UL MBA alumni feature

Gerard Bracken

2014 MBA graduate

The MBA from UL has proven to be the key to unlocking my full professional/career potential.”

After moving to Stryker from Dell in 2011, I began to think about my professional future and realised I wanted to move up to senior leadership roles from my position as Senior Project Manager. I soon discovered that the skills and knowledge I had gained, both from professional experience and a Master’s from UL in Project Management, were too focused and technical for me to move into a senior business leadership role. I didn’t have the depth and breadth of business expertise that many of the senior managers possessed and I wasn’t confident enough to apply for the jobs I wanted.

I had heard that several colleagues in senior roles had completed the MBA programme at UL, sponsored by Stryker, and had subsequently progressed upward 3 and 4 positions into key leadership roles. I discussed my career goals with senior management and HR, and they agreed that the MBA programme would be the perfect launching pad for my career at Stryker and offered to sponsor my education.

There was never any question that the MBA at UL was the right programme for me. The business school at the University of Limerick is in the top 2% of business schools globally, so I knew that the degree would open a lot of doors for me. I am very lucky to be part of an organisation that values diverse education, Stryker understands how important it is for those in leadership positions to also have a solid understanding of the on-the-ground work and underlying theory.


There are so many different aspects of the MBA at UL that I can point to as having been directly influential in my professional progression.”

At first I was concerned about balancing my work, school and home life, but the programme structure of 3 day blocks is perfect for people with busy lives. This meant that I could really immerse myself in the content while I was on-campus and then apply what I had learned to real-life situations when I went back to work. There were also a lot of peer-to-peer learning opportunities, so I was able to meet and learn from other students from all kinds of sectors with different personal and professional backgrounds. Many of us still keep in contact – it’s great to have contacts in other companies and sectors across the country and globally, and we’ll often use each other as a sounding board when challenges arise in our work.

The freedom to choose my own electives was a very important part of the program for me. I was able to choose subjects such as economics, business strategy and leadership, which were areas that I had very little experience in. This enabled me to tailor my MBA for the career path I wanted, Other MBA programs don’t allow for this kind of bespoke learning – the type of education that provided me with the comprehensive set of business skills to move up 3 positions within my company!

The international trip we took to Brazil was an incredibly unique and an illuminating experience for me, personally and professionally. We were able to visit different companies in Rio and Sao Paolo, and it was so edifying to see first-hand how different business cultures can be. While we were there, senior management from large companies like Embraer and the Stock Exchange spoke with us about their own professional experiences and opinions, leaving us with insight into the international business world that helped me to secure my promotion to Global Senior Program Manager.


I am so proud to think that the skills I learned in the MBA program are now benefitting the children and families in my community.

The MBA not only opened my eyes to a world of career possibilities, it also provided me with an open-mindedness that allowed me to see clearly how my new skills could be used to help others. I am now a Chairperson and Executive Director of the Northside Family Resource Centre and King’s Island Creche, which provides support and services and facilitates programmes for children and families in the areas.

In this position, I use my new business acumen to give highly strategic and effective advice to help the business run smoothly and to improve the organisation that support programs for families, children and older people. Without the skills and perspective I took away from the MBA programme at UL, I would never have been able to lend my support to the organisations that are so important to our community.

The MBA at the University of Limerick truly motivated me to achieve more, both in my career and in my personal life. It has given me the skills and knowledge to solve issues strategically and the confidence in my ability to successfully lead my team and work on a global scale. I am proud of who I am today thanks to the UL MBA program.

  • Home Region: Limerick, Ireland
  • Undergrad Education: MA of Project Management, UL
  • Current Role: Global Program Manager, Instruments Division Operations Leadership Team at Stryker
  • Previous Experience:
    • Senior Project Manager, Stryker
    • Senior Project Manager, DePuy Synthes Companies
    • Project Manager, Dell

2024 programme brochure

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