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Upward trend in healthcare professionals taking MBA and MSc Management programmes

  • Date: Tue, Feb 28, 2023

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

UCD Smurfit School programmes enhance leadership and business skills for those looking to advance their careers or explore new opportunities.

“If you are an early or mid-career healthcare professional looking to advance your career and gain essential leadership and management skills, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School has two programmes that will provide a transformational learning and development experience,” said Professor Gerardine Doyle, Associate Dean of UCD College of Business and Director of UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. 

UCD Smurfit School’s Modular Executive MBA programme and the new Masters in Management Online programme offer comprehensive business, leadership and management education without requiring participants to put their careers on hold because of the highly flexible delivery modes and innovative curriculum and materials.

UCD Smurfit School MBA Programme

“An MBA allows healthcare professionals to gain insights into cutting-edge research and thought leadership, enabling them to become effective influencers who can contribute to making positive change and enhance the value of the healthcare we deliver in Ireland,” continued Professor Doyle who is also the co-chair of the UCD university strategic theme ‘Building a Healthy World’.  

Ranked 69th in the world by the prestigious Financial Times in the 2022 Global Executive MBA Rankings, UCD Smurfit School’s Modular Executive MBA allows participants to expand their personal development and hone their leadership skills. With typically two intensive days on campus each month, the programme is the flexible choice for those with busy professional schedules or for those who live outside of Dublin. Participants gain insights into world-leading research in each of the business disciplines, taught by a team of international faculty who stimulate an environment of discussion in the classroom. 

“We have seen an upward trend in healthcare professionals in our MBA and other MSc Management programmes including GPs, pharmacists, nurses, specialist surgeons and hospital administrators. When asked why they are pursuing an MBA, they respond that they  want to enhance their leadership skills and grow their business acumen. Skills that may have received little focus while completing their medical degree, but are essential in healthcare leadership,” continued Professor Doyle, a pharmacologist who then trained and worked as a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser.

The programme also offers valuable insights for those looking to change their career trajectory or advance from their current role. 

Dr Fardod O’Kelly is a Consultant Paediatric and Adolescent Urological Surgeon at Beacon Hospital and UPMC Kildare and an Assistant Professor in UCD and RCSI, who completed his MBA in 2022.  

"I'd spent so long focusing on sharpening my clinical and research skills, that I realised I'd had no exposure to business in medical school or during my postgraduate training," said Dr O’Kelly.

"I decided to do the MBA, first and foremost, as I was breaking new ground in Ireland as a paediatric urologist and, essentially, setting up a business and unit. Issues between clinical staff and hospital management occur because we have different focuses and speak different languages and I wanted to find a way to bridge those gaps. I needed business acumen and knowledge on how to become an effective leader and to provide value to my patients and their families, as well as using it to drive research.”

“During the MBA, I was taught by academics who are world-renowned researchers in their areas of expertise including strategic thinking, management and leadership. I had the opportunity to apply the learnings in real-time as I continued to practice urology while completing my degree. It was eye-opening to see the difference the programme made.”

“In addition, my classmates came from very different industry backgrounds and the diverse opinions and experiences in the classroom provoked challenging and enriching conversations,” continued Dr O’Kelly. 

“This broadened my approach to critical conversations and helped me to understand different aspects of organisational behaviour. It was truly invaluable and I can’t wait to continue working and collaborating with UCD Smurfit School in the future.”

Dr O’Kelly was recently awarded the prestigious Student of the Year Award at the AMBA & BGA Excellence Awards, which recognise a student who has shown exceptional career potential and who AMBA believes can act as an ambassador for the high quality of accredited MBAs and the opportunities these programmes provide for students from a wide range of different personal and professional backgrounds.

“A trailblazer in his field, Dr O'Kelly continued to practise medicine throughout his Executive MBA studies at UCD Smurfit School,” said Professor Doyle. As an active researcher in healthcare, as well as business, she understands the value that good business and leadership practices can have to positively impact society.

“With his new business acumen, Fardod developed a thriving new surgical practice during COVID, and a new public-private partnership to allow access to surgery for children in the west/south of Ireland.” Dr O’Kelly has also been invited to be a member of several European urological boards as an expert in his field and has continued to research and publish.

Masters in Management Online

New to the market in 2023, the MSc in Management Online offers an in-depth understanding of key business disciplines and the necessary problem-solving and leadership skills to support a student’s professional growth. It is facilitated by leading faculty and corporate experts who bring a range of experiences and industry-relevant know-how to the curriculum.

“This programme is suited for professionals in demanding careers and those with busy schedules for whom time flexibility is important,” said the Academic Director of the programme, Assistant Professor Tedi Skiti. 

The two-year, part-time programme offers a highly flexible, online delivery mode which offers students the opportunity to avail of a UCD Smurfit School programme at a time and place suitable for them. 

It is ideal for individuals from non-business backgrounds looking to explore new business opportunities or to accelerate their careers,” continued Dr Skiti whose research focuses on strategy, technology management and innovation.

“This programme offers a broad range of theoretically rigorous and practically relevant business knowledge and skills,” said Dr Skiti. “Students will have expanded their analytical capacity to comprehend and assess real-life business challenges in both local and international settings. In addition, by working in groups and participating in a range of extracurricular seminars, students will be encouraged to develop their personal and professional skills”.

Personalised academic support is provided to orient and help students navigate the online learning experience. The programme will also provide opportunities for students to build relationships within the UCD Smurfit School community and avail of additional opportunities for co-curricular activities including the Global Leadership Programme and the UCD Advantage.

“Our mission as Ireland’s leading business school is to empower, develop, and inspire current and future leaders with the knowledge, critical thinking skills, global perspectives and confidence to achieve their full potential,” concluded Professor Doyle. “UCD College of Business has been educating business leaders at UCD for more than 100 years and we will continue to innovate and to lead responsibly with purpose and impact.”

Learn more about the UCD Smurfit School MBA and MSc in Management Online and speak to an Admissions representative today. 


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