Curriculum & Learning

As an MBA student, you will build on your previous experience and gain practical skills in emerging business topics, Finance, Strategy, Marketing, Accounting, Economics, Human Resources and Leadership among other disciplines. Our core academic programme adapts in tandem with the most up-to-date business and organisational thinking, enabled by research and consultative collaboration between faculty and industry.

MBA teaching is a dynamic mix of theory, implementation, guest speakers, group discussion and analysis, and experiential learning. Case studies, simulations, international study tours and capstone projects are used to build expertise and analytical skills. MBA assessments place a strong emphasis on team work and core skills. 

The programme is structured over 3 semesters during which time you will complete 15 core modules, 2 option modules, a major project and the opportunity to take modules in locations across the globe. Optional modules can be taken in autumn, spring and the summer term. The list of options evolves over time based on student feedback and the identification of new areas of interest.

UCD Smurfit School's Leadership and Employability Advancement Programme (LEAP) underpins the MBA Programme and is designed to support you wherever you are on your leadership and career journey.

Curriculum Overview

Please note that the table below is for indicative purposes only as modules are sometimes moved or replaced for academic reasons.

Autumn Trimester

Spring Trimester

Summer Trimester





  • MBA Welcome
  • Programme Orientation
  • Communications Skills
  • Intercultural Development
  • Effective Teamwork
  • Time & Task Management
  • Academic Preparation


Option Modules

Global Network Immersion Week at UCD


Option Modules



Option Modules

Leadership & Employability Advancement Programme (LEAP)

A holistic and unique approach to your professional development, with a dual focus on building your global leadership competence and future employability in the market. 

Extracurricular Activities

MBA Alumni Events • UCD Sports Clubs • MBA Blog • MBA Clubs • Networking Events • Thought Leadership Events


Please be advised that the above reflects the 2023/2024 curriculum structure and is subject to change each year.  Option modules listed are indicative of what has been delivered in previous years and are also subject to change.

The MBA International Study Tour takes place over one week in March and is part of the ‘Doing Business in International Markets’ module. The tour combines high-level company visits, presentations and panel discussions from leading executives, government officials and entrepreneurs, all relevant to core management disciplines. Key themes are developed from which to learn about the country's business and cultural landscape. It also provides an opportunity for participants to spend time together. The cost of the Study Tour is included in the MBA Programme fee.  Previous destinations have included Argentina, Scandinavia, Germany, and Italy.

The purpose of the International Consultancy Project Trip is to develop research knowledge and skills to solve live business problems faced by companies operating in international markets. Key topics include organisational diagnosis, data collection, data analysis, a foundational overview on the strategic and cultural nuances of operating in a specific market, strategic planning tools, project feasibility, and collaboration with clients. The overall module involves classroom learning and a live consulting project in an international location.  In this video, our 2017 MBA participants share their experience of the International Consulting Trip to Iceland.

"Our experience working with the MBA Students from UCD Smurfit School as part of the International Consulting Project 2019 was nothing short of what I would expect from a paid consultancy company. They dug deep to understand our challenges as a company and in the industry at large, and leveraged their personal skillsets and networks to add additional value in areas outside of the scope of work. The international growth strategy they presented us was concise, concrete, and actionable, with all the steps along the way clearly defined and considered."

Bruno Gavino, CEO Codedesign, Lisbon

The Global Network of Advanced Management (GNAM) is a network of 32 of the world’s leading business school providers.  GNAM week provides an opportunity for faculty and students to exchange ideas through short, one-week immersion programmes.  Participants travel to a host institution for project work such as data collection, sharing case studies, and networking as part of a global team. The dedicated FTMBA GIW currently takes place in October each year. Network institutions can also nominate high-achieving students for consideration in the highly selective Masters of Advanced Management programme at the Yale School of Management.

In 2019, Smurfit MBA students Grace Bergin, Ken Power and Siun Tobin created a Video Blog to document their experience at UC Berkeley as part of GNAM week. Watch the video to share in their experience on the programme, themed 'Innovation and Enterprise'.  

Full-time MBA participants have the opportunity to complete their MBA by undertaking an exchange period at one of our exchange partners abroad. We have exchange partners in Asia, India, South Africa, North America and South America (subject to availability).

An integral component of the MBA Programme is the MBA Capstone. Here we partner our MBA students with interested for-profit and not-for-profit companies to execute a valuable business project on their behalf. This is a genuine commitment and another example of participants applying their learning directly.

MBA participants can further enhance their learning and networking by becoming involved in a range of extracurricular activities.  This includes MBA events, MBA sports competitions, MBA Clubs (e.g. Entrepreneurship Club, Thought Leadership Club) and MBA Blog posting

By utilising a range of methods including lectures, seminars, guest speakers, practical projects, case studies and live case studies, the Smurfit MBA faculty encourage participants to draw on their own professional experience as they broaden their knowledge.  Assessment for the MBA is based on a combined grade for group assignments and presentations, individual projects, class participation and written examinations.  The exact assessment strategy varies by module at the discretion of the faculty member delivering it.  Graduates are given a GPA and level result.

The purpose of the MBA programme is to offer students with a well-rounded approach on business and management from the perspective of a general manager (Purpose).

The programme equips students with the skills and techniques required by a general manager from various business disciplines. The intention is to develop both within, and across functional discipline, knowledge (education and subject/discipline/professional values). The programme promotes an environment where: the material focuses on contemporary topics and challenges; students are encouraged to take ownership for their learning journey; learning is rooted in rigorous management research; and application of knowledge is encouraged (the nature of the learning environment for students).

In addition to lectures, students work individually and in small groups on business cases and assignments. Students are also exposed to skills training sessions, and presentations by visiting lecturers and practitioners. They are also required to undertake an international study trip (key approaches to teaching, learning and assessment).

On successful completion of the programme students should be able to:

Programme Goals:

Programme Learning Outcomes:

Programme Goal 1: To provide functional knowledge in the main areas of business and management  

Demonstrate and apply functional knowledge that is academically rigorous and practically relevant.

Demonstrate and apply cross-functional knowledge.

Programme Goal 2: To develop leadership capacity in our graduates  

Display strategic and interpersonal skills that are required for leadership positions in business or society.

Demonstrate social, ethical and cultural awareness.

Programme Goal 3: To develop a global mind-set  

Display the capacity to understand the opportunities and challenges of doing business across national boundaries.

Display an understanding of the latest business, social and technological trends from across the globe.

Programme Goal 4: To enable learning through practice  

Display the ability to solve real-world business problems and defend their choices among peers.

Demonstrate an ability to be effective in collaborative settings that are characterized by ambiguity and conflict.


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