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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Shane O'Neill Eoin Murray

UCD/The Journal MBA scholar 'My job had changed so much, I needed to learn more'

Eoin Murray is the most recent recipient of The Journal/UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School Scholarship. He writes about his career and why he took on an MBA.

WHEN ENTERING THE University of Limerick to study Environmental Science when I was a teenager, I could never have imagined what my job looks like at the moment. 

Interested in the sciences, I went on to study a masters in analytical chemistry and from there did an industry-based PhD researching new water monitoring solutions. 

Skip forward to today and in my role as head of research and development (R&D) at Aquamonitrix, I spend as much time worrying about meetings, marketing and sales pitches as developing the scientific technologies that I have dedicated myself to. 

That’s not a complaint – it’s just an odd sign of success.

During my industry-based PhD, completed with the support of my previous employer – an oil and environmental analysis company – TE Laboratories, I developed a product that saw a new company spun out from the parent one in 2021. 

I actually won the European Young Chemist of the Year Gold Medal, awarded by the European Chemical Society for my PhD developing the water analyser technology. That technology measures nitrite and nitrate in water. 

People in Ireland will be familiar with hearing about nitrates in the news given what’s happening with our agriculture derogation from the EU but the groundbreaking technology actually has a broad range of applications – from environmental to process control — meaning many companies, industries and countries should be told about its value. 

To be honest, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster what the company is in the middle of at the moment. A global product means dealing with everything on a global level – like water utilities in different countries around the world, which, at the best of times, can be slow to work with. Last month, we won the BIM Aquatech Business of the Year as a result of the analysers being bought by fish farms all over the world. 

As I found myself doing that range of tasks beyond the technical stuff I know – like developing relationships with international partners – I knew I needed to try to match my skills in those areas to my academic grounding in science in some meaningful way.  

I was being challenged on a daily basis and I thought that doing an MBA would allow me to develop the business skills to increase my value and impact in that area. 

As a start-up, I was eager to look at a scholarship and when looking at the UCD Smurfit options, I saw The Journal scholarship on offer. It made the decision a lot easier. 

I’m delighted with every aspect of it so far — from the stress-free campus to the quality of the programme itself. I’m learning as I go along — but my main takeaway so far is that it’s different to my previous academic endeavours. It’s not about getting good marks in tests, it’s about everyone in the room, working together, wanting to have a high-level understanding of all the different areas their role lands them in. 

Modules and subjects like competitive strategy and leadership & organisation mean I’m learning how to build on the company’s start-up success, how to assess what we do, make plans for future development and so on. It’s been really, really valuable.

I’m hoping by the end of the course, I won’t find myself out of my comfort zone as much – although I know that’s part of the fun of a start-up venture – and that I’ll be able to apply new skills to add value for our company and our business moving forward. 

Among the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School’s programmes for prospective graduates are a full-time MBA and a two-year, part-time Executive MBA (EMBA).

Eoin Murray won The Journal/UCD Smurfit Business School Scholarship and for the fifth year running, we are again offering one reader a scholarship to cover 100% of tuition fees – worth up to €36,760 – for either course, starting August 2024.

Find more details about the scholarship here. The closing date for scholarship applications is 30 April 2024.

For details on how to enter, including eligibility criteria, simply follow this link.

Good luck!