In this blog, Kalum King (MBA1) shares his experience of year 1 of the DCU Executive MBA programme:

With the first year of the MBA at DCU now drawing to a close, it feels like the perfect time to reflect on the journey I have been through since the course commenced in September 2015. Like many, I was intrigued by the prospect of what the MBA program at DCU could offer me in terms of knowledge and experience.

My MBA journey commenced with an ‘Induction’ in early September. After the initial meeting with the rest of the class it was clear to me that this was going to be a unique opportunity for us all and would provide an excellent opportunity to learn from each other in a very comfortable but challenging learning environment.

I had often heard that the MBA experience is not just about the lectures, the assignments and exams, but that a key aspect of the experience is the interaction and knowledge sharing with your fellow students. The mix of personalities and calibre of my fellow students was impressive and they had experience within a wide range of industries from the armed forces to pharmaceuticals. The ‘Induction’ was a great way for everyone to transition onto the course and a great opportunity to get to know the group you would be spending the next two years with.

With the ‘Induction’ now over and everyone now comfortable (ish!) with referencing, so began the Semester 1 modules of Marketing, Organisational Behaviour & Change and Accounting for Decision Making. Marketing was a very enjoyable and interesting module, and probably the one I learnt the most from in terms of practical application to the business I work for. A key aspect of this module was a group presentation to be delivered to the lecturer and the rest of the class. My group found ourselves tackling the subject of ‘Digital Technology in the Luxury Goods Market’ and for which we scored relatively well on. Not bad I thought for a group that consisted of people from a range of industries that included public sector, pharmaceuticals and building materials! Straight away the class found themselves being challenged in a healthy way that would ultimately enhance our knowledge base of the subject.

Organisational Behaviour & Change was next up covering key business concepts such as, organisational culture, transformational leadership and (everybody’s favourite!) power. The delivery of this topic by the lecturer was a key highlight for the class. The lecturer’s friendly and natural teaching style really brought the course to life for us all and was very enjoyable indeed.

As a Chartered Accountant myself and having completed many years of study on the subject I must admit I wasn’t thrilled by the prospect of the Accounting for Decision Making module. However, I was impressed by the lecturer’s ability to break down difficult accounting concepts into bite-size chunks for the class and I felt the class responded very well to this approach. I think everyone made it through the class okay!

A couple of exams in January 2016 brought Semester 1 to a close and after a short break Semester 2 commenced.

The topics in Semester 2 included Business Economics, Business Strategy and Managing People & Organisations. Business Economics was an extremely interesting module but highly challenging as well, as we all tried to get our heads round the intricacies of the Irish and Global economy (and this was before ‘Brexit’ !!).

Within the Business Strategy module the class encountered what must be considered as one of the most unique and effective learning tools, known as the ‘Airline Simulation’. This simulation exercise consisted of the groups competing against each other by setting up an airline company (and strategy) and trying to effectively deliver on the company’s strategy within the simulation itself. It really is a brilliant experience and gave opportunity for some groups to obtain ‘bragging rights’ (all in good humour of course!) which I felt added to the overall learning experience.

The final module was Managing People & Organisations which I felt really developed my understanding and thinking process in relation to the topic. By the end of the module I had definitely become a firm supporter of the emerging ‘Evidence Based’ approach to the subject.

I must also mention the fantastic ‘Residency Weekend’ as part of the Enterprise Engagement module. In February 2016 we visited a number of companies in Cork which was a great experience. The companies we visited included Dairygold, Wisetek and Voxpro who kindly facilitated a tour and visit from the class which was a great opportunity for us all and very much appreciated.

Overall, I would describe my experience of the MBA program at DCU as unique, challenging and thoroughly enjoyable. Throughout my first year I have been hugely impressed by the high quality of the program and the overall learning experience from the lecturers to the interaction with my fellow students.

Finally, I would encourage anyone intrigued by what an MBA program can offer to attend one of the ‘taster’ courses held in the DCU Business School. I expect you will be as impressed as I was and I look forward to seeing you next year.

– Kalum King, MBA1

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