A remarkable feat for the second consecutive year, the MBA team from South East Technological University (SETU) emerged victorious at the MBAAI National Strategy Competition 2023. The intense competition, held at Flutter HQ in Dublin, drew participation from renowned business schools nationwide.

In a departure from the traditional Harvard Business Review (HBR) case study format, this year’s competition introduced a challenge crafted by renowned disruption expert Ade McCormack. The format of this year’s challenge aimed to immerse teams in real-world scenarios, pushing teams to navigate real-world scenarios, covering trade embargoes, economic challenges, tech advancements, and more. Teams had just under 2.5 hours to prepare and present their innovative solutions, providing a unique platform for MBA students to apply their skills under intense pressure.

The winning SETU team, composed of Fergus Bourke, Michael Pitt, Hassan Khan, and Niall Reck, demonstrated exceptional strategic acumen and creativity. Their presentation, delivered within the allocated 15 minutes, outlined the challenges faced and the innovative solutions devised in response. Noteworthy speakers included Srishty Panwar from Dublin Business School, recognised as the Best Overall Speaker, and Dave Greaney from the University of Galway, awarded the Commendable Speaker title.

The event’s panel of judges featured renowned expert in leadership and disruption, Ade McCormack, founder of the Intelligent Leadership Hub, along with journalist and author Frank Dillion, founder of Decision, and Alacoque McMenamin, former MBAAI President and founder of People 4 Projects.

Event organiser Michelle Gallagher, Board Director & Academic Liaison at the MBA Association of Ireland said: “We were delighted to have teams representing the four corners of Ireland at this year’s competition. It was fantastic to see teams travel from The Queen’s University in Belfast, the University of Galway, Dublin Business School, The South East Technical University and I am hugely proud of my own alma mater, The University of Limerick. This was the first year UL had a team competing at the National Strategy Prize Competition earning a highly commended team prize for their efforts”

Gallagher highlighted the significance of the annual strategy competition on the student calendar, characterising it as a high-intensity, pressure-cooker environment that MBA students thrive in. She emphasised the evident dedication of participants, citing the return of a member from last year’s winning team for another shot at the title.

The annual strategy competition is a fantastic event on the student calendar. This year’s competition proved a platform to apply MBA program learnings and test the mettle of business students. The competition showcased teams’ strategic thinking, analysis, and decision-making abilities, highlighting the quintessential attributes of an MBA graduate – leadership amidst collaborative efforts.

Gallagher lauded the exceptionally high standard of this year’s competition, acknowledging the judges’ challenging task of selecting overall winners from the quality, robust, and creative solutions developed by teams in just under 2.5 hours. The coveted overall winners were SETU, with individual prizes awarded to outstanding contributors, namely Dave Greaney from the University of Galway and Srishty Panwar from Dublin Business School.

Commenting on the win, the SETU MBA course director Dr. Tom Egan noted: “We are delighted to win the MBAAI National Strategy Competition in 2023, having won this also in 2022. The National Strategy Competition is an opportunity for our students to challenge themselves against some of the best MBA students in Ireland in a high-pressure environment. It is an event our students particularly enjoy participating in, and one we look to support annually. Niall Reck was a member of last year’s winning team, and the preparation he and his team mates put in place this year has clearly paid off. It is always an excellent learning experience, one that I find the group learns a lot from. Thank you to the MBA Association of Ireland for continuing to organise this first-class annual competition.”

Reflecting on the competition’s success, MBAAI President Michael Bulman commented: “We are delighted to hold this event in the Flutter HQ in Dublin. Our thanks to our board member Paul Reilly for providing this amazing venue for the National Strategy Competition and his team for ensuring event operations on the day was flawless. The National Strategy Competition is held in high regards among business schools across Ireland and this year’s standard was exceptionally high. Congratulations to the overall winning team from the South East Technological University who delivered an exceptionally strong presentation on the day”.

The MBAAI National Strategy Competition continues to be a cornerstone event in the business school calendar, fostering strategic thinking, leadership, and collaborative excellence among MBA graduates. The competition is open to all MBA programmes across Ireland, past winners having included UCD, The University of Galway, DCU. TU Dublin and SETU.

This year’s list of winners:

Overall winning team: SETU | South East Technological University

(Pictured: Maria Barry – Director MBAAI. Frank Dillon – Judge, Michael Bulman – President MBAAI, Michael Pitt – SETU, Fergus Bourke – SETU, Paul Reilly – Director MBAAI, Ray Griffin – Lecturer SETU, Hassan Khan & Niall Reck – SETU, David Bradley – Director MBAAI, Michelle Gallagher – Academic Liaison + Director MBAAI, Ade McCormack – Judge, Alacoque McMenamin – Judge and Bryan Murphy – Director MBAAI.)

Runner up Team: Queen’s University Belfast

(Pictured: Ade McCormack – Judge, Frank Dillon – Judge, Michael Bulman – President MBAAI, Paul Reilly – Director MBAAI, Bryan Murphy – Director MBAAI, Michelle Gallagher – Academic Liaison + Director MBAAI, Alacoque McMenamin – Judge together with the team from QUB: Prachi Shukla, Binu Merin Jacob, Daniel Hughes, Matthew Fox, Karthik Banaglore Rajenda.)

Highly Commended Teams: University of Limerick (UL), University of Galway, and Dublin Business School (DBS).

University of Limerick: Eoin Flynn, Martina Power, Miriam McCarthy and Darragh Quinn.

University of Galway: Dr. Maeve O’Sullivan, MBA Course Director University of Galway, Dermot Considine, Edel Kelly, Katie Devin, Nicola Murphy, Dave Greaney, and Orla Naughton, MBA & Executive Education Manager, University of Galway.

Dublin Business School: Nkosiphendule Nqcoza, Tselane Moya, Shilpi Ahusa, Ray Whelan – Lecturer, Srishty Panwar, Navratan Dhoka.

Individual Awards:

Best Overall Speaker: Srishty Panwar, Dublin Business School (right)

Commendable Speaker: Dave Greaney, University of Galway (right)