UL MBA alumni feature

Mike Finucane

2010 MBA graduate

With over 15 years’ experience in engineering and manufacturing, I realised I had become pigeonholed. The MBA helped me break free to take on challenging new leadership roles

When I applied to study for an MBA in 2008, I was working for Dell, managing a vast factory project in Poland. My background is in Mechanical engineering, was put to good use as I varied my career from Process Engineering, Project management, Operations management before finally working in Health & Safety. I found the technical side of my career very rewarding.

Despite my success in each of the fields, I began to realise that with over 15 years’ experience in engineering and Health and Safety, I had inadvertently become pigeonholed. To progress into the kind of leadership roles that I had my eye on, I would need to expand my skill set and plug the gaps in my general business knowledge.

After chatting to friends and colleagues, I decided that an MBA at UL would be the best way to expand my capabilities. Dell was very supportive, and the three-day block release structure meant I could study as part of my working week.

With positive alumni feedback and sponsorship from my employer, I was keen to start the next chapter of my career by studying for an MBA at University of Limerick.

The MBA was instrumental in helping me break free of my specialism to take on those exciting leadership roles.

Sure enough, the MBA was instrumental in helping me break free of my specialism to take on those exciting leadership roles. Just two years after graduating from UL, I was able to pivot in my career, taking a role as General Manager of Shannondoc.

As an out of hours medical care provider, Shanondoc was worlds away from my background in Engineering and Health &Safety. The move represented a big challenge, but it was a unique opportunity – a role that I could not have imagined taking on if it weren’t for my MBA learning.

At the time I joined the company, Shannondoc was undergoing a period of intensive change and restructuring. As General Manager, I was able to leverage the processes and tools I learnt during the MBA to streamline that transformation.
The UL strategic thinking and analytics modules were of great impact here. They enabled me to look at a problem from multiple perspectives, which was particularly useful during negotiations. I was able to see all sides of an argument and develop positive ‘change leadership’ strategies.

Throughout my time at Shannondoc, I was able to hone the many skills I learnt during the MBA. Much of my role involved developing and implementing strategies to ensure Shannondoc remained financially viable despite the ongoing economic challenges and changes at the HSE. In this respect, the finance knowledge I built up through the MBA was invaluable, as well as the change management strategies.

These key skills allowed me to accelerate in this role and after seven years, I was ready to move to a larger, more commercial organisation. I’m now working with Bayada Home Health Care, an approved national provider of paediatric homecare for children with complex and life limiting conditions as well as care to adults.

UL’s Human Resources modules were superb. They helped me take stock and reflect on my leadership style, such that today, I can lead with confidence.

Three years into this role and I still find it incredibly challenging and rewarding. Our goal at BAYADA is to provide the highest quality home health care services available. We believe our clients and their families deserve home health care delivered with Compassion, Excellence, and Reliability, our BAYADA core values. Bayada provides care to both children and adults across the country, the help that we provide to those families is vital, it allows their loved ones to be at home in the care of their families, so career satisfaction in this job is certainly a plus!

As General Manager, I lead several teams to facilitate the care that Bayada provides. Fortunately, UL’s Human Resources modules were superb. They helped me take stock and reflect on my leadership style, such that today, I can lead with confidence, enabling my staff to give their best and utilise their expertise to full effect.

Working with others during the MBA helped to inform my current management style. The cohort at UL was diverse, with students from a range of industries and backgrounds. Discussion and collaboration with my peers helped me to become more open minded; to adapt and become more flexible, which today helps me to manage several teams with different skills.

In fact, agility has been the watchword of my experience at Bayada because shortly after I joined the company in 2019, the Covid pandemic hit. Working in healthcare at this time was unpredictable, but the finance modules helped me navigate this period of rapid change.
From operating expenses to capital expenditure, cash flow to working capital, I had to be expert in every aspect of the business. The finance acumen I picked up from the MBA was crucial in helping me navigate this environment right from the beginning of the Covid outbreak.

In terms of strategy, the MBA was essential – it taught me to slow down and look at the bigger picture during the pandemic. The MBA strategy modules helped me to see the wood from the trees and from a practical standpoint, Bayada was ahead of the game. Our staff are geographically dispersed, so we were already familiar with advanced IT systems, remote working and zoom meetings, which was a steep learning curve for some companies when the pandemic hit.

Now I regularly take time to recalibrate, dialling back on company activity occasionally to assess things before moving forward. The MBA helps me ask the right questions to make sure we are on the right track.

  • Undergrad Education: B. Eng, Mechanical Engineering, Heriot-Watt University
  • Current Role: General Manager - BAYADA Home Health Care

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