Studying for an MBA while working full-time is a tough balancing act for many part-time MBA students. But the benefits of networking, and applying your new skills and knowledge at work make the experience worth it, according to GPA Sport Scholar Richie Hogan.
Richie Hogan is a Kilkenny hurling player and a member of the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). He was awarded the first-ever Trinity Business School GPA Scholarship in September 2021, designed to give educational support to players. Richie started his career in primary school teaching before moving into a career in business. Since 2019 he has been working in Croke Park as a commercial manager with responsibility for GAA and GPA.
There are about 4,000 GPA members eligible to apply so it was a huge honour to be awarded the scholarship, and a privilege to study at Trinity Business School. The School has a reputation for excellence and is triple accredited. I knew that the Trinity Executive MBA could fast-track my career, but I’ve found that it makes you an even better version of yourself. To know that I am vastly improving every facet of my business acumen, is immense.
We are a class of 50 with tremendous diversity, all contributing different perspectives and skillsets. Everyone has their own reason for being here. You have people trying to improve their leadership skills, and they're already very technically gifted. Others are working at an extremely high-level within an organisation, and are visionaries, and others are looking to pivot their career or make a change. There’s a huge mix of people, and if you learn even one thing from each person, you're coming away with a huge amount of knowledge.
So far, I’ve really enjoyed the Strategic Leadership modules. They focus on high-level decision making, plucking you right out of your day-to-day thinking and giving you that strategic vision. It teaches you how to become a leader without necessarily being in a senior management role. I’m applying my classroom learnings almost straight away and thinking of new ways to introduce my learnings into the workplace.
The Company Projects are also a highlight of the MBA. It’s a team led consultancy approach, where you work with an external business to solve an internal issue. I find myself applying the skills I’ve learned on the pitch, bring them into the MBA classroom and back onto the pitch! You get to deal with so many different people in sport, and you build a huge amount of emotional intelligence when working in team sport. You learn about the different ways that your teammates motivate themselves to achieve. That’s certainly been a great advantage for me.
The Trinity MBA is future-focused – teaching you what the future of business is, or what it needs to be. Most especially in terms of ESG and Corporate Social responsibility. There’s a huge emphasis on being the right type of leader. Successful leadership is about bringing people together and getting the best out of those people, treating them with respect and dignity.
In terms of my schedule, I travel one and half hours to Kilkenny to train three times a week, I have a gym session almost every other day, and there are weekend matches too. Prioritising my time is a necessity. Keeping the energy levels up is the most difficult part. But I’m only going to be doing this once, so I will give it all I’ve got.
My advice to potential Executive MBA candidates is to make sure your organisation supports your journey and understands how they will gain from you doing the MBA. There will be times when you're under pressure and you need a bit of flexibility in college and vice versa.
As my hurling career comes to an end in the next few years, I know that I'm going to be the best prepared version of myself because of the MBA. I'm very much just at the start of my business career and I can’t wait to see where the Trinity MBA leads me.