Chris Lawlor: A Year in the Life of an MBA – DCU Executive MBA Insight Series
MBA student Chris Lawlor
Chris Lawlor, Programme Manager at Google
MBA 2017 – 2019
It was probably May 2017 when I started to think about doing an MBA. I was at a stage in my career and life where I felt that I needed to invest more time in myself and in particular increase my knowledge in business and leadership. The Executive MBA in DCU caught my eye as was very much focused on leadership development and practical learning. I was both nervous and excited to return to university. In one hand it was an open door full of new possibilities but on the other hand it was 15 years since I had been in DCU and I questioned could I get back into the study-assignment-exam routine.
September came quickly with the start of the MBA. There was an introductory week before the commencement of the actual semester. This week put some of my concerns at ease – it was an opportunity to meet the rest of the class and understand the journey ahead. There were simple things like introduction to the library services, classes to assist in assignment writing, clear schedule of classes/assignments to allow you to plan your time.
Fast forward nine months and I have just completed the semester two exams. The first year has gone by in a flash. Having time to come up for air and reflect on the year – was it what I had expected? The answer is yes and then some.
To be honest, the academics come secondary to the relationships you form as part of the MBA. The class we have is an amazing group. Through group assignments, class debates, enterprise trips you really get to forge strong relationships. Networking is important but I know I have made friends for life already. The practical nature of the course allows you to bring items you learn in class into the real world. Both the cultural and strategic assignments we completed on our organisations were of real value for both myself and the senior management team in my organisation.
My expectations from the course at the start were (1) To be challenged (2) Improve my business and leadership skills (3) Meet new people (4) support my career aspirations. For me all boxes have a massive tick against them and it’s only the end of year one. I changed companies during the year – an added stress to an already packed year. For those who might be thinking about doing the MBA but also looking at changing roles/companies and deciding if both can be done? It is a challenge but the support from the MBA faculty and the MBA class is superb.
I am looking forward to the break over the Summer and hitting year two head on. My advice to anyone considering the Executive MBA in DCU – it is a challenge, there will be times when you doubt yourself but the journey is one you will not regret.
About the DCU Executive MBA
The DCU Executive MBA is a two-year part-time programme, delivered one day per week, for executives with ambitions of becoming Senior Managers/CEOs. At DCU Business School we believe that the Executive MBA should be a transformative experience at a personal level.
The DCU Executive MBA is built on four foundational pillars;
Shape individuals to become effective business leaders
Help transform organisations to cope with complex change
Support an integrated approach to business across the enterprise
Influence the sustainable and ethical approach to business within society
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