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MBA 50 Years Gala Dinner 2016

  • Date: Fri, Jun 24, 2016

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L – R: Professor Anthony Brabazon, Grainne Barron, MBA 2007 & President Andrew J. Deeks MBA 50th Gala dinner at UCD Smurfit Business School, Friday June 17th

This year marks a key milestone for UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School as it celebrates 50 years since the graduation of the first UCD MBA class of 1966. To celebrate this significant milestone in the history of our MBA, over 150 MBA alumni joined President Andrew J. Deeks, Professor Tony Brabazon, Director UCD Smurfit School and a number of UCD staff members for a gala dinner on the Smurfit School campus last Friday, June 17th.

The event, sponsored by Jones Engineering Services, brought together MBA graduates from all five decades of the programme to acknowledge the MBA’s rich history and continuing success.

Founded in the 1960s by Professor Michael MacCormac (RIP) who believed that business education was key to Ireland’s future success, the executive MBA programme was developed to provide business courses to people who hadn’t completed undergraduate business such as engineers and scientists. MacCormac recalled “I wanted them to broaden themselves to business, to get some knowledge of the total business world. It worked very well and that was the root of the MBA.”

Fifty years on and the UCD Smurfit MBA programme has shaped over 3,700 business leaders and entrepreneurs, many of whom have been prominent figures in the Irish and international business arenas. With the internationalisation of our MBA class, particularly the Full-Time MBA cohort, the reach and impact of our MBA graduates is now extending right across the globe.

Consistently ranked in the world’s top 100 MBA programmes by both the Financial Times and the Economist Intelligence Unit, the MBA programme at UCD is a testament to the vision and legacy of Professor MacCormac who was lauded at the event by President Andrew Deeks and Professor Tony Brabazon who both addressed attendees during the evening. The keynote speaker at the event was Grainne Barron, MBA 2007, CEO and Founder of Viddyad, a technology start-up based in San Francisco.

We were delighted to have in attendance on the night, four graduates from the very first MBA class of 1966, Tom Toner, Jack Hayes, Gerry Curley and Brian Gregory. Their presence at the ball very much contributed to the marking of this significant anniversary.

A short video was produced to mark the occasion and features contributions from MBA students and staff, recounting their memories of the programme and discussing the programme’s origins and founding years in the 1960s. This documentary can be viewed by clicking here.

Photos from the Gala Ball can viewed here.

Read more on the ‘The MBA Blog’.

UCD Festival – Saturday 18th June 2016

The inaugural UCD Festival took place on Saturday, 18 June 2016 at the Belfield Campus. It was a hugely successful day, enjoyed by one and all. There was a fantastic buzz around campus, with an estimated 6,000 people in attendance over the course of the day. We were delighted to have so many of our alumni, staff, the local community and friends of UCD visit the campus to experience the enormous variety of talks, exhibitions, theatrical performances, live music, interactive workshops and family entertainment.

At the Quinn School of Business we enjoyed a packed schedule of insightful and thought-provoking contributions from a number of high performing executives and UCD alumni throughout the course of the day.

In the morning, Killian Stokes, Founder of, kicked off proceedings with an interactive lecture on the coffee and chocolate trade in Africa. Our second session, ‘Be Inspired: Top Business Tips in Ten Minutes’ saw Grainne Barron, Viddyad; Aengus Kelly, AerCap; Keira Kennedy, KDK; Denis Hickie, ATAGroup; and Darren Cunningham, Inflection Biosciences take to the stage to share their leadership and business tips with those attending. Maeve Houlihan kindly moderated this inspiring session. Following that, Hugh McGuire, CEO Glanbia Performance Nutrition, in conversation with Damien McLoughlin, shared insights on how Glanbia have set about building the world’s largest global sports nutrition company, one brand at a time.

After some lunch and the Ireland vs. Belgium soccer game (the less said about this the better!) those attending had an opportunity to hear from the inspirational Breege O’Donoghue, Board Member & Group Director, Business Development & New Markets at Penneys/Primark, and her colleague Ann Marie Cregan, Director of Buying about the impressive growth and expansion of the Pennys/Primark brand since its first store was opened in Dublin in 1969. Today, Pennys have 315 stores and operate in 11 countries (including the United States) with plans afoot to open an additional 5 stores in the United States before the end of 2016. Damien McLoughlin also facilitated this interactive discussion.

Proceedings in the Quinn School of Business concluded with a craft beer tasting experience in the Atrium which was facilitated by Vanguard Beer Collective. Those attending had an opportunity to taste a variety of craft beers from breweries located right across Ireland. This session was very well received by staff and students alike.

Photos from the UCD Festival, School of Business events can be viewed here.

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