I completed my Executive MBA in the summer of 2015 at DCU. It was a great experience and our class comprised a spectacular bunch of people. Before I start to explain what life has been like post the MBA, I would like to acknowledge what a great experience it was. It certainly tests you on all levels – it tests your time management, it tests your productivity, it tests your ability to be part of a team, it tests your leadership – but the end result is highly rewarding.
During my MBA studies I was a Director of Research in Dublin with 16 direct reports the majority of which are PhDs. A couple of months after completing the MBA I moved to New Jersey to take on new responsibilities at our research headquarters. At that time Bell Labs (and our mother company Alcatel-Lucent) was becoming part of a new parent company (Nokia) and in that time there was a lot of flux and changes in management and structure. I was promoted up one level in the organization and I am now responsible for 50 people across 3 different research departments spanning everything from audio visual research, to photonics integration & packaging, to efficient energy transfer research.
With respect to how the DCU MBA helped me personally and in my career progression – the MBA gave me a much better sense of my strengths and areas for growth. Because I am in research I don’t get to explicitly use many of the elements thought in the MBA (for example, marketing, finance, accounting etc) but the fact that I have the fundamental leanings from the MBA program means I now have the ability to engage those skills at any moment and in any context. More importantly, and in my particular case, going through 2 years of extracurricular activity while also holding my day job, was viewed by senior management as extremely positive. They saw that I am serious about my personal growth and career progression and that I am willing to go many extra miles to be as good as I can be and use those growth experiences to help the company. I commenced the DCU Executive MBA programme for personal growth and to try and bring in business best practice into a research environment.
Since moving to the U.S I have been asked to lead many large projects and I have been given much broader responsibility beyond the 3 departments I am directly responsible for. I think there are a few reasons for this but for sure the things I learned during my MBA, especially in the team aspects, have stood me in good stead. I am now also responsible for driving new site initiatives at our research head quarters in New Jersey and part of this role is to help build the Bell Labs brand by collaborating with external partners. One example of this work is shown below where we engaged in activities called Experiments in Arts and Technology (E.A.T). This is a gathering where technologists interact and collaborate with artists to help develop more advanced technology by pushing the limits of how we view the world and how our technology can be used to help humanity.