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Why more and more non-business graduates are choosing to study at UCD Smurfit School

  • Date: Thu, Jul 1, 2021

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A global reputation for delivering an outstanding quality of education and producing the next generation of business leaders is just one of the many reasons why a growing number of non-business graduates are choosing to enhance their CVs with a postgraduate qualification from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

“Quite a number of our students come from non-business backgrounds,” says Elaine Aherne, head of student recruitment and admissions at UCD College of Business. “In 2020, 38 per cent of our [Smurfit] students came from arts and humanities, 19 per cent from Stem backgrounds, and 18 per cent from the social sciences. Overall, nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of our students have non-business qualifications.”

A Smurfit MSc can improve employability and attractiveness to employers, she adds.

“It helps to round out a graduate’s skillset. In some cases, they might want to move into the business area of their chosen discipline. For example, a biochemistry graduate might want to move into the business side of the healthcare sector. Each year we have a number of doctors on our MBA programmes. And 80 per cent of our programmes don’t require a business background.”

Smurfit masters programmes include everything from finance, marketing, HR, and project management to retail innovation and management strategy.

“Our MSc in management strategy attracts vets, nurses and doctors,” Aherne notes. “We see people with arts degrees doing the MSc in food business strategy and the MSc in retail innovation.

“We also get maths graduates with a quant background doing the MSc in finance, while our MSc in renewable energy and environment finance and MSc in aviation finance programmes attract students from a wide range of backgrounds.”

Range of programmes

UCD Smurfit School students also benefit from a range of personal, professional and leadership development programmes.

“We work very closely with business organisations and leading companies, and we get a lot of feedback in relation to the attributes companies are looking for,” Aherne says. “It’s not just about academic education. They are looking for creative leaders who think differently about the future.”

All Smurfit students are automatically enrolled in the intercultural development programme (ICD).

“This is unique to UCD,” says Aherne. “This is a research-driven programme which is designed to systematically develop key 21st-century skills including intercultural competence, communication, time and task management, conflict management, and working in traditional and virtual teams. It aims to optimise our students’ potential to succeed in and contribute to our diverse global society.”

UCD Smurfit School’s global leadership programme (GLP) offers students the opportunity to engage in a diverse range of co-curricular activities. Based on the three pillars of student leadership, workplace skills and career planning, the programme allows students to self-direct their own leadership development.

“It’s all about helping students become an impactful leader with a global mindset,” she explains. “The programme is designed to build students’ capacity for effective personal and organisational leadership.”

Triple crown accreditation

One of the main attractions for students from both Ireland and overseas is the UCD Smurfit School’s triple crown accreditation from AACSB in the US, EQUIS in Europe, and AMBA in the UK.

“We have held that accreditation for the past 20 years,” says Aherne. “We are also the only Irish member of the leading business school alliances CEMS and the Global Network for Advanced Management, which includes Yale and other leading business schools around the world. We are also the only Irish business school whose degrees are consistently ranked in the world’s top 100 by the Financial Times.

“This is recognition for our high standards. It also demonstrates how global we are. Our students are global, our partnerships are global, our teaching is global. That is very important in the Ireland of today with so many global companies located here.”

That global perspective is reflected not only in the high proportion of overseas students taking Smurfit programmes, but also in the school’s 95,000 alumni living in more than 100 countries around the world.

“Our alumni community comprises top professionals in local and international companies across a range of industries, from entrepreneurial ventures, advisory and financial services, retail, [and] technology to pharmaceuticals and aviation finance. It’s a very large network for our alumni to tap into. We also have a growing number of alumni volunteers who contribute to the school as mentors, guest speakers, course advisers and recruiters,” she notes.

Applications are currently open for courses. “We are always open to talking to people about their options. We have a special careers department for Smurfit postgraduate students. The minute you start your course you can begin to discuss your career plans,” Aherne says.

This article first appeared in The Irish Times on June 24 2021. Find the original article here.

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