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



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 • GNAM Network Online Courses • GNAM Immersion Week 


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, Italy and Singapore.

Read our Smurfit MBA Blog in which students Caitrín O'Leary and Sagar Srichand Purswani team up to give a taste of the module during their study tour to Singapore.

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. 

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.

View the Video Blog created by former Smurfit MBA students Grace Bergin, Ken Power and Siun Tobin, documenting their experience at UC Berkeley as part of GNAM week. 

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 Competencies


Programme Learning Outcomes

The MBA programme enhances participants ability to:

Programme Competency 1:

To provide functional knowledge in the main areas of business and management

Programme Learning Outcome 1a:

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

Programme Learning Outcome 1b:

Develop a cross-functional, cross-disciplinary holistic view of the entire organisation.

Programme Competency 2:

To develop leadership capacity in our graduates

Programme Learning Outcome 2a:

Optimise readiness and competitiveness for post-programme employment.



Programme Learning Outcome 2b:

Develop a heightened self-awareness of behavioural competence strengths and developmental needs benchmarked against their peers in the market.  


Programme Learning Outcomes 2c:

Critically appreciate the complex and multi-dimensional relationship between business and society, understanding the interdependence of organisational and sustainable development goals.

Programme Competency 3:

To develop a global mind-set

Programme Learning Outcome 3a:

Critically appreciate the opportunities and challenges of doing business across national boundaries and cross-cultural settings. 


Programme Learning Outcome 3b:

Develop a heightened awareness of challenges of (and responses to) global issues, including but not limited to such as the shifting geopolitical landscape, climate change and demands for sustainability, digital transformation, and regulation.


Programme Competency 4:

To enable learning through practice

Programme Learning Outcome 4a:

Develop a capacity to solve real-world business problems, make decisions based on complex information, and defend their choices among peers.


Programme Learning Outcome 4a:

Demonstrate the ability to work effectively, in an inclusive fashion, as part of a diverse team to deliver results.


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