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Congratulations to Doireann Sheelan, a DCU Executive MBA student, who received a Special Award for her individual contribution at the recent MBA Association of Ireland Strategy Challenge competition, held recently at Waterford Institute of Technology.

Doireann was part of team, with fellow Executive MBA Students Kalum King, Neil Curran and James Cannon, who presented on the case study “Turkish Airlines – Widen Your World”. While they did not win the competition (the prize went to WIT) they acquitted themselves admirably receiving great praise from the judges for the depth of their analysis.

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DCU Executive MBA Team (Kalum King, Neil Curran and James Cannon)

This annual competition, hosted by the MBA Association of Ireland (MBAAI), attracts entrants from all the universities and institutes of technology in Ireland that run MBA programmes. Peter McNamara, Professor of Management & Head of School at NUI Maynooth, and Chairperson of the competition, commented: “All four of the teams did a very good job of analysing the case and making recommendations, especially under considerable time pressure.”

The DCU Executive MBA is now recruiting ambitious participants for September 2016.

For more information, visit postgrad.dcu.ie/mba or  email mba@dcu.ie.

 

Pictured is the DCU MBA team with the MBA Association of Ireland President Alacoque McMenamin,

As the business world continues to recover from the ravages of the recent recession, many experts now warn that we are far from returning to a business-as-usual scenario. Whether it is Rita Gunther McGrath of Columbia Business School telling us that we have entered a new “transient advantage” era, Joseph Badaracco of Harvard calling it a new “Schumpeterian” recombinant economy or Scott Anthony of Innosight (Clayton Christensen’s consultancy arm) terming it the “great disruption,” few expect the old assumptions and formulas that brought success in the past to continue to be effective in the coming decades.

Richard Dobbs, James Manyika and Jonathan Woetzel of McKinsey have just published a new book called No Ordinary Disruption (New York: Public Affairs, 2015) in which they have identified “the four global forces breaking all the trends.” The four are (1) the shifting locus of economic activity and dynamism to emerging markets like China and India, and, more particularly, to about 400-500 cities within those markets, in what they call a “new age of urbanization”; (2) the acceleration in the scope, scale, and economic impact of technology, where the effects of ongoing, rapid advances in processing power and connectivity are being amplified by the big data revolution, the mobile Internet and the “proliferation of new technology-enabled business models;” (3) global demographics and the aging of the human population, where more than 60% of the world’s people already live in countries with fertility rates that have fallen below replacement rates; and (4) ever-increasing global economic interconnectedness and the  expansion in the flows of capital, people and information associated with it, where “south-south” flows between emerging markets have doubled their share of global trade over the last ten years. Taken together, these four shifts are producing “monumental change.”

To take just three examples of how rapidly and radically the world as we have known it up to recently is being transformed, in December 2014 “Cyber Monday” generated $2.65B in online shopping, but just a few weeks earlier on November 11th, China’s “Singles Day,” Alibaba recorded the world’s highest ever single day e-commerce trading total of $9.3B; earlier, in February 2014, Facebook acquired a 5-year old start-up for an amazing $19.3B, and in September 2014, the Indian Space Research Organization successfully put a spacecraft into orbit around Mars, and for a total cost of only $74M, less than it took to produce the award-winning film, Gravity.

The big implication from No Ordinary Disruption is that all CEOs and corporate strategists will have to learn to “reset” the intuitions that up to now have been guiding their perceptions about future opportunities and challenges. “We have to rethink the assumptions that drive our decisions on such crucial issues as consumption, resources, labour, capital and competition.” According to the McKinsey authors, the era we have already entered is full of promise, but also more volatile and “deeply unsettling,” and for business leaders, the intellectual integrity to be willing and able to see the world as it really is, and the humility and persistence to keep learning, have never been more needed. The recent past is no longer a reliable guide to even the next 5 to 10 years, and imagination, not just experience, is now at a premium.

Professor Brian Leavy is a Professor of Strategic Management at DCU Business School and teaches strategy on the Executive MBA programme. Prior to his academic career, he spent eight years as a manufacturing engineer with Digital Equipment Corporation, now part of Hewlett Packard. Brian’s teaching and research interests centre on strategic leadership, competitive analysis and strategy innovation, and he has published over 80 articles, chapters and book reviews on these topics, nationally and internationally. 

To learn more about the Executive MBA click here

To attend our upcoming taster evening click here

Recent research conducted at MIT and Harvard University found that organisations with successful digital strategies were 26% more profitable than their industry competitors and generated 9% higher revenue from their employees and physical assets’ (Westermann et al, 2014).  In an age of disruptive technologies, constant global and organizational change, and the fast-paced erosion of competitive advantage, the implementation of a successful digital strategy promises enormous returns on investment for management.  McKinsey estimates that digital technologies have the potential to unlock between $900 billion-$1.3 trillion in value for work organizations (Bughin et al, 2012).

Digital strategies refer to the deployment of information technology (IT) systems, which combine social media tools, e.g. Facebook and Yammar, mobile computer applications, e.g. smartphones and tablets, and virtual data analytics, e.g. cloud computing, to leverage organizational value.  Successful digital strategies are allowing organisations to transform their entire customer experience, exploit greater value from organizational operations, and create new business models that reorder value chains and offer sustained competitive advantage.

Yet, despite such promises we know very little about successful digital strategy implementation, the key challenges organizations are confronted with in introducing digital technologies or the choices management must make to align customer and organizational needs with digital capabilities in order to maximize return on investment.  Considering the potential yields for ROI cited above, it is important that organizational leaders can embrace the opportunities inherent in a digital era whilst avoiding the pitfalls that can be disguised in such opportunities.

In order to answer some of these questions and further explore digital opportunities for Irish companies, last November the DCU Executive MBA programme, as part of the Enterprise Engagement module, visited digital companies in the San Francisco bay area.  Throughout the week our MBAs met with digital leaders from innovative companies such as RocketSpace, OnlyCoin, Cloudflare, and WePay and from more established technology-based companies such as Oracle, Salesforce, and Google.

dcu mba international trip

A key learning across all visits was the importance for organizations to rethink how their strategies can be leveraged to yield digital advantage.  Digital leaders need to move beyond the pursuit of a sustainable competitive advantage and recognize the transformative and ubiquitous nature of digital in restructuring organizational boundaries and hierarchies, recreating entirely new business processes, and creating a porous synergy between all organizational and societal stakeholders in order to support new value propositions and the development of a more transient approach to strategic advantage.

John Loonam is a Lecturer in Management on the Executive MBA Programme at DCU Business School.  He is currently a Special Issue Senior Editor on “Enterprise Social Systems & Organizational Change” with the Journal of Information Technology.

To download the Executive MBA brochure, fill out this quick form:

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[pullquote]“The secret of getting ahead is getting started”. (Mark Twain)[/pullquote]

Wow! It’s hard to believe that we’ve managed to find our way through semester one of year one of our Executive MBA in DCU Business School.

Three months ago the thoughts of returning to college on a part-time basis was a quite daunting prospect, not only from a work-life balance perspective, which was among the predominant concerns of my fellow MBA classmates, but from an academic point of view, where the very thoughts of “Harvard referencing” sent a shiver down my spine.

Despite the significant consideration that went into applying to commence the programme, the reality is that nothing can prepare you for that first term, when work and college commitments collide, forcing you in the early hours of a Monday evening to question the very reasons you took on the challenge.

A colleague on the course tells a story about how, when he was considering applying, everyone he spoke to including past graduates, spoke in glowing terms about the Executive MBA and recommended without hesitation that he sign-up to the class.

Once enrolled however, the tune changed, where those very same advocates of the course told him that he was beginning a process that may well prove to be the toughest two years of his life!

On both fronts, arguably his advisors got it right. For sure the last 12 weeks of lectures and assignments have tested the staying power, and the Christmas break was like the proverbial calm before the storm, as the January exam schedule loomed large on the horizon and DCU library became almost like a second home for close on three weeks.

But the flip side of these stresses and strains, and quiet clearly why any past graduate would recommend an Executive MBA, has its foundations in the relevance of the modules that we completed during our first semester.

Week on week the professionalism and depth of expert lecturing meant that the theory presented every Thursday evening was almost immediately transferable to the work place first thing Friday morning.

Working in financial services the Accounting for Decision-Making module offered the most relevance from a practical point of view, and provided me with a significant amount of detail on hot topics in business lending and financial ratios. This led to an early morning training session with one of the business teams in North Dublin.

In conjunction with this a number of the assignments were based on delving into past events or assessing current work practices and forced us, both individually and within groups, to apply our learning in the most practical sense. The Organisational Behaviour module opened my eyes to the fact that great leaders aren’t born, but are effectively a continual work in progress who strive to get the best from their people, a simple concept perhaps, but clearly one that is extremely difficult to nail down.

The satisfaction from these submissions (though the process was daunting) lies in the fact that by stretching ourselves to understand a particular event or practice we are in fact responding to what is essentially the underlying current of the Executive MBA; personal development.

So with one semester down and three to go we can approach our second semester in DCU Business School with a little less fear and perhaps a mild sense of calm!

This post was written by Coman Goggins, a first year Executive MBA participant. To download the MBA brochure, fill in your details below:

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The National Transport Authority (NTA) has appointed Anne Graham, an Executive MBA Graduate of DCU, as its new chief executive.

Anne, a chartered engineer, previously served as director of public transport services within the authority.

She has also worked as an area manager in the southwest area of Dublin city and with local authorities in Dublin as a civil engineer.

DCU Business School wish her every success in this new role!

Find out more about the DCU Executive MBA

We are delighted to announce that we are holding an Information Session for our leading part-time Postgraduate Programme in Human Resource Strategies, this Wednesday at 5.45pm. This is a great opportunity to meet with current students and graduates of the course and DCU Business School faculty. You will also have the opportunity to attend a taster session on ‘Leadership challenges for HR Managers‘ delivered by Professor Patrick Flood.

The Irish HR landscape has dramatically changed over the past few years, so for this reason, DCU Business School has extensively updated the MSc in Human Resource Strategies programme.  The programme, which has been running since 1997, has established a reputation as the leading programme in Ireland for managers and professionals who are interested in pursuing a strategic approach to human resource issues in their organisations. It has attracted a wide variety of participants including human resource professionals and consultants, training and development professional, and employee relations specialists, in addition to line managers and those involved in managing their own companies.

The focus of the programme is closely aligned with CIPD’s HR professional map and contributes towards the development of the behaviours required to undertake key leadership roles in organisations. This will be achieved by a focus on the following areas:

  • Organisational Behaviour and Change
  • Talent Management
  • Strategic Human Resource Management and Employee Engagement
  • Employee Relations and Employment Law
  • Strategic Management
  • International HRM
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Coaching and Mentoring
  • Research and Consulting Project

The tools and techniques that are used during the programme enable participants to gain insights into, and feedback on, their strengths and weaknesses in an environment that is removed from the political issues that may predominate in their own work organisations. These tools many include methods to explore learning styles, creativity and innovation, systems thinking, leadership profiles and team-working.

The MSc in Human Resource Strategies programme equips managers and professionals with the competencies needed to take on challenging roles in turbulent times. These competencies drive other skills and abilities including creativity, mental agility, balanced learning habits and self-knowledge. These higher level competencies are particularly critical for success at senior management level and are crucial to establishing personal credibility. A participant in the programme is therefore not only embarking on an education programme but is also engaging in a management development process that is designed to enhance personal learning and development.

If you would like more information about the course and our upcoming Information Session, just complete the form below:

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