Over 200 NUI Galway MBA graduates recently returned to the University to mark the 40th anniversary of the first intake to its Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme. Organised by the University’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, the milestone was marked with a conference and gala dinner.
The conference, ‘40 Years A-Growing in Business & Management: Learning from the Past, Leading the Future’ brought together a panel of 15 high-profile national and international contributors from business and academia, with the majority of speakers being NUI Galway MBA alumni. Professor Jim Doolan, the first MBA Director in 1972, also addressed the conference and recounted the objectives of offering the first MBA which included serving the needs of managers and industry leaders at the time.
The first conference symposium focused on innovation and entrepreneurship with presentations from Joe McBreen, Founder, Chair and CEO Celtrak; Jill Holtz, Founder mykidstime.ie and The Ahain Group; and Connor Flanagan, Director, LotusWorks. The session was chaired by Liam Bluett, General Manager, Ballybane Enterprise Centre. The second symposium focused on Ireland in the national and international economy with presentations from Dr Alan Ahearne, Economist & Lecturer, NUI Galway and Professor John McHale, Chair National Fiscal Council and Professor of Economics, NUI Galway. The economics symposium was chaired by Brian Molloy, Director HC Financial Advisers and CEO Orbsen Therapeutics Ltd.
The Global Mindset symposium included presentations from New York and Chicago based organisations and was chaired by Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway. Helen Ryan, CEO, Creganna Tactx Medical reflected on the challenges and opportunities for Irish owned companies through export-led growth. Seamus Kavanagh, Vice President, Innovation and Technology Development, Hollister Inc., Chicago and Mike Higgins, Managing Director and Head of CIBC World Markets Corp., New York and Chair of the NUI Galway US Foundation, reflected on the global business market. The final conference symposium reflected on issues of ethics, governance and leadership in driving organisational success with presentations from Conor McDonnell, Vice-President for HR, Fidelity Investments, Myles McHugh of Myles McHugh and Associates (formerly Irish Rail), and Paschal McCarthy, Vice President, GE Healthcare.
Dr Alma McCarthy, MBA Programme Director and event organiser, said: “I was struck by the considerable success which our MBA alumni have achieved in challenging senior management positions nationally and globally. It was refreshing to hear from our alumni who were very positive about the opportunities that lie ahead and the possibilities that can be achieved with the right frame of mind.”
Over 200 attended the black tie gala dinner at the Ardilaun Hotel where guests enjoyed a keynote dinner address by Dr Leo Smyth, Adjunct Professor of Management at NUI Galway and former MBA Programme Director and Lecturer.
Commenting on the NUI Galway MBA programme, Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is a highly regarded management development programme in the region. It also enjoys a very good reputation nationally as evidenced by two recent national All-Ireland competition wins for MBA programmes on the island of Ireland.”
The conference received funding under The Gathering as many international alumni returned for the event.