UL MBA alumni feature

Eithna O'Leary

2008 MBA graduate

The UL MBA gave me the spark to further succeed and all of the skills to progress my career with confidence.

The sudden death of my husband and being a mum to five young children brought challenges to our world and I decided to set up my own veterinary regulatory affairs consultancy to do my best to combine career with family life. Two years later I decided to study for an MBA at UL which opened a new chapter and gave me the all-round business knowledge for senior business roles. The MBA also provided a network of new, stimulating and diverse classmates and class discussions and groupwork opened up new perspectives and learning.

Equipped for growth

Now I understand how to make better decisions, ensuring everyone in the team works well together to get the best result.

Since graduating from UL, the skills I learned during the MBA have been key to unlocking career success. In 2009, I became the managing director of an international veterinary pharmaceutical company, Warburton Technology, which set up an Irish office in Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry.

The tools I learned in the MBA have been essential to commercialising the business. The finance and entrepreneurship components, for example, were particularly helpful in taking a small, rurally located business and developing it to the global market. I drew on frameworks learned during the MBA to grow the business, scale it, and lead our team.

Ten years on, the business is now a global vet pharma company with its patented range of MultiminTM products. We have a team of eight now employed in Kerry and a further 9 working from a US subsidiary Multimin USA in Colorado. In all there are 8 veterinary surgeons. The company has grown to achieve multi-million-euro product sales and is active in developing new products. On Dec 3rd 2019 the business was sold to Paine Schwartz Partners (PSP) a US private equity fund, who are excited to further expand the business and work in this space. MultiminTM products are currently sold in USA, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and this year licences were also obtained in Ireland, France and the UK. The strategic skills I developed through the MBA were instrumental in that success. Crucially, the MBA taught me how to ask the right questions when presented with a challenge. Through the strategy and leadership modules, I learned to regularly step back from operational fire-fighting and take a bird’s eye view, reflect, and take effective action. The MBA gave me the skills to make better decisions.

Working with our team to facilitate growth is another area where I feel the MBA has given me a real head start. The strategic HR modules were excellent to help teach how to ensure everyone in the team works to their strengths and works well together to get the best results. During the HR modules, I discovered the different motivators and personality types in all teams and how best to retain employees & cultivate each employee’s career path. It is leadership skills like these that have helped our team to achieve success –both for the business and for themselves.

Empowering others

Building a successful business, that has positive impact on the local economy, while being able to simultaneously be there for my family has given me great personal satisfaction.

I am an advocate of supporting mothers in the workplace. I really benefitted from the flexible nature of the MBA at UL and flexibility in my own working life. In our overall MultiminTM team we have 9 flexitime working mothers and work is structured to offer flexible hours to allow best management of family and career. I truly believe you don’t necessarily have to work full time hours to make a very positive impact in the workplace. With the right support, for mothers who want to continue also to work outside the home, I believe it is possible to work and parent successfully.

Our rural location offers a great quality of life. At our local school Colaiste Na Sceilge in Caherciveen an excellent initiative was started by two local teachers in 2017 “Empowering Women”. It allows local women in various businesses speak to and interface with the secondary school students about opportunities in business and in particular shares the values/quality of life from working in the local rural location. It encourages young girls to look at careers with business opportunities and it emphasises that, if it is what you want, you can have a family simultaneous with a successful career. It is a really positive initiative and one I am delighted to participate in.

Ultimately, building a successful business from a rural location, that has impacted positively on the local economy, while being able to simultaneously be there for my children, has been great. The company is still very much in the development stages, with lots of room to scale up internationally into new markets & progress with new licences and additional products. It’s a hugely exciting time for the company, and for me and one that will see me continue to draw on the core skills, tools and frameworks I learned during the MBA.

  • Undergrad Education: Trinity College Dublin, 1997 University College Dublin, 1990
  • Current Role: Managing Director, Warburton Technology
  • Previous Experience:
    • Manager, Pegasus Business Consultancy
    • Managing Director, Ballinskelligs Veterinary Products
    • Veterinary Surgeon, TF O’Leary Veterinary Practice

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