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Irish Pharmacist speaks with Prof Gerardine Doyle of UCD about a flexible learning initiative that provides pharmacists and other healthcare professionals with a transformative learning experience to boost their business acumen

The MSc Management Online and MBA courses run by UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School provide pharmacists with the tools they need to advance their careers and gain essential leadership skills. The MSc Management Online course equips learners with the acumen they need for a management or leadership role, and is best suited for people working around a busy full-time schedule who are looking to further develop their careers. It also opens opportunities for pharmacists with both business and non-business backgrounds to transition their careers into leadership roles. The MSc Management Online programme is a newer course that has not previously been available to candidates.

The modular Executive MBA programme allows busy managers to advance their careers whilst gaining an EMBA from the UCD Smurfit School. This highly flexible programme is ideal for those with young families, people with busy careers, and also those outside Dublin who want to study with UCD. It gives candidates access to world-leading research and is one of the world’s leading MBA programmes, ranked 94th in the prestigious Financial Times Full-Time MBA rankings.


Prof Gerardine Doyle, Director of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and Associate Dean, UCD College of Business, spoke with Irish Pharmacist (IP) about the opportunities these courses open-up for pharmacists. “I trained as a pharmacologist myself before honing my business skills, so I have that experience of essentially learning a ‘new language’, so to speak, the language of business, and then applying it to the health sector,” she said. “These courses really are complementary to the business of pharmacy and healthcare and to their existing expertise as pharmacists.”

Prof Doyle continued: “Many pharmacists are currently self-employed or aspire to be entrepreneurs, or to have their own pharmacy or have their own chain in the future. In that regard, it really sets up pharmacists who are currently an employee to become entrepreneurs or owners, and I think many will see these courses as relevant to them.”

Prof Doyle pointed out that following the MBA course, graduates report a 90 per cent employment rate within three months, and a 132 per cent growth in earnings after three years. The courses empower candidates to become effective influencers who can help to make positive changes and impact healthcare in Ireland. As well as learning to lead in a new ‘hybrid’ world, the experience helps candidates to enhance their personal growth and development. The academics who deliver the courses are a world-leading faculty, and both courses feature an exemplary level of support on a schedule that suits the learner. This means that busy pharmacists do not have to put their career on hold while learning their new skills. 

Modular programme

Prof Geraldine Doyle

UCD is ranked among the world’s top 1 per cent of universities and has been educating business leaders for more than 100 years, and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School is Ireland’s leading business education institution (see “We have now introduced what we call a modular Executive MBA Programme,” said Prof Doyle. “This means that rather than being on campus every week, students are on campus two days per month. The students know well in advance when they will be required to be on campus, so they can plan those two intensive days around their work and family life, and they can work online in the meantime. That allows someone to continue their career trajectory and plan those two days per month that they will be out of the community or hospital pharmacy. But it also means that these programmes are suitable for people outside the greater Dublin area.”

Benefit for patients

Prof Doyle commented on how pharmacists specifically, with their healthcare expertise and newly-acquired business acumen, have the potential to effect change in the health system. “We need transformation of our health system at the process level and the patient journey level, but also around the use of technology, in terms of how we can leverage that for the benefit of our patients,” Prof Doyle told MI. “This type of education gives pharmacists the toolkit and skill set to be able to make a real difference.”

She concluded by saying: “The power of education and development of business acumen alongside pharmacists’ clinical expertise can bring about a transformational learning and development experience. That’s really important to us — we try to ensure that our programmes make the learners feel like they have had a transformational learning and development experience.”

Learn more about the UCD Smurfit School MBA and MSc in Management Online and speak to an admissions representative today.

For details of the MSc in Management Part-Time, visit:

Applications for the UCD Smurfit School MBA Programme are now open at: