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Aideen O’Driscoll is Making Waves After Completing UCC Executive MBA programme

By: Alan Drumm | Posted on: 16 Oct 2020

Aideen O’Driscoll is Making Waves After Completing UCC Executive MBA programme

Launched in September 2018 by Professor Thia Hennessy, Dean of Cork University Business School, and Carol Andrews, Chair of the 30% Club Ireland, the CUBS 30% Club UCC Executive MBA Scholarship is designed to help promote women take on leadership roles within companies and organisations. 

Two years after becoming its inaugural recipient, Aideen O’Driscoll, is preparing to accelerate her career at Ardmore Shipping after completing the UCC Executive MBA programme. 

Originally motivated by her ambition to contribute to the company’s strategic development, Aideen enrolled in the UCC Executive MBA programme and applied for the 30% Club Scholarship. Now the Director of Human Resources at the international shipping giant, Aideen is beginning to fulfil her goal. 

I knew that I would need to broaden my experience and knowledge to progress in my career. That’s when I first began to look at the Executive MBA programme. 

Given the fact that I was coming from a legal background, I had researched several HR specific postgraduate programmes that would allow me to specialise, but ultimately the MBA aligned with my career ambitions. 

Obviously, winning the Scholarship made things a little easier for me, but I couldn’t have completed the programme without the support of the Ardmore Shipping. I want to repay the company by contributing at a strategic level. 

As part of her successful scholarship application, Aideen drew on her own experiences of working in an industry that has traditionally been depicted as being male-dominated. 

As such, throughout the programme, Aideen has been keen to demonstrate that while shipping is a traditional industry, it is becoming more progressive and forward orientated. 

By its very nature, shipping is a global industry. Without diversity and inclusion, it just wouldn’t work. Ardmore is staffed with international teams both ashore and at sea, and our ships dock in ports all over the world.  

The pandemic has created significant difficulties for the shipping industry, and this year has been an exceptionally difficult one for our seafarers. We have had to draw on the skillsets of a diverse and multinational team to try to arrange for crew changes, and to get our people home to their families.  

This has involved responding to a variety of different local regulations and continually changing rules and restrictions, visa requirements as well as hugely limited flight and travel options.  

When it comes to gender equality, like other industries shipping can do more but we are making considerable progress. Just last month I had the privilege to speak at the Women in Shipping Virtual Summit, and the sense of purpose and passion around this topic is evident. 

Aideen’s broad outlook resonated with much of what she discovered during the MBA programme, which facilitates learning through dialogue and debate. 

It was during these discussions that Aideen gained insights into how business leaders overcame challenges using a variety of methodologies. The engaging nature of this unique learning environment resonated with Aideen, who found herself being exposed to people whose skills and knowledge stood apart from her own. 

I’ll miss the interactive nature of the MBA. The ideas that were exchanged during debates and conversations was an education in itself  

The group work was extraordinary. You had people with from diverse organisations problem solving together. It was a real melting pot that provided tangible networking opportunities. 

The CUBS 30% Club UCC Executive MBA Scholarship, which consists of 100% tuition fees for the UCC Executive MBA 2021/22 programme, is welcoming applications from female business leaders who have already been accepted onto the UCC Executive MBA programme. The closing date for applications is 4 December 2020. 

To discover how the UCC Executive MBA can benefit you and your organisation, contact us at mba@ucc.ie, or at 021-490 4915.