Inaugural Mwangi MBA Scholarship – A great opportunity for women from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania

The Mwangi scholarship which is being offered for the first time this year has been named as a mark of solidarity with the people of Kenya, and  in memory of  Mbugua Mwangi and his fiancée Rosemary Wahito who were tragically killed in the Westgate attack in Nairobi in September 2013.   Mbugua Mwangi was the only son of Ireland’s former Ambassador of Kenya, Ms Catherine Mwangi.  The Scholarship is in conjunction with the Irish Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs.

This scholarship is a great opportunity for female African citizens from Kenya, Uganda or Tanzania to apply for a full scholarship and stipend for the UCD Smurfit MBA for the upcoming academic year 2014-15.  The closing date is April 15th and further details and application  procedure and eligibility criteria are available at

We particularly encourage applications from public sector, ethnic minorities, people with disability and other marginalised groups. In exceptional cases, work experience may compensate for academic experience. This scholarship is intended to support candidates who would otherwise be unable to access overseas postgraduate opportunities.

If you are interested and eligible we encourage an application and if you aren’t but know anyone who is please let them know this opportunity is out there waiting to be won.

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

Tips From a 1st Year Executive MBA

Living on a dairy farm in Kerry with my husband and our three children may be miles away from the MBA, yet the MBA has been a great experience and I have really enjoyed the course.

Based on my experience, here are some tips for those undertaking an MBA to make life run more smoothly:

  1. Avoid reading ‘Snapshots from Hell’ by Peter Robinson. It is a moany account of a man doing a full time MBA in the US – I struggled to find one meaningful snippet in the entire soliloquy. If you want a taste of the course speak to a current students or read any of the posts in this blog.
  2. Buy a slow cooker. Prepare vegetables and meat in the morning. Peg them into it and leave for approximately eight hours. Lovely dinner with minimal effort.
  3. Keep hubby/partner happy. Have a ‘date night’ each week.  This is hard to fit in amongst all the other commitments but when you asked you husband/partner to support you on this mad endeavour I don’t think either of you realised the time commitment involved.
  4. Don’t bring a copy of the latest strategy case report to bed (not so conducive to point three).
  5. Do not introduce your au pair to your brother. When they fall in love and move in together it is not helpful.
  6. Reserve Sunday for family time – take the kids swimming, go out for lunch, read the paper, enjoy a little bit of normal life and do not do any course work.
  7. Don’t moan about the work load. Nobody wants to listen to it. Everyone has obligations and commitments. Yours aren’t more important. If you fancy a moan-fest refer to point one.

To put it all in perspective on a recent play date I overheard one of my daughter’s friends boasting that her mother was taking her to Eurodisney. My daughter (not to be outdone) promptly replied that her mommy was training to be a smurf!

Catherine O Leary

EMBA 2015


We need more women leaders

I would like to dedicate this post to all the women who believe in themselves and enrich themselves, including my dear classmates in UCD Smurfit Business School.

We need more women to step up to the forefront because despite the hullaballoo, men are still dominating the leadership spheres of both for profit and not-for profit organizations as well as communities, nations and countries.

But why is so important for us to have women leaders?

And no, it’s not about men being better than women, or women being better than men. It’s about working together, in synergy, using our strengths to make a better world.

When thinking of the role of women, I am reminded of the story of Mary, the blessed mother of Jesus, peace be upon him, whom I have named my daughter after. Despite the double standards and persecution that religious groups have put on women for the past centuries, Mary, may God bless her more, is probably the epitome of a woman’s great contribution to humanity.

Her parents, when she was still in the womb, decided to dedicate her to the service of God. In their mind, they had imagined dedicating a little boy in the service of God. Of course at that time, there was no way for Mary’s parents to know that she was a girl until she was born. As Mary’s mother delivered the small baby, she was in for a surprise because in her hands was a baby girl! “O Lord, it is a girl!”

How could she devote a girl to the service of God? Would that even be thinkable? Doable? Nobody had ever done it before! Only boys are great leaders and spend their lives in God’s service! Yet because of her earlier promise, that she would dedicate her child to the service of her Lord, she did just that.

And that message from years ago is still valid today, that whoever we are, if we’ve made a commitment to succeed, whether we are a man or a woman, we can all be valuable contributors to improve and change the world.

Nur Zahirah M Sukran

– Nur Zahirah M Sukran, FT MBA 2012/13

The Symbol of the Table

The Symbol of the Table
Women of the MBA 2011: (Left to Right)- Nargiza Kalmamatova (Kyrgyzstan), Blonde Beauchamp (Boston/Haiti), Yvette Grave (Germany), Anh Pham (Vietnam), Lindsey Keefe (Boston), Gemma Ginty (Ireland), Megan Molloy (Washington), Megan Hayward (New York), Amneet Jhiete (India), Toan Do (Vietnam). There in spirit, Diana Vincent (India), Tham Nguyen (Vietnam) and Barbara O’Beirne (Ireland).

As part of the MBA we did a course in Negotiations where we learned about expanding the pie and creating ‘win win’ situations. As a final gesture towards the meeting of minds and cultures, the MBA women of 2011 translated this idea into the ritual of creating a dish and sharing it together at the table.

Thirteen may be considered unlucky, but in this context we are thirteen extremely skilled and confident women who have just qualified with an MBA. We certainly feel lucky to be in this position and with the world at our fingertips.

For us, this small but unique microcosm represents the world and it’s differences. The table acts as a common ground no matter what our religions or nationalities. For each of us, the act and art of making food gave us an opportunity to represent who we are and where we’ve come from and we did this with pride. Our menu ranged from Vietnamese fried spring rolls and chicken fried rice, Kyrgyz beef noodle, American brie in pastry and macaroni cheese, German potato salad, Haitian Curry, and Irish apple tart.

The ‘table’ represents the symbol of engaged exchange. In the future we will gather around different tables dotted around the world developing strategies, designing products, managing teams and deciding our own future. Although we will be in different contexts, we will continue to bring the same enthusiasm and creativity to our future challenges as we brought to this table.

As a unique group of Smurfit MBA graduates, we recognise our differences but also realise our future experiences will be similar, dealing with the challenges as young woman in business. These will range from our family expectations, stereotyping of our roles, how we fall in love and how we fulfil our dreams. We will also need to balance how society dictates how we should live, how we should behave, what our remuneration should be as business women, and how we will cope with raising children and doing the work that drives us to be successful.

We have promised each other we will meet again at another table in ten years’ time. But before we re-unite with our stories of work and life, it would be great to keep the idea of the metaphysical table intact, where we could advise and support each other as we meet our individual challenges. As we look to the future we hope to bring the same enthusiasm and engagement to our future tables, as we brought to sharing this last meal together as Smurfit 2011 MBA students.

-Gemma Ginty, FT MBA 2010-2011