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Healthcare leaders share impact of Aspire Scholarship

  • Date: Tue, Feb 23, 2021

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“Without doubt, the Aspire Scholarship Programme was the key facilitator allowing me to undertake my Executive MBA, which has ultimately led to my current success,” said Kerry McLaverty, CEO of LauraLynn Ireland’s Children’s Hospice.

“I will be forever grateful for the support and generosity of the Aspire Scholarship benefactors, and indeed the Aspire community of scholars and alumni who are a constant support network and source of inspiration,” continued Kerry.

Now in its eleventh year, the UCD Smurfit School Aspire Scholarship Programme has supported over 120 talented business students in attaining their educational goals when faced with financial challenges.

Kerry McLaverty began her career in physiotherapy working with children and adults with severe and profound physical and intellectual disabilities. Before undertaking her MBA in 2015, Kerry had progressed within LauraLynn to her first Senior Management role as Acting Clinical Services Coordinator.

“The internationally ranked Executive MBA at UCD Smurfit School was the perfect learning platform from which to develop the key managerial and leadership skills required to advance as a senior leader in the Irish healthcare sector,” said Kerry, originally from Dublin.

In May 2020, as Covid-19 took a real hold on the nation and indeed the healthcare sector, Kerry took on the role of Chief Executive Officer for the Hospice and has already secured a historic €1.5 million in annual statutory funding for the Hospice.

“The scholarship is an outstanding example of helping those who will go on to help others—not only in business but in various industries including healthcare,” said Aoife Kiernan, Aspire Scholarship Programme Alumni President. “When we see how the scholarship supported those leading in healthcare through this extraordinary time, it is truly inspirational.”

Of the 120 Aspire Scholarship recipients, more than 10 are currently working in the healthcare industry in leadership positions ranging from medical device companies and hospitals around the country.

Dr David Tansey is currently working on the frontline of the national COVID-19 crisis at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin. A recent Aspire Scholarship recipient, he has just completed the first 18 months of the two-year Executive MBA programme.

“The Aspire Scholarship provided me with the opportunity to study a part-time Executive MBA at UCD Smurfit School while continuing to work as a doctor with the HSE,” said David, who specializes in Endocrinology, Diabetes Mellitus and General Internal Medicine.

“As the cost of healthcare delivery spirals upwards and doctors are being challenged to do more with fewer resources, it is essential that the consultants of tomorrow have the business prowess to run effective and cost-efficient departments and hospitals in addition to our clinical work.”

“I will be forever grateful to the ASPIRE programme for this opportunity and I aim to repay their generosity by using my new MBA skills to revolutionise healthcare delivery in Ireland for the benefit of all patients and Irish society as a whole,” concluded the Sligo native.

The Aspire Scholarship Programme was established in 2010 after the financial crisis in order to support the recovery and development of future Ireland. Aspire Scholarships help high-potential candidates unlock their unique talent and drive to become future business leaders. The scholarships are specifically for individuals who demonstrate the ambition to study at UCD Smurfit School and who require some financial assistance to complete their chosen Masters programme.

“Philanthropy continues to play a critical role in ensuring that all students who have the ability are given access to an education in order to fulfil their potential,” continued Aoife Kiernan, also a Healthcare Risk Consultant at Aon.

Fifty-percent funding is available for nine MSc scholarships and three MBA scholarships for the 2021/22 academic year. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Applications can be made online at before May 7, 2021.


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