Teachings From a “Tiger Economy”
Studying Leadership & Entrepreneurship in Ireland
The economic challenges facing the EU (European Union) have severely impacted businesses and at the same time have given rise to new ideas in entrepreneurship, organizational management and operations and leadership, especially in Ireland. In January 2014, Forbes ranked Ireland atop its list of “Best Countries for Business”, stating that “in spite of the turbulent last few years, Irish entrepreneurs have continued to innovate, disrupt and drive growth.” According to the UK’s The Guardian, February 2015, “Ireland’s tiger economy roared back to life last year and will retain its crown in 2015 as the fastest growing in the EU, according to Brussels’ latest forecasts.”
When University of Colorado Denver student Gabriella Briones entered the Business School’s MBA program in Risk Management and Insurance, she had concerns over her lack of experience in management and leadership. She wanted to add an immersion experience in a global environment and jumped at the chance to enroll in CU Denver’s Maymester program “Leadership and Entrepreneurship in Ireland.”
Based in Dublin, the program connects students with actual company projects, where they gain first-hand overviews of key leadership principles in strategic development and team management in new and international ventures. Students split their time between working directly under company CEO’s to develop business plans and learning from case studies and lectures at Trinity College by CEO’s of both successful companies as well as hearing the lessons learned from failed start-ups.
Briones worked for a start-up company, iData, and said, “Every morning, after enjoying a breakfast of fresh baked Irish breads, our team would spend the remainder of the day working on our deliverables for the company. Conor, our CEO supervisor, would regularly come in to discuss projects and make sure we had all the necessary resources.”
Through the knowledge gained during the program and from living and working in another country, Briones has a much greater appreciation and understanding of the value of “real-world”, international experience which she can apply to her education and career in the United States.
“It was interesting to learn that Europeans in general work fewer hours than Americans, however, I didn’t notice those fewer hours negatively affecting their success or work attitude.”
Studying abroad is definitely something that Briones would recommend to other graduate students. “Studying abroad has solidified my desire to return to Europe after I finish my MBA. It has helped me continue to develop my cross-cultural skills.” She thinks that it is very important to seek a global perspective on business and the world.
“It’s important to get outside of the United States and understand that there’s more going on than what is in your own back yard.”
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