Brian Hogan

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 The MBA experience at DCU completely changed the leadership style of former Kilkenny Captain Brian Hogan.


As a former Kilkenny hurling captain and winner of seven All-Ireland medals, Brian Hogan has achieved a lot. But having retired from top-flight sport he had a new goal in his sights. “If I don't see a path where I can kind of push myself that frightens me,” says Brian of his desire to take on the challenge of a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Brian spoke to people who had done the MBA and the consensus was that “there’s never a perfect time… just go for it.” Graduates he contacted were full of praise for the teaching staff at DCU Business School and “the whole experience,” while an added bonus was the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) Scholarship on offer to former inter-county players. 

The programme is based largely on teamwork and continuous assessment rather than exams. The Kilkenny man found the approach to learning was very engaging, describing the lecturers as “excellent” and the classes as “more of a discussion and an exchange of views.”

For Brian, interacting with his classmates was a vital part of the MBA. “They're bringing their personalities and their experiences to the classroom and that diversity within the MBA enriches the whole experience.”

Brian’s professional experience is mostly in the pharmaceutical industry but he enjoyed collaborating with a team which included a vet, an accountant, and a cybersecurity specialist. All of them had “areas of strength” and they adopted a “divide and conquer” approach to the workload.

Brian feels his experience in sport helped him get the most out of the teamwork aspect of the course. Being able to take on feedback was another skill he learned as a high-performance sportsperson. “You're constantly assessing your performance and your performance is being assessed by others. Sports in general, no matter what level you play at, is fantastic in terms of enabling people to develop those skills.”

At the start of the MBA, the areas he wanted to develop included leadership, finance and strategy but the personal development aspect of the course also attracted him. This included personality tests and long-term reflection on personal strengths and weaknesses which culminated in the submission of a document that outlined areas of personal growth during the two years in addition to areas for future development. 

Brian certainly noticed a change in his approach to certain aspects of his professional life. “I would say I’ve absolutely changed as a person in my leadership style. I would have much greater appreciation for the wider skill set needed.”

When thinking about leadership, Brian reflected on his sporting career “to understand actually how that influenced me and why.” The MBA also gave him time to reflect on the results-driven environment of a legendary Kilkenny team, managed by Brian Cody. “Was it the perfect environment? Not necessarily, but it did tick a lot of boxes necessary for that particular group of players. I suppose it was the right person with the right group of players at the right time.”

The MBA opened the door to his current job. One of the first guest speakers on the course was from Optum, the US health solution and care delivery organisation. The talk sparked his interest in the company and just over two years later, Brian is now working for their Dublin operation. “The new role is really interesting but challenging at the same time. There's a positive culture within the organisation and the team I've joined are fantastic,” he says.

Reflecting on the MBA programme at DCU Business School, Brian concedes that the workload is “substantial” but says the overall experience was highly enjoyable. “Looking back on it, it flew!”

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