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Aspire Scholar Network key in catapulting future business talent

  • Date: Wed, Mar 29, 2023

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Dublin, Tuesday, March 28, 2023: “The Aspire scholarship programme was the key
facilitator in allowing me to undertake the MSc in Aviation Finance and pursue my goal of
further education,” said Nicole Matko, who graduated from UCD with a BComm degree in

“Due to the generosity of the benefactors, alongside the community of scholars and alumni,
my career journey has been guided by an invaluable support network,” continued Matko, a
native of Dublin.

Born in Wexford, Nicole was raised speaking Hungarian with her mother and Romanian with her father. The family later moved to Dublin where she attended St Joseph’s Secondary School, Stanhope Street, an inner-city Deis school, where she was prefect and deputy head girl. Read more on her education journey in the Irish Independent here.

Matko was awarded the Aspire Scholarship on the basis of her exceptional academic
achievements, as well as future potential.

The Aspire Scholarship Programme was established after the 2010 financial crisis in order to
support the recovery and development of future Ireland. The initiative provides talented
graduates from across the country with financial support to complete a postgraduate
qualification from Ireland’s leading business school and helps high-potential candidates
unlock their unique talent and drive to become future business leaders.

To date, 138 graduates have benefitted from the programme and alumni have gone on to
establish their own business ventures or are employed in leading companies such as
Accenture, Citi, Google, KPMG, McKinsey, Microsoft and PwC among others. In 2022, nine
Aspire scholarships were awarded, with four towards students pursuing an MBA and the
remaining five spread across Masters degrees in MSc in Aviation Finance, Financial Data
Science and Digital Marketing.

“At first, I thought that the scholarship was simply a financial tool to help those in need to
access education, but it is so much more. The Aspire scholarship opens you up to a network
of other Aspire scholars who have come before you, all with an understanding of where you
are and where you want to go,” said Oisín Ó Nualláin who is originally from Ashbourne,
County Meath.

“The Aspire network allowed me to reach out and talk to professionals in my chosen field,
and ask for advice,” continued Oisín. “Having a network of individuals who have experience
in both UCD Smurfit School and the working world is invaluable.”

The network also provides advice and help with interview preparation. “Without the
support of the Aspire network, I would have struggled in my interview preparation.
However, with their support, I have signed a contract to begin working in June,” concluded

Karl McEntegart, Associate Director in Management Consulting at KPMG, is the Vice
President of the Aspire Scholarship Programme, as well as a 2017 scholar recipient. “The
Aspire network and UCD Smurfit School MBA were the catalysts I needed to transition from
running my own business to pursuing a professional career with a globally recognised firm
like KPMG.”
“The donor’s generosity is helping to shape the Irish leaders of tomorrow,” continued.
McEntegart“The financial support provides high potential candidates an opportunity to
study at Ireland’s leading business school, but what is even more beneficial is the network
and strong bond that has been created amongst the Aspire scholars.”

Upon the launch of the 2023 Aspire Scholarship Programme Professor Anthony Brabazon,
Dean of UCD College of Business said, “Over the last thirteen years, we have seen how the
power of the Aspire Scholarship programme continues to support recipients well into the
future through the dedication of the Aspire Alumni Network to support the incoming
cohort. We have seen our students thrive as the scholarship empowers them to pursue their
goals. We extend our sincere gratitude to the donors for their vision and continued support
of Ireland's future leaders.”

The 2023 Aspire Scholarship Programme is now open for applications. Fifty-percent funding
is available for up to nine MSc scholarships and three MBA scholarships for the 2023/24
academic year.

Applications can be made online at here before May 16, 2023.

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