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UCD Smurfit MBA Blog

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UCD Smurfit MBA Blog  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Oct 2019, 23:56
A blog feed to provide an Inside Perspective of Smurfit MBA.
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Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Oct 2019, 00:03
FROM Smurfit MBA Blog: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue
These are the four objects that a bride is traditionally supposed to carry on her wedding day to bring good luck. Whilst an MBA is not yet considered one of the seven sacraments, the lucky 31 entrants to this year’s full-time programme certainly felt some wedding style jitters as they took the obligatory selfie by the front doors on the first day “back to school.” This was a solemn commitment that we were making for better or worse until August 2020 do us part.

Stretching the analogy, a bit further:

Something old   – It has been a number of years since most classmates left full time studies. The first couple of weeks saw the muscle memories slowly return – mounting assignments, stacks of readings and missed deadlines all came flooding back. From a personal point of view the greatest difference between the MBA and previous studies was quickly revealed as a focus and reliance on group work – more in tune with real world. As a result, I can now look forward to the fact that I won’t be consuming the €70 of fresher’s week Supermacs vouchers in isolation.

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                                                         Foundation Week with Orangeworks

Something new – in a wedding sense, this refers to optimism for the future and is apt to the MBA programme. Very quickly during the ice-breaking sessions of Foundation week, we found that there was a huge spread of skills and backgrounds throughout the class. Interesting people with interesting backgrounds. This was a key draw to the programme from a personal point of view and is a unique opportunity to work across cultures and disciplines.  Group think isn’t an option when the group is comprised of such a spread of folks.

Something borrowed – this symbolises borrowed happiness – whilst perhaps too romantic a notion to place on course material such as “Financial Reporting”, it does capture that as full-time students we’ve hit pause on careers to sit back and take stock with the goal of being unleashed in 12 months wiser, more efficient and more impactful.

Something blue – this can only refer to Dublin. 5-in-a-row Dublin as our international classmates quickly learned in Coppers. For close on 50% of the class, this is the first time to immerse themselves in one of the great cities of Europe. A city that has given Joyce & Guinness to the world.  As we learned during Business economics it also gave the double Irish tax treatment to the world prompting the ire of a multiple of acronyms including CCTB and BEPS.

Unlike most great weddings, our reception was held in Bray Bowling alley and it was a BYOB affair. Chat and warm beer were flowing in equal measures and it was clear that the initial goals of the program had been achieved. A disparate group had bonded and was looking forward to the year ahead. The honeymoon is over and the feared MBA stone is on the horizon.

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                                                                                                 Class Night Out 

Martin Naughton, FT MBA 19-20

 
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Presentation Skills Session with Paul A. Slattery & the Team  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Oct 2019, 00:03
FROM Smurfit MBA Blog: Presentation Skills Session with Paul A. Slattery & the Team
“Omne Trium Perfectum’

This is the rule of three, which states that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying or effective than other numbers.

For example;

  • 1 second pause during the presentation speech helps the audience to hear,
  • 2 second pause helps them to process, and
  • 3 second pause helps them to feel
And remember, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”

  • With 1 second eye contact, they know
  • With 2 second eye contact, they see
  • And with 3 second eye contact, they feel
Any eye contact of more than 3 seconds becomes a stare and gets creepy.. :-P

That’s one of the many lessons we learned from our session with the presentation skills team which includes three members Paul A. Slattery, Marie Lord and Ilaria Dondero

The team is led by Paul, who is the Founder & Managing Director of NxtGEN and an adjunct lecturer of the MBA leadership development program at UCD Michael Smurfit Business School.

I am sure some people would agree that it is a difficult task attending lectures from 9 AM to 6 PM, let’s not even talk about attending a single lecture for 9 hours. We had such a session with this team on 18th of September 2019.

But the time flew like a falcon and the session was over before we knew it. Various tricks used by the team during the presentation kept everyone at the edge of their seats and energetic during the whole session, like repeating sayings and famous quotes together as one group and several mindfulness exercises, such as, sitting on the edge of the seat and deep breathing, pattern claps, stand and celebrate like you just won the race of a lifetime etc.

This one-day session had a massive impact on all of us as we improved in different aspects. The whole session went by in a flash and at the end of it we were looking for even more. I guess Paul was completely drained  from the day though as we had to carry him on our back for the group photo.

…..And I would not blame him. After all, it’s not an easy task moulding half-baked pots.

Image

Lalit Saini, Full Time MBA 2019-2020 
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Whack-A-Mole  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Oct 2019, 03:03
FROM Smurfit MBA Blog: Whack-A-Mole
I remember saying to one of my classmates on the Tuesday of the second week “I can’t believe that I’ve only known you for eight days!”. Many of the MBA graduates I had spoken to before I started in August had told me about the close bonds formed with MBA classmates, but the speed at which it happened still took me by surprise. We’re into our sixth week now and we laugh and joke with each other like childhood friends.

But the introductory weeks are well and truly over now and while we’ve settled into our study groups, I’m starting to realise that the MBA is like a year-long game of whack-a-mole, but with projects, exams and adventures instead of moles. The GNAM week is just one week away, our first exams loom the following week and master plans for the MBA clubs are firing left and right.

GNAM will see our class disperse to universities across the world, attending one-week courses in fellow Global Network business schools. I’m delighted to be going to Berkeley, while classmates are heading to destinations including Yale, Shanghai, Berlin and Madrid. Though I don’t think I’ll be alone in bringing my books along for financial reporting and economics in preparation for our exams in the following week! The MBA clubs are off to a flying start and plans are afoot for events from golf to rugby to entrepreneurship talks.

There is so much opportunity in the MBA programme and even now, just six weeks in, while there’s no doubt that the marathon has well and truly begun and sleep is a distant memory, the prospect of learning so much, with so many wonderful people over the next 11 months is an exciting prospect.

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Grace Bergin, Full Time MBA 19-20

 
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Oct 2019, 02:02
FROM Smurfit MBA Blog:
Moving to another country isn’t easy. Even if you speak the language, there’s a new city and culture to learn as you leave your old life behind. You’ll get a room but it won’t be home, not yet. No art on the walls, no books you’ve had forever, a different view out the window. Now, moving is exciting, don’t get me wrong! Everyone talks about the fun parts or the big challenges (visa, housing, etc), but it can be stressful in 1000 little ways.

In case it wasn’t clear, I moved to Dublin for the Smurfit MBA – in fact, I had never been to Ireland! Oh, I’d travelled before, but I was still nervous even with my friends promising I’d love it (they were right, btw). I wasn’t dealing with a language barrier (more or less, good luck pronouncing Irish place names), but everything else was totally new. And it was exciting! It’s something I wanted to do since I was a kid, but it’s also much easier said than done.

Image
Welcome to Ireland, have some rain

Anxiety kicked in even before I moved, and the best solution I’ve found is to make a plan and make it detailed. If you don’t know something, look it up! Absolutely reach out to the Smurfit admissions/international office, but don’t forget other sources of information. Someone’s moved from your country to Ireland, is there a forum post on it? Check out your State Department’s website or your local Irish Consulate, especially for esoteric questions! Maybe your doctor can help with meds/vaccination/etc planning. Have previous students dealt with your issues before? Is there stuff to eat here that fits your diet? Are there accommodations for your disability? Will you fit in and be accepted, especially if you’re not a majority demographic? And on and on.

The benefit of planning is that when (not if!) the unexpected happens, you’ll already have knowledge and resources you can draw on. But I won’t lie, it can be overwhelming at times, and it’s that overwhelming I want to help you with.

Image

You said it, random Dublin trashcanhttp://smurfitschoolblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/QB-Pic-3.jpg

I don’t know your situation, but I can tell you this: if you’re moving to another country, by yourself, to spend a year with 30 other students, be busy as all hell, and face the job market on the other side, you are officially a badass. And, since badasses can hear hard truths, I’ll say this: you won’t survive on willpower alone.

An MBA in another country is a stressful, busy, hectic, and anxiety-inducing endeavour as much as it is a fun, exciting, amazing, and novel one! When everything is crazy, PLEASE remember to take care of yourself. You cannot face the day on an empty stomach, with little sleep, if you’re off your meds, skipping exercise, ignoring your routine, or any other way you practice self care.

Image

Team brunch is self care, right?

If you are someone who loves people, do not make the mistake I did and stay in your room all week before classes – get out, go downtown, go walk around a park! It’ll likely be summer when you get here, take advantage while it lasts! You don’t even have to talk to anyone, being around other people will lift your spirits. If you recharge away from people, take the time to get your room just the way you like it – put that art on the wall, get a duvet that’s extra comfy, rearrange your room, and afterwards go for a quiet walk somewhere green. While you build your support network here, don’t forget everyone back home who said they’d help you out. Yeah, there will likely be some serious time differences, but that’s the beauty of texting or snapchat: people can catch up anytime! Asking someone to talk if you’re feeling down isn’t weakness, it’s strength. <3

Above all, don’t forget – you’re in a new place and isn’t it awesome?? Why not find ways to make the most of it! Miss your pet? Maybe there’s a dog park or cat cafe around. Miss someone’s home cooking? I’m sure there’s a hole-in-the-wall family restaurant just waiting for you to sit down and chat with the server over something delicious. Bummed out by the grey weather? Make a point to get outside, even if just for a bit, every day – the sun still shines through the clouds (PS: if you’re not used to dark grey winters, get yourself a full-spectrum lamp. “Seasonal Affective Disorder” is real).

Image

     After the storm you get rainbows – cliche, but true (seen after hurricane lorenzo)

I’ve only been here 2 months and already this program is a roller coaster. I’ve been happy, I’ve been stressed, I’ve stayed in my room eating pizza and I’ve gone out and found a new bar with new friends in old rain. But that’s the whole point, isn’t it? We don’t ride roller coasters because they’re tame, we ride them because fear turns into exhilaration and fun.

Image

We’re cheering you on, you got this <3

QB Quinones-Bangs, Full-Time MBA 2019 – 2020
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Taking Care of Yourself  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Oct 2019, 02:02
FROM Smurfit MBA Blog: Taking Care of Yourself
Moving to another country isn’t easy. Even if you speak the language, there’s a new city and culture to learn as you leave your old life behind. You’ll get a room but it won’t be home, not yet. No art on the walls, no books you’ve had forever, a different view out the window. Now, moving is exciting, don’t get me wrong! Everyone talks about the fun parts or the big challenges (visa, housing, etc), but it can be stressful in 1000 little ways.

In case it wasn’t clear, I moved to Dublin for the Smurfit MBA – in fact, I had never been to Ireland! Oh, I’d travelled before, but I was still nervous even with my friends promising I’d love it (they were right, btw). I wasn’t dealing with a language barrier (more or less, good luck pronouncing Irish place names), but everything else was totally new. And it was exciting! It’s something I wanted to do since I was a kid, but it’s also much easier said than done.

Image
Welcome to Ireland, have some rain

Anxiety kicked in even before I moved, and the best solution I’ve found is to make a plan and make it detailed. If you don’t know something, look it up! Absolutely reach out to the Smurfit admissions/international office, but don’t forget other sources of information. Someone’s moved from your country to Ireland, is there a forum post on it? Check out your State Department’s website or your local Irish Consulate, especially for esoteric questions! Maybe your doctor can help with meds/vaccination/etc planning. Have previous students dealt with your issues before? Is there stuff to eat here that fits your diet? Are there accommodations for your disability? Will you fit in and be accepted, especially if you’re not a majority demographic? And on and on.

The benefit of planning is that when (not if!) the unexpected happens, you’ll already have knowledge and resources you can draw on. But I won’t lie, it can be overwhelming at times, and it’s that overwhelming I want to help you with.

Image

You said it, random Dublin trashcanhttp://smurfitschoolblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/QB-Pic-3.jpg

I don’t know your situation, but I can tell you this: if you’re moving to another country, by yourself, to spend a year with 30 other students, be busy as all hell, and face the job market on the other side, you are officially a badass. And, since badasses can hear hard truths, I’ll say this: you won’t survive on willpower alone.

An MBA in another country is a stressful, busy, hectic, and anxiety-inducing endeavour as much as it is a fun, exciting, amazing, and novel one! When everything is crazy, PLEASE remember to take care of yourself. You cannot face the day on an empty stomach, with little sleep, if you’re off your meds, skipping exercise, ignoring your routine, or any other way you practice self care.

Image

Team brunch is self care, right?

If you are someone who loves people, do not make the mistake I did and stay in your room all week before classes – get out, go downtown, go walk around a park! It’ll likely be summer when you get here, take advantage while it lasts! You don’t even have to talk to anyone, being around other people will lift your spirits. If you recharge away from people, take the time to get your room just the way you like it – put that art on the wall, get a duvet that’s extra comfy, rearrange your room, and afterwards go for a quiet walk somewhere green. While you build your support network here, don’t forget everyone back home who said they’d help you out. Yeah, there will likely be some serious time differences, but that’s the beauty of texting or snapchat: people can catch up anytime! Asking someone to talk if you’re feeling down isn’t weakness, it’s strength. <3

Above all, don’t forget – you’re in a new place and isn’t it awesome?? Why not find ways to make the most of it! Miss your pet? Maybe there’s a dog park or cat cafe around. Miss someone’s home cooking? I’m sure there’s a hole-in-the-wall family restaurant just waiting for you to sit down and chat with the server over something delicious. Bummed out by the grey weather? Make a point to get outside, even if just for a bit, every day – the sun still shines through the clouds (PS: if you’re not used to dark grey winters, get yourself a full-spectrum lamp. “Seasonal Affective Disorder” is real).

Image

     After the storm you get rainbows – cliche, but true (seen after hurricane lorenzo)

I’ve only been here 2 months and already this program is a roller coaster. I’ve been happy, I’ve been stressed, I’ve stayed in my room eating pizza and I’ve gone out and found a new bar with new friends in old rain. But that’s the whole point, isn’t it? We don’t ride roller coasters because they’re tame, we ride them because fear turns into exhilaration and fun.

Image

We’re cheering you on, you got this <3

QB Quinones-Bangs, Full-Time MBA 2019 – 2020
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Go Explore!  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2019, 02:02
FROM Smurfit MBA Blog: Go Explore!
An MBA degree is not just about classroom and networking. We are currently on a one-year-break from our career and life, to decide on what we should do on the next ten. It is now the time to explore choices, long-term-plans and places; and talking about places, Ireland has the best to offer.

County Wicklow is a approximately 1-hour drive from Blackrock and it hosts a very beautiful and amazing landscape. Nothing else beats driving to the countryside on the weekend alongside some friends, to look at the lush green scenery and clear blue sky. For international students, you could rent a go car and find someone who has an international license. That worked well for us.

Our trip started by driving to Glendalough to visit the alluring upper lake. The weather was fortunately not too cold and the sky was clear all day long. We took pictures on the bank of the lake, started our hike uphill, and reached the mountain top to enjoy the dazzling view from a different perspective.

Image

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We then drove on a scenic drive route via Sally Gap to visit Powerscourt Waterfall, the highest waterfall in Ireland. The park closes at 6 and we were a bit late when we arrived there. However, that did not stop us from running our way to the foot of the waterfall and having a good time in the park. A lady who lived nearby said that we could swim on the river above and it was a very cozy place to have BBQ with family and friends. I will definitely come there again to explore those options.

Image

Exhausted but satisfied, we ended our journey with a delicious dinner in Bray. Afterwards, we walked along the coast line while watching the sun set on the horizon. What an incredible journey!

Image

Erik Hormein, Full Time MBA 2019-2020
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Making Connections  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Oct 2019, 02:02
FROM Smurfit MBA Blog: Making Connections
Image

A couple weeks before we were set to begin orientation week, we were able to submit our preferences for the mysterious “GNAM.” We were to spend a week in October away from our regularly scheduled programming, attending a course at a member school belonging to the Global Network for Advanced Management. We received our placements quickly, and just as quickly forgot about them, as classes started in earnest. After all, we had studying and assignments to think about!

Sure enough, the time came for us to head to our respective corners of the globe to gather with other MBAs and complete the modules we had chosen two months prior. Our classmates attended sessions at ESTM in Germany, Koç University Graduate School of Business in Turkey, Haas School of Business in the US, UBC Sauder School of Business in Canada, Fudan University School of Management in China, and a strong contingency stayed to participate in the course at Smurfit. I was among four Smurfit students who spent our week at Yale in the US, learning about the Behavioural Science of Management.

To say it was an incredible week would be an understatement. We received five lectures from leading professors in the field, whose topics ranged from Making Better Decisions Using Behavioral Science to Negotiating Mindsets. Mid-week we visited an investment firm in a nearby town and learned about Behavioural Finance: how psychology affects investors and the markets or financial analysts, and subsequently, the markets. Most importantly, we shared the experience with our new friends from around the world. We spent our evenings socialising, and those from Ireland got a taste of life in America. One of our Irish friends even tried his first fried pickle.

Image

Many of the other attendees were nearing the ends of their programmes and getting ready to start the next phase of their professional careers. They understood the hard work of doing an MBA and the mindset it required. They gave us advice, encouragement, and a window into our near futures. At the end of the week, we promised to visit each other soon, connected on LinkedIn, and then Instagram, because LinkedIn felt too stiff and professional for the bonds we had forged. Despite having only spent a week together, I have no doubt that we will continue to be part of each other’s professional and personal networks as we move onto the rest of the MBA and through our careers.

Image

 

Bailey Talkington, Full Time MBA 2019-2020

 
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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I was wrong.  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2019, 09:02
FROM Smurfit MBA Blog: I was wrong.
Image

It all began so calmly. Eager and well-dressed, we met for the first time in the main hall of the business school campus. Flags of the world decorated the ceiling above us as we scanned the room with anticipation and nerves. There were a lot of suits in various shades of dark blue –these were MBA students.

I made it!

Image

I used to believe the beginning of something is always the hardest. If you can survive the first day –you’re half-way there. I left the first day of foundation week, with a relaxed-looking half-filled schedule and real excitement about the people I met. This MBA thing is going to be ok, easy, I got this.

I was wrong!

The second day arrived, and it was in my first Financial Reporting class that I realized how very wrong I had been. As the week continued, I grappled with the fact my Philosophy degree would not help me build a Balance Sheet. Turns out, I was not half-way there. In fact, “there” seemed to be very far away.

The weeks continued and my half-filled schedule took on a very different dimension, filling up with wonderous-sounding (although totally mysterious) activities like “Presenting for Success”.

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Two months up; two exams down; two presentations out, four assignments in; a thousand Irish raindrops survived; and having discovered new grey hair—can’t turn back now.

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As I write today, braced for the avalanche of upcoming deliverables, I know that I am not the same person that arrived on the first day. Certainly, I am less naïve (less arrogant). The UCD MBA is not easy—it is substantial. In addition to the practical tools gained, it is pushing me to grow and confront my own nature. Would not have guessed that I’d do an MBA to realize I’m a Panther-Peacock. Uncomfortable, but also true. I didn’t imagine that the MBA would be a crash course in team work. I certainly didn’t imagine that I’d join the rugby club.

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As the only loud African woman in my class I also could not have imagined the kindness and support I have experienced here: the exceptional people I have met and the genuine friendships I have made. I am incredibly luckily that I will suffer, and survive, the remaining ten months of this program with a wonderful mix of people. It will not be easy and it will certainly be rainy but I am ready. We got this!

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Sláinte all my Panther-Peacock-Dolphin-Owls… but NOT the Ostriches

Kendi M’Mbijjewe, Full Time MBA 2019-2020
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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My GNAM Diary: A Week at Berkeley School of Business  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2019, 07:38
FROM Smurfit MBA Blog: My GNAM Diary: A Week at Berkeley School of Business
A hidden benefit of doing a full-time MBA in UCD Smurfit comes in the form of GNAM week. “GNAM”, or Global Network for Advanced Management, is a network of leading global business schools who aim to drive innovation and create value by connecting with one another and sharing resources with their stakeholders over a week-long exchange in October.

[url=http://smurfitschoolblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/PHOTO-2019-11-06-14-55-43.jpg][img]http://smurfitschoolblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/PHOTO-2019-11-06-14-55-43-225x300.jpg[/img][/url]
Of the 20-odd schools offered, the programme entitled ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ in the Berkeley School of Business blew me away. I was like a child on Christmas morning finding out that I had been accepted into this programme, which promoted itself as a deep dive into the Silicon Valley Innovation Ecosystem.

Prior to the program, we were assigned to groups and allocated an emerging Silicon Valley start-up company: in my case, water quality monitoring device firm “Osmobot”. I looked forward to a total immersion into the world of innovation and investment through the eyes of a start-up entrepreneur, hoping that by the end of the week long program, I would have a better sense of which identity—investor or entrepreneur—best suited me.

Arriving and Acclimatizing

[url=http://smurfitschoolblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/PHOTO-2019-11-06-14-55-50.jpg][img]http://smurfitschoolblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/PHOTO-2019-11-06-14-55-50-225x300.jpg[/img][/url]
After approximately 8 hours in transit from Dublin, Ken and I landed in Berkeley on Friday afternoon. The chill vibes of California’s student district were exactly what we needed to decompress after a busy 6 weeks of MBA_hood in UCD. The next day’s sparkling sunshine saw us through a walking tour of Berkeley campus–where I hugged a golden bear and got the impression that studying in Ireland could not hold a candle to the US experience. We concluded the day in the campus’s botanic gardens, where I particularly enjoyed the ‘medicinal gardens’, reminding me of my forsaken profession as a pharmacist. Ken reckoned the exhibits weren’t a patch on the Glasnevin equivalent. Sunday’s light hangover dissolved over brunch with our classmate Grace, who lured me out of Berkeley and onto a bike in San Francisco. It is hard to describe the feeling: freewheeling along the water’s edge in brilliant sunshine, with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background!

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Day One

After a jovial welcome reception in Haas School of Business on Sunday evening, we presented eagerly for breakfast and our first lectures on Monday morning. We spent the first half of the day focusing on entrepreneurship, customer identification, and company adaptation, while second half introduced us to Venture Capitalism. Practical examples from the faculty’s own experiences complemented detailed theory.

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Day Two

Tuesday morning commenced with detailed and structured exploration of our allocated start-ups. Later, Professor David Charron interviewed a panel of venture capitalists from the Bay Area, who explained some hard truths about their careers–including expensive mistakes and missed opportunities.

The afternoon stole the show for me. Hopping on a luxury bus and heading downtown to San Francisco, we enjoyed some free time during which we made a visit to Union Square. Thereafter, we went to meet successful start-up, Ginger.io, which deals with mental ill-health using a tech platform, and met founder Karan Singh. We next went to tech super-power Salesforce’s office. Their luxurious office block—resembling a mini-theme park with friendly mascots and animal-themed merchandise on sale in their entrance area–dazzled even the locals among us.

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Day Three

During a lecture on building consumer profiles, Professor introduced the concept of diverging and converging: building ideas individually, and then bringing them together, towards improving a team’s creativity.

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While Monday and Tuesday had ignited my entrepreneurial gusto, the introduction to VC demonstrated that when it comes to investment, the investor tends to have the stronger hand. This stimulated two streams of thought. Firstly, perhaps being a VC is in fact a lower risk pursuit than being an entrepreneur? and secondly, being a good entrepreneur actually necessitates having a good understanding of investment models.

 Day Four

On Thursday morning Stephen from Catering introduced me to the purple potato, which he served with other exotic varieties, seasoned and roasted – an awakening for my Irish taste buds, though I have long identified as a “potato expert”.

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In class, Dr. Vivek Rao guided us through refining the value proposition of a company – namely by assessing its desirability, viability and feasibility. From Vivek’s lively session, I understood how the “who” the product/service is just as important as the “how”.

Day Five

Friday was the day the light shone on our diligent assignment work and presentation planning. We each pitched our classmates (“investors”) for fictious investment in our allocated start-up companies. We made a hard sell for our shrimp farm water-quality monitor (Osmobot). After 5 days of exploring founder Zach Stein’s product and business plan, I felt genuine passion towards the Osmobot and confidence regarding its future prospects. My classmates appeared marginally less convinced than my teammates and I, and we received no direct offer of $5 million for our proposed 20% company share!

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I was fascinated by the concept that as both an entrepreneur and a VC, you are constantly placing bets. From my cosy life as a pharmacist, where actions are generally deemed right or wrong by legislation, I felt an explosion of excitement at the risk involved in pursuing either entrepreneurship or VC. My risk-averse life experiences initially inclined me towards VC, but what really invigorated me was the concept of growing a simple idea into a business with the potential to have an exponential impact on the world.

The week concluded with a self-reflection session lead by Sara where we focused on “designing a life you love”. In a team setting, we explored our values and motivators as well as our view of work and of the world. Though challenging at times, this session ultimately provided clarity of thought. The humanity and morality of my classmates shone through. I shocked myself by shedding a few tears, in mourning for the meaningful work in healthcare that I have put on hold as I advance into the unknown of life beyond an MBA.

Final Ponderings

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From exemplary lecturing and first-hand encounters with successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, to sharing state of the art facilities with a group of 49 other MBA students, there was nothing not to love about the whole Berkeley Haas experience. Returning to Ireland, I feel as though little seeds of ideas are beginning to sprout in my mind. Suddenly, anything feels possible as an entrepreneur. When I make my success in business, I know I will think of my GNAM experience as the week when the scope of life’s possibilities opened in front of me.

[url=https://www.linkedin.com/in/si%C3%BAn-tobin/]Siún Tobin[/url], Full Time MBA 2019-2020
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California Dreaming: The GNAM Video  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2019, 07:38
FROM Smurfit MBA Blog: California Dreaming: The GNAM Video
To complement Siún’s introspective diary in the previous post, our UCBerkeley GNAM students Siún Tobin, Grace Bergin, and Kenneth Power have documented their Northern California week in an edited video describing their experiences and what they learned:



The Classified Series from Berkeley Haas’s magazine recently interviewed Siún for an article about the week, titled ‘Teaching Students to Think like Entrepreneurs and Investors‘. Clearly still flying high from her exchange experience, Siún told the paper, ‘Now I feel like the sky’s the limit.’
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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California Dreaming: The GNAM Video   [#permalink] 22 Nov 2019, 07:38
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