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“Don’t be daunted, it’s more achievable than you might think”: current IMAGE Smurfit Scholar Rebecca Holland on balancing work with an MBA

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By Megan Burns
31st Mar 2022
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Photo: Orla Murray/Coalesce

“Don’t be daunted, it’s more achievable than you might think”: current IMAGE Smurfit Scholar Rebecca Holland on balancing work with an MBA

An MBA is the perfect chance to take your career to the next level. After a brave career pivot, the current IMAGE Smurfit Scholar shares how the Executive MBA is helping her to maximise her skills for the future.

For the last 14 years, IMAGE Media has been proud to partner with UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School to offer one female candidate a 100% scholarship to join the Full-Time MBA, Modular Executive MBA or Executive MBA.

Learn more at their virtual Women on the MBA event on Wednesday, April 6th from 7pm – 8.30pm. The event will feature an MBA Taste Lecture delivered by Stephen Boyle on the topic “Gender in Negotiations”, followed by a panel discussion with current MBA students and alumni. The panel will share their experiences of the Smurfit MBA and highlight the importance and impact of the MBA in their professional and personal progression. Register for the event here.

The UCD Smurfit School MBA programme has a prestigious reputation holding the triple-crown of accreditation from EQUIS (the EFMD Quality Improvement System), AMBA (the Association of MBAs) and AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). In addition, the Executive MBA programme is currently ranked 72nd in the world by the Financial Times and 57th by The Economist.

The full-time MBA programme has been highly ranked globally for more than ten years, most recently climbing to 67th in The Economist Full-time MBA Ranking. The new Modular Executive MBA programme offers a flexible schedule delivered over two years and typically requires only two days’ attendance on campus each month.

You can find more details on the website at smurfitschool.ie/mba.

Meet Rebecca Holland, current IMAGE Smurfit Scholar

UCD Smurfit Scholarship
Photo: Orla Murray/Coalesce

Tell us about your career journey to date?

I’ve had a varied career. I graduated from UCC with an honours degree in medicine, did my internship, and then went to Australia to work for a year. While there, I saw so many opportunities for improvement in the Irish healthcare system.

I decided to make a significant career change. I returned to Ireland and enrolled in a Marketing Practice master’s at UCD Smurfit School, and subsequently started working in healthcare management consulting. I recently started a new role with PwC Ireland and I’m really grateful for their support in applying to the Executive MBA.

What made you choose to return to UCD Smurfit School for an MBA?

I wanted to take my career to the next level and further my business knowledge with broader managerial topics. I knew an MBA and the IMAGE scholarship would allow me to round out my skills. It’s especially important in the wake of Covid-19 and the HSE cyber-attack. Now more than ever the optimisation of the healthcare service is so important. It’s an exciting time to be in this kind of role.

When it came to choosing UCD Smurfit School, I’ve already benefited so much from its reputation and alumni network that there wasn’t really any question about where I was going to apply. The experiential aspect of the programme is also so important, with a huge focus on practical skills.

Has it been hard to balance study alongside full-time work?

My employer, PwC, is really supportive and it’s great to have a good personal support network as well. One thing I would definitely tell people considering an MBA is not to be daunted, because it’s more achievable than you might think.

I think women especially can be put off by the thought of balancing work and family life, but I would say just get it done – apply. People from various sectors and experiences are in my programme, so don’t feel that you need a finance or mathematical background.

How to apply

Don’t miss this life-changing and unique opportunity to undertake a global-ranked MBA at Ireland’s leading business school, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

For full details on how to apply and the relevant Terms and Conditions, click here. The deadline for applications for this Scholarship is 1 May 2022.