As an EMBA participant, you will build on your previous experience and gain practical skills in 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

The programme is structured over two years during which time you will complete core modules, a major project and the opportunity to take modules in locations across the globe. We place particular emphasis on developing your leadership skills through our bespoke ‘Leadership & Employability Advancement Programme (LEAP)’ which wraps around your academic learning. The Executive LEAP programme promotes the development of skills and competencies required by business leaders. 

Delivered part-time over two years with classes on campus once a month, Friday and Saturday 8.30am – 6.30pm during term time and with a number of week-long modules. Dates are locked in and modules are typically spread out evenly over the course of the two year programme.

On Campus Class Hours


Friday and Saturday

(with a number of week-long modules)

8.30am - 6.30pm


Programme Structure Summary

Year One Year Two
  • 6 days Foundation Week (2 days orientation & 4 academic days)
  • 2 additional days Executive LEAP (December and May)
  • 8 core modules (160 hours face to face classroom hours) 
  • 32 online hours (4hours per module)
  • 1-week optional travel summer module (additional cost for this module)
  • Ongoing dedicated MBA careers support
  • 4 days Foundation
  • 2 additional days Executive LEAP (December and May)
  • 7 core modules (140 hours face to face classroom hours) 
  • 28 online hours (4 hours per module)
  • 1 optional travel module  (additional cost for this module)
  • 1 optional GNAM Network week travel module
  • 1 final Capstone Project – live company project
  • Ongoing dedicated MBA careers support


Curriculum Overview

Year One

 Year Two


Leadership and Employability Advancement Programme (LEAP)

Global in focus, Executive LEAP is designed to support managers and senior specialists to make successful career transitions to executive roles, 
building their capability to lead diverse teams inclusively, and sustainably as the business world faces the leadership demands of the coming decades.

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.


Provisional Dates Year One 2024/2025

 Provisional Dates Year Two 2025/2026


Autumn Term

  • Foundation Week: Aug 21-22  (Year 1 Only)
  • Foundation Block: Aug 23-24 
  • Block 1: Sept 13-14
  • Block 2: Oct 11-12
  • Block 3: Nov 8-9
  • Executive LEAP Day: Dec 5
  • Block 4: Dec 6-7
  • Provisional Exam Day: Dec 14

Spring Term

  • Foundation Block: Jan 17-18
  • Block 1: Feb 7-8
  • Block 2: Mar 7-8
  • Block 3: Apr 4-5
  • Provisional Exam Day: May 10
  • Executive LEAP Day: May 15
  • Block 4: May 16-17
  • Study Tour (Y1 Only): May 25-31 TBC

Note: Each Block Module has a 4 hour online session which is held on a Saturday morning - normally 2 weeks prior to the Block Module.    

Autumn Term

  • Foundation Block: Aug 22-23
  • Block 1: Sept 19-20
  • Block 2: Oct 10-11
  • Block 3: Nov 7-8
  • Executive LEAP Day: Dec 4
  • Block 4: Dec 5-6
  • Provisional Exam Day: Dec 13

Spring Term

  • Foundation Block: Jan 16-17
  • Block 1: Feb 13-14
  • Study Tour (Y2 Only): Mar 8-14 TBC
  • Block 3: Apr 17-18
  • Provisional Exam Day: May 9
  • Executive LEAP Day: May 14 followed by Networking Social Event
  • Block 4: May 15-16
  • GNAM Week (Yr 2 Only): June 15 - 19

Note: Each Block Module has a 4 hour online session which is held on a Saturday morning - normally 2 weeks prior to the Block Module

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. 

EMBA participants can undertake the ‘Doing Business in International Markets’ option module in semester 2 of year 2 at an additional cost.  The tour combines high-level company visits, presentations and panel discussions from leading executives, government officials and entrepreneurs, all relevant to the core management disciplines. Key themes are developed from which to learn about the country's business and cultural landscape. Importantly, the Study Tour provides a fantastic opportunity for participants to spend time together and lay the foundation for strong future relationships. 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 Global Network of Advanced Management (GNAM) is a network of 32 of the world’s leading business schools.  GNAM week provides an opportunity for faculty and students to exchange ideas through short, one-week immersion programmes. The dedicated EMBA GIW currently takes place in June and is open to year 2 EMBA students.  Participants travel to a host institution for project work such as data collection, sharing case studies, and networking as part of a global team. 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. 

By developing a solution to a real problem faced by an organisation, students have the opportunity to improve their analytical, problem-solving and communication skills. The Capstone project helps students master the real challenge of applying diverse streams of knowledge acquired during their studies, combined with practical, real-world application. Prior to the start date, participants take part in various workshops to support the project process. 

This is a group project and is typically sourced from within a company or from an organisation to which one of the team members belongs. Assistance is provided to groups who cannot source a project themselves.

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, and 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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