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Graduate Business Seminar Programme


Engaging with Industry


Dear colleagues,

IAM Conference


As we near the end of another eventful year, can I wish you all our very best wishes for Christmas and the new year. During the past semester you have had a number of opportunities to meet a wide range of business speakers both through our graduate business seminar programme and also at School level, through our Top Leader Forum. As you will have learned, the Top Leader’s Forum is a platform to honour the success stories of Irish leaders and to integrate them into the learning of those who will follow them into practice and, hopefully, leadership in the future. Three such fora were held this semester, and each proved to be a wonderful opportunity for the students to interact and engage with leaders of the highest calibre.

Top Leader’s Forum


IAM Fellowship Award


Graduate students participate in a ‘live case’ event


WIT Postgraduate Scholarship Award Winners 2012


DBA Research Colloquium


In this edition of the newsletter we also report on our new Postgraduate Diploma in Lean Practice where students have had the opportunity to work on collaborative projects with local companies, Hasbro Ireland and Genzyme. In a similar vein, our MBS students had the opportunity, through their entrepreneurship and innovation programme, to engage in a ‘live case’ presentation with another local company, Hybrid Energy and help address new business challenges facing the organisation. The past semester also witnessed the announcement of our new Postgraduate Business Scholarship programme and this year a number of students from across our programme portfolio will receive financial support towards their studies. On that note we extend our thanks to Sam McCauley, State Street Bank, Combined Credit Unions, Waterford and the AIB Centre for Finance and Business Research. Their support of our students, and ongoing commitment to our work, is very much appreciated. We also extend our warm congratulations to our Head of School, Dr Thomas O’Toole, who was recently awarded a Fellowship of the Irish Academy of Management in honour of his contribution to Irish management research and education. Our new President of the Graduate Business Society is Richard McDonald who is currently completing our MSc (Business, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship programme). Richard, and the GBS Committee, has plans to host a number of events on our behalf for 2013 and we wish him and all the team well in the year ahead. Finally, we are pleased to announce that WIT School of Business will host the Irish Academy of Management national conference next September and further details on the event are included in the newsletter. With best wishes for the holiday season, Dr Denis Harrington, Head of Graduate Business



Integrating with practice - highlights from the Graduate Business Seminar Programme From a recent WIT graduate carving out a career with Vodafone to a senior manager with Enterprise Ireland advising on entrepreneurship and export strategy to a social entrepreneur launching garlic bulbs into the audience, the Graduate Business Seminar Series 2012-2013 platformed a rich and diverse range of speakers for the masters students this autumn. With an enlarged group of more than 125 graduate students across the range of taught masters programmes enrolled in the Seminar Series this year, the invited speakers shared their personal narratives and career trajectories with a highly motivated and inquisitive audience. The benefit to the student of being exposed to experienced and skilled practitioners and academics will be seen as they compete for careers post graduation, but it is also key that external stakeholders are exposed to the strong cohort of students that WIT School of Business continues to attract in these straightened times.

Photographed are MBS students with guest speaker, Dr Meave Henchion, Head of Department of Agri-Food Business and Spatial Analysis, Teagasc.

Photographed are MBS students with Bill Kelly, Managing Director of Kellys Resort Hotel and seminar keynote speaker with Dr Sheila O’Donohoe, Programme Leader, MBS Economics and Finance

Photographed with WIT graduate students is Mr Tom Hayes, Divisional Manager of Entrepreneurship and HR, Enterprise Ireland

Agriculture is of course a key indigenous sector that has shown growth throughout the recent difficulties in the Irish economy and Dr Maeve Henchion of Teagasc gave a perceptive seminar on the opportunities for, and the necessity of, innovation and expansion in the Irish agricultural sector. In this vein, Michael Kelly shared his journey from IT specialist through journalism and into his current social entrepreneur role with Grow It Yourself and how his organisation encourages people to be mindful of the environment as well as reducing shopping bills. The tourism sector has similarly shown recent signs of growth, and Bill Kelly of Kelly’s Resort Hotel in County Wexford spoke of the leadership and marketing challenges in a sector which has contracted significantly in recent years, but which Kelly’s has withstood and indeed come out stronger. The South-east was also represented by the new start up Dungarvan Brewing Company, and in an engaging and informative session, brothers in law Tom Dalton and Cormac O’Dwyer spoke of the twin challenges of starting in a downturn and of the family business dynamic.

On the other end of the scale from these family and start-up enterprises were sessions from larger corporations such as Padhraic McGinn, Plant Manager of Nypro Healthcare in Bray and Lake Region in New Ross, with Renee Flynn of the latter corporation detailing the HR needs of a workforce which has grown to more than 800. More academic approaches were provided by Professor William Forbes of Loughborough University in the UK who gave a passionate presentation on the role of behavioural finance in the recent financial crisis – which was also a subject of discussion by Dr Fergal McCann, and economist with the Irish Central Bank as he spoke of the trends in financing available to Irish SMEs in the current climate. The current climate is indeed a challenging one for our current students, but Brian Molloy a recent graduate of the MBS programme who partook in the Seminar Series as a student just a couple of years ago, returned to relate his story of climbing the corporate ladder with Vodafone. By sharing interview and network techniques, Brian helped show that the path to success is still possible and is supported and strengthened by the innovative and inclusive approach of the School of Business. For further information, please contact: Dr Sheila O’Donohoe ( and Mr Gerard Arthurs (



Engaging with industry to better understand lean management techniques The Postgraduate Diploma in Business in Lean Practice has been designed to engender the skills and mindset necessary for successful application of Lean management in a business context. Developed with input from Lake Region Medical (which recently became the first company in Ireland and first medical device company in Europe to receive Shingo Accreditation) and other stakeholders the programme provides a flexible opportunity for those who are trying to balance work, life and learning. The programme is in its inaugural year, having commenced in August 2012. From the outset, partnership with industry has emerged as a central theme of the programme content. In an innovative approach, links with two local industry partners, Hasbro Ireland and Genzyme Ireland – a Sanofi Company, have been established with a view to develop practical ways to deliver module content and to develop assignments with strong academicpractice engagement. Modules on Lean Quality, delivered by Mr Aidan Walsh, and Lean Operations I, delivered by Mr. Darrin Taylor, were chosen for this industry collaboration.

5S and the use of Visual Management. The importance of strategic commitment, cultural transformation, and supporting human resources through lean coaching was also communicated in detail. A highlight of the visits was a keynote address delivered by Genzyme Ireland’s Vice President and General Manager, Mr. Pat O’Sullivan, who discussed the strategic importance of lean to Genzyme Ireland and its central role to sustaining performance excellence and strategic innovation in their operation. Mr. O’Sullivan then engaged with the students in an interactive Q&A session to further discuss the intricacies of successful lean deployment. Such approaches will also form part of their learning and development in semester 2 of the course. Further details from Programme Leader: Dr Pio Fenton ( or module co-ordinators, Mr Aidan Walsh ( and Mr. Darrin Taylor (

Hasbro Ireland engaged with the team to pose “real-world” problems that could be addressed by students. Problems, that have consistently proved challenging for Hasbro Ireland to solve, required students to engage in diverse activities such as Value Stream mapping, A3 problem solving, Strategic and Operation analysis, and process-based problem-solving. Students were required to analyse the problem at-hand, develop potential solutions, and offer recommendations to improve the process. The engagement at Hasbro Ireland has been multi-faceted and involved the participation of the Operations Manager, the Materials and Procurement Manager, Master Scheduler and Technical Process Leaders. Hasbro Ireland facilitated a number of presentations, process walk-throughs, Q&A sessions, and access to regular management and scheduling meetings. A detailed plant tour was also provided demonstrating the use of Visual Management, Lean Principles, Poka-Yoke, and 5S practices. Areas that had undergone continuous improvement projects were also presented and discussed. Students were additionally provided comprehensive operational data and process metrics. To fulfil an assessment component of both modules, students are required to deliver poster and PowerPoint presentations and DMAIC analysis in early January 2013; and as part of this process make recommendations to Hasbro Ireland management. It is envisaged that further problem-solving activities will be carried out in the second semester of the programme. Again these activities will form the basis of assessment projects in relation to two modules in the second semester. Equally, the collaboration with Genzyme Ireland sought to gain an understanding of best corporate and operational practices in the Lean area. In recent years, Genzyme Ireland, has undertaken a successful lean deployment and agreed to share experiences and learning from these activities with the students. Martina Goldring, Lean Leader, and her colleagues on the Lean team facilitated a number of on-site lectures and a plant tour to students and academics. During this interaction students gained an appreciation of the application of Lean techniques such as A3 Problem-Solving,

Students on the Postgraduate Diploma in Lean Practice photographed with lecturers during a recent poster showcase event at WIT.



Top Leader’s Forum at the School of Business John F Kennedy once said that ‘leadership and learning are indispensible to each other.’ The WIT School of Business wholeheartedly agrees with this and actively seeks to put our students – Ireland’s future managers – in the company of great leaders in order to learn from their experiences. The Top Leader’s Forum is a platform to honour the success stories of Irish leaders and to integrate them into the learning of those who will follow them into practice and, hopefully, leadership in the future.

McDonald’s burgers throughout Ireland. Such success stories are a fundamental encouragement to our young students as they face the difficulties of carving out careers in the current climate. In a strong message of confidence to the students, Mr Browne spoke of his continuing desire to create jobs in Ireland and in the south east in particular and of how Dawn Meats operates a graduate training programme in many areas of its organisation. The company’s headquarters is still located at Grannagh, Co. Waterford. The Top Leader’s Forum invites leaders of calibre to address the students on our growing suite of graduate programmes, ranging across Masters programmes in Marketing, Accounting, Economics & Finance, Management and Human Resources, as well as recent additions such as the MBITE and Graduate Financial Information Systems programmes. Invited gests from the southeast business community, Chambers of Commerce and political representatives are also in attendance, giving a rich networking opportunity for the students to mix with leaders and employers in a learned yet intimate setting. For further information please contact: Dr Sheila O’Donohoe ( and Mr Gerard Arthurs (

Photographed are students on the MSc (Global Financial Information Systems) programme with Dr Thomas O’Toole, Head of School of Business, WIT and Mr Bob Savage, Managing Director, EMC Ireland.

Three such fora were held this semester, and each proved to be a wonderful opportunity for the students to interact and engage with leaders of the highest calibre. The first Forum of the autumn session was with European Commissioner for Research, Innovation & Science, Ms Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, when she spoke on the topic of ‘Ireland: Innovation and Internationalisation.’ In a passionate speech at a time of real challenge for the Irish economy, the Commissioner spoke of the opportunities for Ireland as Europe faced not only a Eurozone crisis, but an ‘innovation emergency.’ With a budget of some €50 billion at her disposal, Ms GeogheganQuinn spoke of the ‘innovation emergency’ in Europe and emphasised the key role of research and innovation in re-energising the Irish economy. The Commissioner challenged the students to be not only drivers of business in the future, but drivers of knowledge as Ireland seeks to position itself in the global knowledge economy. Bob Savage, Vice President & General Manager of EMC Ireland, was recently named as ‘Ireland’s Most Trusted Leader’ at a ceremony hosted by the Great Places to Work programme and therefore was a wholly apt speaker for the Top Leaders Forum. As a board member of Enterprise Ireland and a former academic, Mr Savage hit the perfect note of industry experience, entrepreneurial knowhow and academic rigour as he addressed the students about his personal career trajectory as well as guiding EMC to nine consecutive quarters of year on year double digit growth for consolidated growth and net income. The School was particularly honoured to host a top local leader, Waterford born Mr Dan Browne, recently retired CEO of Dawn Meats. In a timely address, Mr Browne was speaking after the recent announcement of a €300 million, 5 year collaboration with McDonald’s Restaurants, including securing processing rights for all

16th Annual Irish Academy of Management Conference in WIT The 16th Annual Irish Academy of Management Conference will be hosted by the School of Business, Waterford Institute of Technology. The conference seeks to bring together the Scholarship of Integration by engaging communities of learning and practice. It will feature a number of keynote speakers from the academic and professional realm and for the first time, an Excellence in Practice assembly and Poster Exhibit, demonstrating Scholarly Integration in Action and displaying best practice examples of communities of learning and practice in interaction in the business world. Delegates will spend time exploring the integration opportunities and challenges faced by each community, ultimately seeking paths to greater community interaction.The conference will begin with a Doctoral Colloquium on Monday September 2nd 2013, and will formally open with a reception on the evening of the 2nd at the House of Waterford Crystal located in Waterford City’s Viking Triangle. The official opening ceremony and first keynote speech will be on Wednesday morning, September 3rd. The conference gala dinner will take place on Wednesday evening, and the conference will conclude after lunch on Thursday the 4th. Theme based paper and poster submissions will make up the core content of the programme, which will be in August 2013. The conference chair is Dr Felicity Kelliher, Waterford Institute of Technology and further details can be accessed through the conference website in due course:



IAM Fellowship award for Dr Thomas O’Toole, Head of School of Business

Graduate students particpate in a ‘live case’ event

Pictured are award recipients Mr Kieran Mulvey and Dr Thomas O’Toole with IAM Chair, Dr Alma McCarthy and keynote presenter, Professor Peter Mc Kiernan, University of Strathclyde

Fellowship is the highest award that can be given to an IAM member and few are more worthy than Dr Thomas O’Toole, Head of the School of Business in Waterford Institute of Technology. Tom has extensive management and research experience working within the higher education sector in Ireland and overseas. He is a graduate of NUI Galway and of Strathclyde University where he gained his PhD. A mark of his success has been the 10 million euro in funding that he, with his colleagues, has helped to attract to WIT in research and knowledge transfer funding from national and EU sources. In his own research he examines market relationships and networks and more specifically, the governance of inter-organisational relationships. He is also interested in social exchange theory to examine collaborative governance modes and the strength of interfirm cooperation strategies.

MBS graduate students participated in a ‘live’ case event as part of their studies on the Entrepreneurship and Innovation module this semester. Irene Walsh finance Director, Hybrid Energy Group and Mr John Maher, lecturer, presented a series of business issues and challenges facing the Hybrid company and students were required to undertake an analysis and present recommendations to the Board for approval. The approach underlines the practice-led ethos in the teaching and assessment of the module and provides students with opportunities to apply their ideas in practice. Irish small firms do not operate in isolation. As we know companies are facing increasing competition, often from international businesses and increased regulatory and reporting demands. This module encourages students to think strategically so as to help companies to address these challenges providing an effective response to internal and external business challenges. Further speaker and case events will feature in the second semester for MBS students including a European study tour programme to Brussels.

Though he is very busy with his administrative and research work he has been an active member and leader within the Irish Academy of Management, as a member of the editorial board of the Irish Journal of Management, as the Chair of the Council of the IAM and in many other parts of the Academy. He is also a Fellow of the Irish Marketing Institute as well as being an important member of the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group (IMP - International Research Group). An indication of the esteem in which he is held can be seen from his having been asked to work on a large number of government working groups and national research evaluation committees. Dr O’Toole has also a keen desire to improve the lot of his region, the South East, by sharing his expertise so as to nurture enterprise development and to help those who want to create employment in his area. He is a board member of the Kilkenny Arts Festival, an event that has been of significant economic and personal benefit to people from across the south east region. But above all he is a person of integrity who is regarded with great affection by his colleagues, his students and certainly those who work with him in WIT. Many congratulations from all the team in WIT.

Photographed are some of the MBS students participating in the Hybrid Energy case event with their lecturer, Mr John Maher.



WIT School of Business Postgraduate Scholarship Award Winners 2012 The School of Business is pleased to announce award winners for the inaugural Postgraduate Business Scholarship programme 2012-13. Through its activities, the School of Business has been fuelling innovation and growth in the South East for more than 35 years. Working closely with industry, it has developed relevant, leading-edge research projects and courses with more degrees and postgraduate offerings coming on line all the time. By nurturing and supporting students while maintaining a strong industry focus, it has been able to build futures and help grow the economy. As a result of changes to the Higher Education grant system and in an effort to assist high performing students to undertake postgraduate study at the School of Business, this year the School initiated a range of new postgraduate scholarships for 2012-13. The scholarships were awarded to top performing students across the range of business programmes at postgraduate level. Congratulations to all the award winners and we hope the scholarship funding will be of assistance to them this year and also in securing employment upon completion of their studies in 2013.

Photographed are Scholarship Award Recipients, Laura O’Brien and Leon Behal with Sam McCauley, Chairman of Sam McCauley Group, Dr Thomas O’Toole, Head of School of Business, Mr Paul Morrissey, Programme Leader MBS Marketing and Dr Denis Harrington, Head of Graduate Business.

Business Postgraduate Scholarship Award Winners 2012 Mr Leon Behal Ms Silvia Bet Ms. Siobhan Crotty Ms. Laura O’Brien Ms Sarah O’Donnell Mr Niall O’Sullivan Ms Maliha Walsh Ms Catriona Dempsey

MBS Management MBS Internationalisation MBS Marketing MBS Marketing MBS Economics and Finance MBS Economics and Finance MBS Economics and Finance MBS Accounting (2011-12 Award winner)

The School would like to acknowledge the support of the following for the Business Postgraduate Scholarship Programme - Sam McCauley, State Street Bank, Combined Credit Unions Waterford and the AIB Centre for Finance and Business Research. Their support of our students, and ongoing commitment to our work, is very much appreciated.

Photographed are Scholarship Award Recipients with Dr Sheila O’Donohoe, Research Director of the AIB Centre for Finance and Business Research and Programme Leader, MBS Economics and Finance, Mr Paul Morrissey, Programme Leader MBS Marketing, Dr Thomas O’Toole, Head of School of Business, Mr John Casey, Programme Leader MBS Accounting, Mr Declan Cahill, Programme Leader, MBS Internationalisation and Dr Denis Harrington, Head of Graduate Business.

Innaugural DBA Research Colloquium The inaugural DBA Research Colloquium event was held in December and was attended by faculty, visiting speakers and examiners. The Colloquium was planned to allow DBA candidates to present their research papers, and to interact with peers and receive feedback from participating examiners. The Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) is targeted at senior business leaders in Irish firms with the aim of encouraging them to develop and hone their research, management and professional capabilities at an advanced level. Participants engage in a process of research and professional development beginning with a range of taught modules followed by the completion of a cumulative practice-informed research paper series that will allow them to address a high level research problem or issue of key strategic significance to their organisation. The inaugural class is made up of senior executives and business owners from the public and private sectors in Ireland and abroad, and in their studies, participants combine workplace and professional engagement with the scholarly rigour of the academic institution.

The keynote speaker for the event was Dr Paul Aitken. Paul is a leadership-organisational development adviser/educator and Founder-CEO of Mastering Leadership Agility Ltd focused on organisational and personal survival, thriving and renewal. Paul was formerly Deputy Director of The Leadership Trust Foundation (Centre for Applied Leadership Research). He is first author of ‘Developing Change Leaders’(Elsevier: B-H, 2010), Visiting Faculty at Henley Business School and Birmingham University (UK) - in association with the Singapore Institute of Management, the National University of Ireland, and Adjunct Professor at Bond University (Australia). Other contributors included Dr Murray Clarke, University of Sheffield and Dr Scott Lichenstein, University of Birmingham. Further details from Programme Leader: Dr Felicity Kelliher, (



WIT Graduate Business Society 2012-2013 The Graduate Business Society has been busy during the first semester planning events and designing a fresh new identity for the GBS. The overarching theme for this year will be a focus on the convergence of traditional business methods and operations with existing and emerging technologies. The first major GBS event will provide graduate students and invited guests an insight into how companies can embrace technology to grow their business in these challenging times. Details of the event are included below in ‘Save the Date’. Recently the GBS held a raffle in aid of Focus Ireland and raised over €300 for the charity and were kindly supported by Lily O Briens Chocolate Factory, Odeon Cinema and local supermarkets.

Save the date… The first major event of 2013 will be the inaugural GBS Technology Conference on February 21st. It will be a half day event running from 9am to 1pm and will involve graduate students from across the programme portfolio, faculty, invited speakers and guests. The keynote speaker has been confirmed as Colin Browne, EMEA Operations Director, Microsoft and the event will aim to highlight awareness of how modern business is embracing new technologies to grow and evolve their businesses. The idea for the conference was inspired by the new identity and the theme for this year, “Embracing the Future” (through technology). Later in the year, date to be confirmed, the GBS will host their annual graduate business ball which should be a fun night out for all. Further details to follow. Marketing officer, Emma Thorpe would like to remind graduate business students that the society always welcomes new members or indeed suggestions or ideas for events throughout the year. The GBS would like to take this opportunity to wish all students, lecturers, staff and readers a peaceful and happy Christmas and our best wishes for the new year. For further information please contact Richard McDonald, President, Graduate Business Society (

Research Brief - Dr Tom Egan Congratulations to Dr Tom Egan who recently completed his PhD at Nottingham University Business School. Tom is Programme Director for the Executive MBA and is a member of the Centre for Management Research in Healthcare and Healthcare Economics. Tom’s work examined the Impact of Risk Management Processes on Clinical Negligence Claims Across Acute NHS Trusts. In the NHS, a system of risk management levels were introduced in 2002 - and NHS trusts were offered incentives to progress from level one (base level) to level three - where higher levels are assumed to represent superior risk management processes within trusts. This study examined the impact of such levels on the clinical negligence outcomes of NHS trusts i.e. do trusts which achieve superior risk management processes have better clinical negligence outcomes. The study was conducted in two phases; firstly, a series of ten exploratory interviews with NHS trust managers followed by an empirical analysis of a panel database of claims, risk management, activity and financial data. This analysis found that more efficient risk management processes (reflected in higher risk management levels, adoption of an FT governance structure and higher levels of financial health) are significantly associated with lower numbers of clinical negligence claims, controlling for other factors. In addition, adoption of an FT governance structure was found to be associated with higher closed claim values - this implies that well managed trusts are willing to offer higher amounts to settle claims early (thereby reducing legal costs and avoiding reputational damage). Overall, this study offers strong support for the proposition that more efficient risk management processes should lead to improved clinical negligence outcomes for NHS trusts, and provides recommendations to assist trusts to improve their own risk processes. His supervisors were Professor Paul Fenn and Dr Dev Vencappa, Nottingham University Business School and the examiner for his work was Professor Alastair Gray, University of Oxford. Tom’s work was completed as part of the Centre for Healthcare Management and Health Economics in WIT School of Business (which is headed by Chris O’Riordan), and hopes to continue researching in this field in the coming years. In particular, while the findings relate to the NHS, he now hopes to develop local collaborations with a view to assessing the impact of risk management on healthcare outcomes in Ireland.

If you would like to send us updates or news items for inclusion in the Edge Newsletter, please send to: or alternatively contact our Graduate Business Office, 051 302424

Edge Issue 10  

WIT School of Business Edge Newsletter December 2012

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