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#61 UCD Smurfit MBA Program & Admissions Interview with Orla Nugent – “IQ, EQ & RQ”

Orla Nugent UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School MBA

“Our class size is small, typically around 40 students. We have a 2:1 ratio of academics to students so we get to know our students really well. And that allows us to match their needs as we go through the program to make sure we help them achieve their goals.”

About Our Guest

Orla Nugent is MBA Programmes Director at University College Dublin Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. Prior to joining Smurfit in 2007, Orla worked in a variety of roles for Price Waterhouse Cooper, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and the Bank of Ireland. She is also an Executive Coach and serves on numerous executive boards.

What is relatively unique about the Smurfit MBA? What are its key advantages?

  • Affordable tuition (€29,500), generous scholarships (~60% of students get funding), and an 11-month course make Smurfit a top choice for those looking for high ROI
  • Smurfit has a long history and strong relationships with corporates – the program has been running for over 50 years and UCD has over 60,000 alumni worldwide
  • Equal focus on IQ (courses), EQ (leadership development) and RQ (careers)
  • Strong in marketing & digital marketing, entrepreneurship and strategy
  • Only triple-accredited business school in Ireland; also ranked in top 100 by Financial Times for past 15 years
  • School and program have international focus

Potentially a good fit if:

  • You are looking for high return on investment – at 11 months and €29,500 tuition, Smurfit is one of the most affordable options in Europe, especially for a long-standing program with a 50 year history. Plus, ~60% of the class gets scholarships with the average reward amount ~€20,000 (this includes School Scholarship and Government Scholarships such as IDEAS for Vietnamese candidates and Mwangi for African candidates)
  • You want 1:1 attention at the faculty and career services level – Smurfit has a 2:1 faculty to student ratio and places importance on achieving a 90%+ graduate employment rate within 3 months
  • You’re interested in general management, marketing, and entrepreneurship and looking to get into consulting, tech, telecoms, pharma, corporate finance or entrepreneurship

Listen on for the insider’s scoop…

Touch MBA’s UCD Michael Smurfit MBA Fast Facts

Program Highlights (2:47)

  • The UCD MBA was launched in 1964
  • 1 intake / year in August
  • Length: 11 months
  • Campus is 10km South of Dublin, capital of Ireland
  • ~40 participants/intake
  • ~10 nationalities/intake, class is ~60% international
  • Program has 3 elements: Academic Curriculum (IQ), Leadership Development Program (EQ), and MBA Career Services (RQ)
  • 2:1 faculty to student ratio
  • Students rated Corporate Strategy & Marketing highest
  • Partnership with 4 exchange schools
  • Rankings: #91 Financial Times 2014, #68 Economist 2013
  • #14 Value for Money by Financial Times 2014
  • Accredited by AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA

Admissions (16:30)

  • Rolling admissions starting in Oct – July
  • Candidates encouraged to apply as early as possible; decisions are returned in about 5 weeks
  • 3 applicants per full-time place
  • Avg GMAT: 630, minimum score is 550 for Full-time MBA
  • Avg GPA: NA
  • Avg age: 30, Avg work experience: 6-7 years, 3 years min work experience required
  • Min TOEFL 120 (computer), 90 (internet), IELTS: 6.5
  • Interviews done by Admissions Committee or Smurfit Alumni; expect “robust” questions on your motivations and expectations for the program
  • Looking for candidates who are hungry to learn, curious, open-minded, eager to make a difference, and who can learnf from their failures

Financing (28:58)

  • Full-time MBA Tuition:€29,500, roughly $37,200 USD
  • Recommended budget:€17,600, roughly $22,200 USD
  • 60% of participants awarded scholarships, 27% are fully-funded and 30% are partially funded
  • Tips for scholarships: apply early and with your strongest GMAT score (650+ encouraged)
  • Average scholarship amount is €20,000 (this includes School Scholarship and Government Scholarships such as IDEAS for Vietnamese candidates and Mwangi for African candidates)

Career (31:37)

  • Smurfit MBA – Full-time placement report (none)
  • 93% of graduates had jobs within 3 months of graduation
  • Average Salary for Class of 2012: $103,900
  • Graduates in 2012 experienced 63% increase in salary
  • Top 5 industries: technology/digital media 20%, finance 15%, consulting 14%, food & drink 14%, entrepreneurship 13%
  • 3,500 MBA alumni; UCD has over 60,000 worldwide in 100 countries
  • Graduates can apply to extend visa for 1 year

Get in Touch

  • Connect with MBA students, alumni or admissions office through

Show Notes


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