Anonymous donor gives €500,000 for Smurfit school MBA scholarships


AN ANONYMOUS wealthy donor has agreed to provide the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School with €500,000 to help produce the country’s new business elite and fuel the Irish economic recovery.

The donation will part fund the studies of 60 graduates over the next five years who would not otherwise be able to afford to attend the elite college, whose campus is based in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

The private donor, whose identity is being kept secret, has agreed to pay half the tuition fees for those who get the scholarships.

The UCD Smurfit school is making three places a year available on its prestigious MBA courses, which command fees of €29,500.

Nine specialist masters scholarships will also be made available under a programme called Aspire 2010 by the college. These normally cost up to €15,500 to attend.

The college said it would arrange loans for students to fund the balance of the fees if necessary. Repayments would start two years after completing the course.

“Many talented minds are unable to consider doing a masters due to a lack of finance,” said Prof Tom Begley, dean of the UCD Smurfit School. He said this donation would facilitate “top-quality candidates who find themselves in this position to undertake a further step in their education”.

The school said it would launch a press and online advertising campaign to promote the scholarships with selection based “primarily on financial need”.

Applications will be reviewed by a four-person selection board chaired by Cormac McCarthy, chief executive of Ulster Bank.

Candidates will have to be legally resident in Ireland and meet the normal entry requirements for the courses.

The closing date for entries is June 28th with offers made by the end of July. The successful candidates will begin their studies in September.

The school is regarded as the leading business graduate college in Ireland. It is named after its main patron Michael Smurfit, former head of the global Smurfit packaging company and one of Ireland’s most successful businessmen.

The school’s full-time MBA programme is ranked 37th in the world’s top 100 according to the Economist Intelligence Unit and it is the only Irish business school in the rankings.

It is also ranked in the top 100 in the Financial Times global full-time MBA rankings.