Meet one of the IMAGE scholars;
Grace Milton, executive MBA student, UCD Michael Smurfit Business School; and account director, public affairs, Edelman
One year on since applying for the IMAGE MBA scholarship, and halfway into the second semester, I wholeheartedly encourage anyone who is interested in applying to do so. In just a few short months, we’ve covered topics such as leadership, ethics, corporate finance, competitive strategy, HR, operations and supply chain, management accounting, and so much more. It’s been eye-opening and really useful in terms of applicability to my role in public affairs and communications.
There is a host of industries represented across the weekend class, including engineering, medicine, construction, consulting, finance, and marketing, with a mix of self-employed people and those working for SMEs, public bodies and large corporations taking part. It’s been fascinating to engage with and learn from others, and to see how people work in teams, approach problems and devise solutions. We’ve had many training sessions covering topics such as presentation training, public speaking, personality testing, leadership and development, and I’ve found it really enjoyable and thought-provoking.
As we all think of our career development, the executive MBA is a fantastic programme to help participants ascertain how it is they can contribute to business and society, now and into the future. There are so many huge, global issues facing us in Ireland, and I believe it’s up to all of us to consider our roles in helping to find solutions, whether it’s in our homes, communities, through our work or in our spare time. These issues are considered and debated consistently as part of the MBA programme.
In terms of business skills development, as somebody who was very much involved in communication, analysis and strategy for the past decade, the programme has been particularly useful to reawaken the mathematical side of my brain. There are important and fundamental financial elements to the MBA programme, but I wouldn’t let that put any potential applicants off – the work is manageable and there are plenty of supports available to anyone who requires them.
I would encourage anyone applying to think about the GMAT early on. It takes quite a bit of work and can be time-consuming, particularly if you’re balancing it with a full-time job. The presentation is an enjoyable element of the application process, encouraging one to really think about the future and why it is they want to partake in the MBA programme, but do expect to set some time aside for this too.
When deciding to apply last year, I felt the time was right to try something different and push myself further. Even though working in communications, with one of the world’s leading communications marketing agencies, is extremely rewarding and busy, for me the MBA presented a fantastic opportunity. My manager and colleagues encouraged me to apply and are really helpful and supportive. Classmates are saying the same about their employers. Talk to your manager, and discuss your options.
The final thing I would say is, have the confidence to apply. I think women can, at times, be a hard on themselves, and it can be difficult to maintain self-confidence. Everyone in the class, the faculty and the wider school, has been so welcoming at Smurfit, and it’s a really pleasant place to be.
Find out more about the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and how to apply for the IMAGE Scholarship here. For information on the Smurfit MBA, visit smurfitschool.ie/mba.