assumptions in undertaking an executive MBA is that you will have the time required to complete it. I have found the most difficult element of the executive programme is to find the balance between work, study and life. Ideally your role or job is stable, consistent in its demands and allows you the time required for the MBA. Unfortunately this is not always the case.

What happens if you do change role and work takes over? It is possible to survive the change and the additional workload. It does mean that some reprioritisation needs to be done. I had to re-prioritise this semester due to a new challenging role with a lot of travel. Some of the changes that may need to be made are:

·          Devote less time to the MBA, focusing on the core readings and learnings.

·          Prioritise assignments as early as possible, breaking down the work into as small components as possible. This makes it easier to keep chipping away at things.

·          Fit in work where possible, I use flights to get through some of the weeks reading, I have downloaded the ebook versions of our text books in order to have access to them all the time.

If Semester 1 was about teams and learning to balance work, life and the MBA, Semester 2 is about survival. We have 10 of the 12 weeks completed. Everyone is focused on the end of semester, motivating ourselves in whatever way possible. Despite the increasing levels of tiredness in the class, the banter is still alive and well. I enjoy the classes on Fridays and Saturdays, we have a great group of people in the class that keep each session interesting and engaging. If nothing else, the class provides a brief escape from the stresses of the week in work.

Brian Shields

EMBA Weekend Year 1

Image MBA scholarship and the Women of the UCD Smurfit MBA

Image evening 25th March, Brian and the panel doing their thing

On Wednesday 25th the UCD Smurfit School hosted the official launch of our annual Image Scholarship with an open evening in our ‘Women on the MBA’ series. We and Image are very keen to increase the numbers of women undertaking our programme because while there are increasing numbers we still don’t think there are nearly enough. Brian Marrinan, MBA Careers (who confessed to feeling outnumbered) did a short presentation on what the MBA careers services does to help students move to the next level and he then moderated a panel of current students and alumni who gave the benefit of their experience as women of the Smurfit MBA. It was a really interesting discussion with good insights and could have gone of far longer if time had allowed.

Many thanks to all who attended and to our panelists Catherine Butler (current EMBA class), Aoife Lucey (current full-time class), Paula Thomas (class of 2010) and Fionnula Croke (class of 2002).

The Image Scholarship is a scholarship to encourage women to undertake the MBA and is open until April 30th details are at

Ireland – Realising the Potential

The CV book launch event, “Ireland – Realising the Potential,” was a beautiful evening that provided an opportunity to meet alumni and expand networks to people from varied companies. The evening was prepared far in advance by student representatives and the MBA Careers team, who contacted and invited many companies to attend. This was a special time for MBA students on the full-time and executive programmes to get together and meet guests from prestigious companies.

The evening began with a cocktail hour before welcoming two Smurfit MBA alumni speakers, Julie O’Neill and Fintan Slye, who gave accounts of their professional life leading up to becoming senior leaders in the pharmaceutical and energy sectors. By listening to them, we realized the extent of the opportunities available after an MBA. The speakers provided strong messages about passion, independence of thinking, and finding courage in his/her convictions, which are the characteristics of a leader who unites people in business. These human values ​​derive business as well as innovation, entrepreneurship, performance, incentive, investment and infrastructure development.

Listening to them, we found there are a number of routes available to each of us.
The evening continued with Dean Ciaran O’hogartaigh providing a strong message to keep, maintain and build this special link with other students who are future alumni, with the school and companies.

The evening ended with the distribution of the 2014 CV Book, the resume synthesis of the Smurfit Business School’s MBA cohort which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Everyone met afterword around a friendly nightcap.

As the Dean said: “Stay connected, Stay plugged in.”

Erwan Le Pavec

Full-time MBA 2014