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Push the boundaries of your career with an MBA from UCD Smurfit school

  • Date: Mon, Feb 8, 2021

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For many people returning to education can be a daunting prospect, we caught up with Jacqueline Robinson, EMBA graduate and General Manager at St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network, to learn more about her experience at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School:

Could you tell us what prompted you to study at UCD Smurfit School?

During my time in St. James's Hospital I had some amazing mentors. I was working as a clinical pharmacist but had the opportunity to develop a prescribing app at a time when this was relatively new in Ireland. The project combined with my experience in the NHS prompted me to think about transitioning into a management role away from the patient facing environment. The CEO at the time suggested that an MBA from Smurfit would provide me with the skills and confidence to make the transition and the rest is history!

You’ve likely heard of the new, part-time Executive MBA offering from Smurfit — how do you think this more flexible option might assist women in particular?

When I completed the MBA, I took the Midweek Executive option. I did not have children. Three children later and I have a new found respect for my classmates who completed the course with children added into the mix.

I think the new option will really increase flexibility for all busy people whether they are parents or carers, soon to be parents or sports enthusiasts for that matter! All these additional commitments can be a barrier to embarking on an MBA but the reality is the MBA is so enriching it will ultimately improve your ability to multitask and give you the confidence to take on more challenges than you ever thought were possible.

You’re currently General Manager at St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network — how do you think the Executive MBA assisted you in getting there?

For me, aside from providing me with a solid knowledge base in the core areas of management, the MBA was invaluable in teaching me about teamwork. The course forced me to learn how to depend on other team members with expertise outside of my own. That was not always a comfortable experience but it resulted in a lot of personal growth. I could not manage an organisation on the scale of St. Luke's without fully understanding what it means to be a team player.

Did you know that that was where you wanted to get to in your career before or during the time of the MBA?

I knew I wanted to step up into a management role at some point. Working with such a range of professionals on the course made me think about broader healthcare management roles. And importantly, my experience on the course gave me the confidence to believe I could step up into the bigger roles and push outside of my pharmacy comfort zone.

Did the MBA help in showing you career paths and opportunities that may have not occurred to you at the time?

Yes, I never dreamed I could manage a team of porters, nurses, or accountants for that matter but the MBA showed me that I could bring something useful to the table when dealing with all kinds of staff and team members.

What would you say to someone who is currently in two minds/unsure as to whether to opt to study at Smurfit for the Executive MBA?

I would say go for it! It is a thoroughly enriching experience, you will learn as much from your classmates as you do from the course material. And, you will learn a lot about yourself in the process! Being part of the UCD Smurfit School Executive MBA opened so many doors for me and continues to do so as part of the alumni network.When I met my classmates initially, I was overwhelmed by their achievements. I remember feeling out of my depth and doubting my ability to keep up with the course material and indeed add anything of value to discussions both within and outside of the classroom. Now I am confident I can learn from and indeed teach something new to professionals I meet from all walks of life.

Considering a return to education?

We've got just the thing. are thrilled to be partnering with UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School to offer a 100% MBA scholarship worth up to €31,900 for the NEW modular, two-year, part-time Executive MBA.

This unique and life-changing chance is perfect for MBA applicants in Ireland who are on the hunt for a more flexible part-time EMBA. In particular, this new offering may suit women who are short of time, busy in their careers, and who are entrepreneurs.

This article was written by Niamh Maher and first appeared on


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