GNW 2017: A Week at Smurfit

Raahul Kumar ’18 traveled to UCD Smurfit for Global Network Week in June, where he learned about the trends, strategies, and marketing techniques in the food and beverage space during Smurfit's weeklong course module, “The Future of Food.”

July 27, 2017

As a Yale School of Management MBA for Executives student graduating in 2018, I had the opportunity to attend “The Future of Food” module at University College Dublin Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School as part of the June 2017 Global Network Week.

This fascinating exchange program provides students with insights into the inner workings of key industry players in the food and beverage space and attracts both international students from several top participating schools in Shanghai, Berlin, and Madrid, as well as students local to Dublin. As an international student, I am truly grateful for the warmth and thoughtfulness from both our program coordinator, Elaine Aherne, and a number of our fellow Irish students in welcoming us to both Dublin and UCD.

This week-long course is perfectly structured for many reasons. First, the sheer range of case studies covered in the short span of a week exposes participants to food- and beverage-related strategies, trends, and marketing techniques that are very easily transferable to any industry segment. Professor Damien McLoughlin led a diverse set of discussion topics from Brexit to emerging technologies in the food industry, and challenged us to consider both the market and non-market factors influencing decisions within each organization we examined as part of the cases.

Second, the guest lectures interspersed throughout the week were excellent and provided intriguing insights into the decision-making processes utilized by executives across a slew of organizations in the food and beverage sector. During the week, the CEO of Greencore, CTO of Ocado, and director from UniGrain were just a few of the company executives we heard from and engaged with.

Finally, daily product samplings (Skelligs, Keogh’s, etc.) and company site visits, such as those to Jameson, Guinness, Kerry Foods, and the Ballyknocken House & Cookery School, ensured we were always engaged and looking forward to what the next day would bring.

Overall, this was a fantastic program that I would highly recommend to anyone looking to spend the Global Network Week learning about the latest innovations and bleeding-edge technology in the food industry while having some good old-fashioned Irish fun as well.

View a slideshow featuring moments from EMBA students’ Global Network Week experiences at UCD Smurfit, EGADE Business School, ESMT Berlin, Fudan University School of Management, IE Business School, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.


About the author

Raahul Kumar

MBA for Executives Candidate, Class of 2018