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FT Global Rankings confirm UCD as leading Irish provider of Executive Education

  • Date: Mon, May 20, 2024

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By: Beth Gormley, Communications and PR Manager, UCD College of Business

Pictured: Professor Joe Peppard, Academic Director of UCD Smurfit Executive Development; Professor Federica Pazzaglia, Director of UCD Smurfit School; and Tim Wray, Director of UCD Smurfit Executive Development

UCD Smurfit Executive Development has been ranked in the global top 50 and EU top 25 in both the Open Enrolment and Custom Executive Education in the 2024 Financial Times Executive Education Rankings continuing its place as Ireland’s leading provider of Executive Education. In the Open Enrolment ranking, Smurfit Executive Development ranked 46th globally and first in Ireland. It marks the 7th year that the programme has been in the global top 50.

  • Global top 50 ranking, EU top 25, in both Open Enrolment and Custom Executive Education Financial Times Executive Education Rankings
  • Ranked 33rd globally in Custom Executive Education
  • Ranked 46th globally in Open Enrolment, global top 50 for 7th year

The School is ranked 33rd in the world in the Custom Executive Education Rankings. Within the ranking criteria, the School ranked an impressive 4th globally for Growth reflecting year-on-year revenue growth and repeat business and 27th for Programme Design which ensures flexibility of the curriculum and cutting-edge expert lecturers. Overall, Client Satisfaction is highest in Ireland and ranks 23rd globally.

In the Open Enrolment ranking, Smurfit Executive Development ranked 46th globally and first in Ireland marking the 7th year in the global top 50. Among the criteria used to assess the categories, the School scored in the global top 50 in 12 out of 14 categories.

The ranking demonstrates consistency at the highest standard in the delivery of world-class executive education programmes and places UCD Smurfit Executive Development with an elite group of business institutions that are among the most recognised in the world.

Following the publication of the ranking, Professor Anthony Brabazon, Dean, UCD College of Business said: “With both our Custom and Open Enrolment programmes ranked in the EU top 25 by the Financial Times Executive Education Rankings, UCD Smurfit Executive Education is again regarded as one of the best in the world. In our seventh year in the global top 50 for Open Enrolment programmes, we remain as the standard-bearers in the delivery of executive and graduate business education in Ireland.

Following significant investment in the building of our capabilities to deliver world-class executive education in recent years, we look forward to working with key corporate partners in the creation of new and exciting customised programmes with significant personal and organisational impact, to the expansion of our open enrolment portfolio of programmes, and to the further enhancement of participant experience across all programmes.”

Tim Wray, Director, UCD Smurfit Executive Development said: “We have an ambitious growth strategy that aims to strengthen our position as the leading provider of executive development in Ireland while enhancing our standing in the global marketplace. The latest FT rankings represent significant progress towards this goal. Through our international partnerships, we continue to build our faculty team of global experts, who can address the key challenges facing our clients including leadership capability, digital transformation and AI, developing sustainable business strategies and diversity and inclusion. We are also investing in the technologies that will enable the next wave of innovation in programme design.”

Professor Joe Peppard, Academic Director, UCD Smurfit Executive Development said:

At UCD Smurfit Executive Development we have an ambition to build out our engagement with client organisations and it is a testament to this strategy and the positive impact we have in these organisations, that we have recorded the 4th largest growth across all business schools.”


UCD Smurfit Executive Development has been consecutively ranked as one of the world’s best by the prestigious Financial Times Rankings over the last eight years. Programmes are taught by academic and industry leaders and diplomas and short courses offer executives the latest academic theory and business knowledge applicable to real-life situations. The portfolio of programmes includes business finance, coaching, strategy, organisational change, leadership development, corporate governance, high-performance sales and business development and digital innovation and transformation.

Specialising in creating bespoke learning solutions, UCD Smurfit Executive Development helps organisations to address critical business challenges and to help drive change. These customised programmes are mapped to the unique development needs of clients and designed to allow organisations to unlock personal and corporate potential better equipping them to face an uncertain and rapidly changing world.

UCD Smurfit Executive Development is a member of UNICON, an invitation-only alliance of the world’s leading university-based executive education providers. 

UCD Smurfit Executive Development is part of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Ireland’s leading business school and research centre offering world-class business programmes that equip students to become impactful business leaders. 


UCD College of Business’ international rankings (Financial Times, QS) and associations (PRME, CEMS, GNAM, PIM) are marks of quality for our elite international business schools, and the leading business school in Ireland. In addition, UCD Smurfit School is one of an elite group of schools worldwide, to hold the ‘triple crown’ of accreditation from three centres of business and academic excellence—EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA.

The College was also awarded the Athena Swan Bronze Award that recognises advancement of gender equality.

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