UF Executive MBA students visit the Jameson Distillery in Dublin, Ireland and learn about how the 238-year-old company is diversifying its brand offerings.

Global Immersion Experience in Dublin brings business lessons to life for Executive MBA students

By Kevin Ott

My name is Kevin Ott, and I live in Orlando, Florida. I am currently enrolled in the Executive MBA (EMBA) program at the University of Florida. As I approach the mid-point of the program, I can honestly say it was a great decision to pursue a UF EMBA and invest the time and resources needed for the next evolution in my career and professional growth. The UF EMBA program stood out to me the most, among three other Florida universities, because of a few advantages. The first advantage was the professionalism of the UF MBA staff, professors and the UF community.  The second advantage was the level of commitment and challenge the program required from students to solve real business problems. The third advantage was the UF MBA community network of current students, alumni, and partners that offer a variety of short and long-term benefits.

Our recent Global Immersion Experience (GIE) in Dublin, Ireland is a good example of a short-term benefit through a unique experiential learning opportunity. The GIE program began on a Sunday with a preliminary review of group presentations on various Irish industries to acclimate our cohort to the different businesses we would meet later in the week. Each day we met with two unique businesses that in some cases were market leaders in their industry. This experience was great because it allowed our UF EMBA cohort to connect course concepts we learned during the past two terms with key topics and strategies conveyed by the presenters at each business. For example, we learned that Irish whiskey company Jameson made a key acquisition within the up-and-coming microbrewery market to further diversify its brand offerings, grow market share in a new market segment to the 238-year-old company, and to connect more personally with their consumers. Other examples include Havas (a full-service advertising agency) and Oracle Digital (a leader in cloud solutions focused on medium and large business) using innovative solutions for their client’s success in brand loyalty and marketing, human resources and operations.

The other business meetings we had were just as important, especially learning more about great business applications from the U.S. Embassy, IDA, Primark, Ibec and KPMG. In fact, some business managers in our cohort are now considering new business partners and locations in Dublin for greater distribution opportunities and related incentives. Other key concepts we were able to see in a real business setting that we’ve learned about in our classes include economics, organizational behavior, marketing, statistical analysis and much more.  Overall, the theme among the cohort was very positive to the point where the trip exceeded our expectations.

UF Executive MBA students explored the modern architecture in Dublin while visiting companies such as Primark, KPMG and Ibec.

The business meetings during the day were coupled with fun daily experiences of Irish history, cuisine and amazing landscapes. While our main travels centered around the Dublin city center, we were also able to experience coastal bay areas, older historical sites, and the modern architecture in downtown Dublin, where the city’s real estate growth is measured by massive industrial cranes in action (approximately 78, which is a great lift in Dublin real estate). Planning by our tour guide Jerry and the UF MBA staff was another great component of the trip, efforts which resulted in more lively travels between each destination and the precision of meeting times, lunch excursions and city exploration.

This truly was a great experience, and I know our cohort has plenty of pictures, video clips, souvenirs and stories to back it up. We left the U.S. on a quest to build our professional knowledge as UF EMBA students, but we came back with so much more. I would summarize the GIE trip in the following sentence: The UF EMBA Global Immersion Experience trip to Dublin was a great opportunity to connect, grow, and apply course concepts on a global business perspective. We look forward to discussing the trip in the future and applying key concepts to our professions and the final three terms of the UF EMBA program. Go Gators!


To learn more about how you can join the UF Executive MBA program and have the business lessons learned in class brought to life on Global Immersion Experiences, please click here.