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The student perspective of the inaugural Jack Murphy Scholarship programme

Posted on: 30 May 2019

The student perspective of the inaugural Jack Murphy Scholarship programme
Pictured. Mike Murphy, Andrea Piackova, Rory O’Mathuna, Liam Hennessy, Prof Thia Hennessy

Last year, Cork University Business School and the FDC Group invited students from the MSc Co-operatives, Agri-Food and Sustainable Development and the MSc Management and Marketing to apply for the inaugural FDC Group Jack Murphy Scholarship.

The FDC Group, who employ over 300 staff across 30 locations, began the process of developing the scholarship programme alongside CUBS programme directors Dr Olive McCarthy and Michael Murphy after being impressed by the contribution made by their students on placement within the company.

Together, they established the Jack Murphy Scholarship, which provides successful applicants with a scholarship worth €12,500, along with a guaranteed placement opportunity within the FDC group.  In total, FDC have committed to spending €250,000 on the scholarship over the lifespan of the scholarship programme.

As part of the rigorous application process, and in keeping with the FDC Group’s ambition of meeting the service needs of business and farming clients throughout rural Ireland, applicants were asked to identify an important issue facing rural Ireland and propose a concise strategy to address it.

After assessing each application, a select number of candidates were invited to participate in an interview opposite two FDC Group directors and Professor Thia Hennessy, Dean of Cork University Business School.

In the end, Andrea Piackova and Rory O’Mathuna were awarded Jack Murphy Scholarships based on their respective submissions focusing on the impact of Brexit on the Irish cheese industry and the provision of environmentally friendly solutions in agriculture.

As part of the Jack Murphy Scholarship, both Andrea and Rory have been assigned individual mentors within the FDC Group, who will offer expert advice during the development of a dissertation based on their placement.

Having completed an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science at UCC, the opportunity to learn from industry experts was particularly appealing to Rory.

When I first started researching the MSc Management and Marketing, I found the placement module to be a huge draw.

While the programme can be intense, it provides students with the opportunity to put what they learned in the classroom into practice.

Working alongside Liam Hennessy at the FDC Group, the Scholarship has allowed me to lean on my background and focus on the development of anaerobic digesters as a means of providing an environmentally friendly solution for Irish agriculture.

As an Arts graduate, Andrea entered the MSc Management and Marketing with a limited background in business, but like Rory, she was attracted to the programme by the immersive work placement module.

When I first applied to the programme, the combination of theory and practice really appealed to me.

The Scholarship came as a bonus, but it has allowed me to expand my interests and capabilities.

Pauline O’Keefe is my mentor at the FDC Group. Together, we are working on a branding project, which will inform my dissertation focussing on making the organisation more relatable to graduates.

Having started their placements with FDC Group on March 25th, both Andrea and Rory will spend the summer at the group’s head office on Wellington Road in Cork City before submitting their dissertations in September.

The MSc Co-operatives, Agri-Food and Sustainable Development and the MSc Management and Marketing are currently accepting applications for the Jack Murphy Scholarship ahead of the 2019/20 academic year, to apply download & complete the application form.