Our Alumni are the ultimate ambassadors of the Smurfit learning experience. They provide the most concrete proof of the excellence that typifies our School. Hear the stories of our international alumni, their motivations for choosing Smurfit and the role their Masters has played in their professional life.
MSc Strategic Management Accounting '16, Product Executive - Volkswagen
Nora Tacken, German
MSc Strategic Management Accounting '16, Product Executive - Volkswagenv
“Working on real life business scenarios gave us the opportunity to develop our product management and strategic thinking skills, and present our own solutions to business challenges. It’s an intense and rewarding experience, that will benefit you throughout your entire professional career”
MSc Management '14, AVP, Salesforce Engineering Deutsche Bank
Kaustubh Labhe Indian
MSc Management '14, AVP, Salesforce Engineering Deutsche Bankv
"It was a privilege for me to pursue my Masters at the prestigious UCD Smurfit School. My time at UCD Smurfit School not only exposed me to the quality and expertise of the faculty, but to an internationally diverse learning environment. The structure of the course met my expectations and complemented my existing engineering undergraduate degree. The lecturers and other staff at UCD Smurfit School were friendly and helpful and made the transition to studying abroad in a new country a wonderful experience. I would recommend UCD Smurfit School for a transformational experience and a great study abroad choice for students."
FT MBA '12, Head of Strategy Dublin Airport
Valerie Price, American
FT MBA '12, Head of Strategy Dublin Airportv
"The Smufit MBA not only changed my perspectives on business, but also on myself as a person. Through the classroom interactions and PPD programme I learned about team and group dynamics and the personality types that drive people to interact the way they do. More importantly, I learned how I fit in those dynamics. To me, this was invaluable information as the people part of doing business is often the most important."
MSc Marketing '17
Kavya Ramesh Indian
MSc Marketing '17v
"I chose to study at UCD Smurfit School, as the course curriculum offered a hands-on learning approach through practical applications of theories taught in class. Also, the opportunity to do live projects with renowned companies provide to be an invaluable experience"
MSc HRM '11, Medical Student Heinrich-Heine
Anja Holocher, German
MSc HRM '11, Medical Student Heinrich-Heinev
"I am truly grateful to have been a student at UCD Smurfit School and to have gained such valuable experience while studying Human Resource Management. My course enabled me to acquire an all encompassing foundation in Human Resource Management and to quickly understand various HR structures. Moreover, small classes, excellent lecturers and a great learning environment all added to the unique experience I had while studying at UCD Smurfit School. I can genuinely recommend this excellent School and especially the MSc in Human Resource Management course."
Erwan Le Pavec,
MBA '14, Contrôleur financier Corporate TFS
Erwan Le Pavec, French
MBA '14, Contrôleur financier Corporate TFSv
"The UCD Smurfit School MBA was a unique and unforgettable experience. After ten years working in France, I wanted to open new perspectives in my career in terms of management skills, team work and culture. I appreciated the diversity of the participants, their backgrounds and the wealth of our discussions. The quality and human size of the course also helped me to change my mind-set and think more broadly. In other words, I approach business more globally. Today, I feel better equipped for the future and see the UCD Smurfit School MBA as a long term valuable investment."
MSc Marketing Practice '17
Mengying Huang Chinese
MSc Marketing Practice '17v
"I chose to study at UCD Smurfit School due its great reputation and strong network base with a wide variety of companies across Ireland."
Minh Tung Dao
MSc iBusiness '14, Account Manager Qsoft Vietnam
Minh Tung Dao Vietnamese
MSc iBusiness '14, Account Manager Qsoft Vietnamv
"I am now an Account Manager at Qsoft Vietnam, a software outsourcing company in Vietnam with 100+ employees. Originally I graduated with a Bachelor of Computer Science with a strong technical background. I have acquired business knowledge, communication skills, international experience and a business network throughout my studies at UCD Smurfit School on the MSc iBusiness - Innovation through ICT course. With the knowledge, experience and skills I have gained, I am doing very well in fulfilling my responsibility as an account manager. I got my new job only one month after coming back to Vietnam. Without the opportunity that UCD Smurfit School gave me, I would not be able to achieve this. UCD Smurfit School was the best experience for me. Friendly classmates, eminent professors, kind-hearted staff, an intimate campus and a beautiful apartment, all contributed to my dream and remain indelible in my memory."
MSc Finance '11, Associate Account Strategist Google
Anastasia Golovanova Russian
MSc Finance '11, Associate Account Strategist Googlev
"Having graduated from a University in Moscow, I immediately started researching MSc courses offered by graduate business schools across various countries. The MSc in Finance at UCD Smurfit School matched my interests in the financial domain perfectly. The course was even more comprehensive and enjoyable than I expected. The academic and consulting experience of the faculty provided a world class learning environment. I would highly recommend the course to all those who are interested in financial markets and would like to pursue a career in investments"
Tang Huynh Phuong
MSc Marketing '14, Senior Research Executive IPOS
Tang Huynh Phuong Vietnamese
MSc Marketing '14, Senior Research Executive IPOSv
"I heard about UCD Smurfit School from some UCD Smurfit School alumni in my country, Vietnam. Besides its international recognition as one of 100 leading business schools in the world, I also chose to study in this school because of its reputation for a dynamic international studying environment and prestigious lecturers. Studying at this university has been rewarding and I am proud to have graduated from here. The core modules of the course offered me a solid foundation in different aspects of marketing management such as strategic planning, marketing communications planning and marketing research, while optional modules facilitated more in-depth study of my main interest area of brand management. The knowledge I have gained from this course allows me to undertake marketing planning tasks more efficiently in my current position. Moreover, the variety of marketing projects that I had to take on during the course equipped me with a wide range of hands-on and practical experience, which will be very useful for my current role as a marketing assistant and my career as a brand manager in the future. Finally, being immersed in an internationally diverse studying environment with students from different cultures was a great personal and professional experience for me. My social life is enriched with many international friendships from my class. Also, the exposure to various mind-sets and viewpoints during the course still helps to facilitate my adaptation into the multi-cultural working environment of my company, and improve my skills in dealing with international partners. Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed studying for a marketing degree and look fondly upon my time at UCD Smurfit School. I highly recommend this course to anyone wishing to benefit from a wellrounded student life with exceptional courses, excellent lecturers, and a uniquely diverse academic and social environment."
MSc Marketing '14, Associate Product Marketing Manager Google
Michael Queisser German
MSc Marketing '14, Associate Product Marketing Manager Googlev
"My time at UCD Smurfit School has been truly beneficial, not only concerning all the skills that I gained but also in terms of personal development. It was only a year, but working together with such a wide range of talented people from all over the world and a truly dedicated staff was the best possible academic preparation for my career. Time was flying and I didn’t regret for a single second that I decided to come to Dublin to study here. One aspect I appreciated especially is the high number of real-life projects with companies such as Procter & Gamble, Qualtrics and Keogh’s."
Lacy (MENG-JUNG) Lin
MSc Supply Chain Management '14, Supply Planner Consumer Electronics
Lacy (MENG-JUNG) Lin Taiwanese
MSc Supply Chain Management '14, Supply Planner Consumer Electronicsv
"UCD Smurfit School has opened a world of possibilities to me. Throughout the course, I gained the most up to date information on supply chain management across many industries. Moreover, I was given the opportunity to run a supply chain consulting project at Dell. This helped me to apply what I had learned in practice before I commenced in this area in the real world. The course also enhanced my professional skills and gave me the opportunity to pursue my dream job in one of the best companies in the world. I would definitely recommend choosing the MSc Supply Chain Management at UCD Smurfit School for a bright future!"
MSc International Management (CEMS) '11, Manager Deutschothek Sprachschule
Peter Gila, Austrian
MSc International Management (CEMS) '11, Manager Deutschothek Sprachschulev
"After my bachelor’s degree, which I completed in Vienna and Moscow, I wanted to pursue an international Masters degree in an English-speaking country. The decision to choose the CEMS MiM course at UCD Smurfit School is one of the best decisions I have made; not only due to the high quality of the courses, but also due to the excellent networking opportunities with company representatives and students from all over Europe and beyond. CEMS MiM at UCD Smurfit School offers a well-balanced combination of theoretical modules, practical courses and skill seminars, which were excellent preparation for my career. I recommend the CEMS MiM degree to anyone who is looking for a high-quality degree in management and would like to work internationally."
MBA '14, Business Analyst / Product Owner (Mobile Apps) Red Hat
Ankit Bajpai, Indian
MBA '14, Business Analyst / Product Owner (Mobile Apps) Red Hatv
"The UCD Smurfit School MBA gave me the opportunity to be part of an experienced cohort of classmates. The UCD Smurfit School MBA has an international focus that is apparent from a number of aspects of the course – the international trip to an emerging markets country and more than 50% of the class being from outside Ireland. The MBA also gave me confidence to be part of MBA clubs and to organise and lead events in the Dublin region. The MBA experience has certainly helped me broaden my horizons both in terms of thought process and career opportunities."
MSc Strategic Management & Planning '16, Associate Account Strategist Google
Vivian Pucher, German
MSc Strategic Management & Planning '16, Associate Account Strategist Google
Always keen to have positive impact and step outside her comfort zone, Vivian Pucher left her native Germany to spend six months volunteering in a women’s cooperative in Guatamala at the age of just 18. Six years on and she’s working at Google in Dublin and a member of the Seachange Foundation board, as well as planning a triathlon and a stint in Tanzania working with entrepreneurs.
Tell us a bit about your education and career to date
I grew up in the German Black Forest and after graduating from high school there wanted to see a bit of the world so I went to Guatemala for half a year to work in a cooperative of Mayan women. There I realised that nobody – including me, of course – had any idea how to run an organisation and that’s why I decided to study business. Because I’d learnt Spanish in Guatemala I went for a double degree between ESB Business School at Reutlingen University in Germany and Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid. After graduating in 2015, I went on to do my master’s in strategic management at Smurfit.
During my studies I did several internships in consulting and in the automotive sector as well as working for a start-up. Besides that I have always been very involved in university initiatives and did a lot of voluntary work. For example, during my time at Smurfit, I did a project on social impact measurement in Gujarat (India) with Shanti Life India Foundation, a microfinance organisation focusing on empowering women through business and sanitation loans. I am also now on the board of Seachange Foundation, a partner organisation of Shanti Life based here in Dublin.
Tell us about your role in Google
Last November, I joined the sales department in Google in Dublin where I am an account strategist. This involves working with small and medium-sized enterprises in Germany on how they can grow their businesses nationally and internationally with online marketing. It’s a fantastic team and I get to work with very smart people.
How do you feel your degree at UCD has benefited you most?
I think there are two dimensions to what I got out of my time at Smurfit. One of those is the personal side. In Smurfit I really made friends with people from all over the world. It always sounds so simple but I think we underestimate a lot those cultural differences between people. I learnt an incredible amount about working with very different cultures. On the other hand, content wise we learnt about many concepts that I wasn’t really aware of during my primary degree. I sometimes wondered why on earth we would learn this in strategy management. Now, being in the corporate world I see it all the time and remember back. It really turned out to be very useful for me in terms of being able to see the bigger picture.
What motivates you?
I think what motivates me most is to have an impact in a positive way and to be able to see what my work has done. In my current work, making clients happy is really motivating for me. So, it’s really about positive change.
What are your career goals?
I have a mid-term plan and a longer term plan. I have done a lot of consulting, working on very strict business projects, and also NGO work and I would like to combine the two in the future. I would like to work more on the social side of business and that could be within Google or somewhere else. In the long term, I would like to return to university some day and share my experience. I could really see myself going back to academia... but that’s far away!
What for you is good leadership?
I think it depends a lot on the stage an organisation is at, but ultimately I would define it as being inspiring, having strong values and allowing your people to take risks and to think big. It’s not about showing what to do but more about showing what we are doing something for.
I have led projects in the past but haven’t yet been a leader professionally, but I think that’s the kind of leader I wish to become one day.
Who or what influences and inspires you?
I read recently that you are mostly influenced by the five closest people around you. Hence, I have been influenced a lot by my family and close friends. Nevertheless, when you move places a lot, also the people around you change. So it’s always shifting a bit and I see myself changing with it. So I’m probably really the cross sum of all the people that are close to me.
In terms of inspiration it’s a bit different. I’m really inspired by people who have strong ethical values and clearly stick to them. I’m inspired and interested by people who dedicate their lives to something amazing but manage to do so in a selfless manner. One, but certainly not the only, example would be Sheetal Walsh who I mentioned earlier. She is incredibly successful from a business point of view but still dedicates a huge part of her time to run a charity.
What achievement stands out for you so far?
Probably it’s the time I spent in Guatemala. I went there when I was 18 years old and spent six months in a mud hut. It was a very tough time. Since then, whenever things are getting difficult I always remind myself that I was able to do that at such a young age and that the challenge I’m facing now is not so big compared to it and I can probably achieve so much more. So, I always use it as my anchor point to put things into perspective.
Are there any failures you’ve learnt from?
Primarily my plan was to not even do a master’s degree but rather to start working right away. But I honestly failed at getting the job I really wanted straight after my primary degree. I was probably overconfident in what I had achieved and after I got rejected my whole self confidence broke down. Now I think it’s the best thing that could have happened to me. It was a really good learning that when something doesn’t work out the way it was supposed to then another door opens. Hence, I learned to move on and look forward.
What are your tips or advice for success?
It might sound extremely naive but the thing that I benefited from the most and that I try to continue doing, is to say “yes” as much as possible. I try to embrace any opportunity that crosses my way. I think it’s better to have a bit too much on your plate than just staying inside your comfort zone. And I’ve always benefited in some way from the additional experience I have gained from just saying, “yes, sure, I will give it a try”.
Any immediate plans for the future you’d like to talk about?
For now, I’ll try to move on in my current workplace and will continue the work I’m doing with Seachange and Shanti Life. I’m also going to Tanzania for two weeks this summer with Google, working with entrepreneurs there. And I’d like to do a triathlon – that’s actually another point on my list for this year!
What are your main interests outside work?
I really like to do sports and I also love to travel. And I enjoy reading and I have just started painting recently.
How important is your UCD alumni network to you?
So far it has been extremely helpful for having lovely friends in Asia when travelling there. But at the same time I see them all getting into great work positions, so also from a professional aspect I’m sure we’ll benefit a lot from our connections in the future.
Tell us one thing most people don’t know about you
Unfortunately I’m very chaotic and even more unfortunately I’m allergic to mangoes.
What is your pet hate?
People walking super slow in front of me – I love being lazy but I hate to waste time unnecessarily.
Who’s your favourite writer?
Paulo Coelho has been extremely inspiring to me.
And what is your favourite band or musician?
It’s mainly one song that always gets me into an extremely happy mood: Golden Age (The Asteroids Galaxy Tour).
What’s the last gig you went to that you loved?
I went to a jazz concert by Christian Scott (my first one ever) two weeks ago and it was absolutely amazing.
What is your favourite dish to cook?
I always like to cook exotic things I’ve never made before. And even more if they are really spicy.
What is your favourite place in the world to visit and why?
Freudenstadt (which actually translates to happy town) in the Black Forest...because there is no place like home.
Name three things on your bucket list
Run a marathon, be published somewhere and speak five languages fluently.
Vu Kim Hue,
MSc Strategic Management & Planning '14, National Project Officer ILO
Vu Kim Hue, Vietnamese
MSc Strategic Management & Planning '14, National Project Officer ILOv
"One year studying at UCD Smurfit School was the most amazing year of my life. The excellent academic environment makes students feel comfortable to enhance their knowledge, skills and personalities. I had opportunities to be actively involved in not only the lectures, but also dynamic cultural and sport activities during the school year. The course undeniably enabled me to have a comprehensive approach to problems at work and more assurance to accomplish my professional goals. I would recommend the MSc Strategic Management & Planning course and UCD Smurfit School."
MSc Management '13, Audit Senior EY Dublin
Joby John, Indian
MSc Management '13, Audit Senior EY Dublinv
"It was a privilege for me to secure admission to pursue an MSc in Management with adequate financial assistance (MSc Regional Merit Scholarship) at UCD Smurfit School. I am extremely delighted that I got a chance to study with highly motivated and industrious graduate students from different backgrounds and cultures in an ideal mini-international-business world. The eminent faculty and the emphasis placed on general management orientation and rigorous research methodologies certainly brought out the best in me, which helped me to achieve outstanding scholastic records. Recently, I have secured a job with Ernst and Young as a Financial Assurance Associate and will be doing ACA along with this, which will take me to the next level of professional qualification. I certainly recommend UCD Smurfit School to any aspiring graduate based on the breadth and depth of the courses coupled with a stimulating research environment it will be the right mix for seminal work and pioneering business studies."
MSc International Management (CEMS) '12, CEO Coindrum
Lukas Decker, German
MSc International Management (CEMS) '12, CEO Coindrumv
"The CEMS MIM at UCD Smurfit School has been an intensive and valuable experience on both a personal and professional level. I was very much able to appreciate the benefits that the course offered - a group of like-minded and ambitious students from all over the world created a culture of mutual reinforcement and openmindedness. The environment was challenging and demanded engagement in academic business topics, internships and practical business projects. Professional skill development such as presentation skills and negotiation skills were also part of a steep learning curve. The latter was one factor in my decision to found my company, Coindrum, which quickly proceeded to receive angel investment by a major industry player."
MSc International Management (CEMS) '14, Computer Science Teacher
Javier Bouzas, Spanish
MSc International Management (CEMS) '14, Computer Science Teacherv
"I first discovered UCD Smurfit School in 2007, after evaluating different universities and countries to pursue my first postgraduate course. UCD Smurfit School has a unique academic environment, quality of teaching, outstanding prestige and an unrivalled lifestyle in Dublin city. CEMS has provided me with the opportunity to increase my knowledge in international business and relationships while improving intercultural awareness and has proven to be very beneficial for my professional development."
MBA '14, Channel Manager Tableau Software
Jakub Kamecki, Polish
MBA '14, Channel Manager Tableau Softwarev
"Getting an MBA degree has been a lifelong dream of mine. Graduating from such a prestigious school as UCD Smurfit School
has delivered on that and then some. Even before graduating I have been promoted to my current position, a highly ndependent and entrepreneurial role of heading up business development for Dell Software in Poland. On a daily basis I'm able to leverage the skills and knowledge gained during my studies. I find the courses in marketing, and managing competitive and corporate sales relations strategy, have been of particular value in my day to day responsibilities. I'm hopeful that having access to the vast and international alumni network of the school I will be able to build on my degree and accelerate my future success."