The 14 participants are part of a management development program organized by the University of Ulster Business School. CIM seemed a natural fit for one of the program's key aspects, which is to foster trade opportunities outside of Ireland and particularly in the US, explained University of Ulster Business School Program Manager Melissa Doherty.
Small Business Development Center Director John McKiernan (center) talks with Irish businessmen Keith Redmond, left, and Declan Hughes at a reception marking the conclusion of last month's Center for Irish Management Program. Program participants took classes in CSOM and visited area companies.
"It has been a great experience for everyone," Doherty said. "When we contacted CIM, they asked us, 'What do you want? What would you like to come away with from this program?' They were very attentive to our needs and at the same time helped the executives get the most out of this opportunity."
CIM Director Sean Rowland said the executives represent an important segment of the evolving Irish economy, one which the center is committed to supporting.
"It is the small business community who are the new job providers in Ireland," he explained. "They tend to be a more stable source of employment, because they are less likely to relocate. The center's purpose is to help create jobs and opportunities for Ireland and Northern Ireland, to help get people out of the ranks of the unemployed. So one way we do that is by providing small businesses with contacts and other resources that enable them to thrive."
Rowland added that the participants - whose businesses deal in areas such as agricultural machinery and construction - were particularly good candidates for the CIM program. In addition to visits to the Star Market corporate offices, the Foxboro Co. and other businesses, Rowland noted, the group prepared for intensive seminars with CSOM faculty. This entailed familiarizing themselves with the case study method, a central component of US management education that is largely unfamiliar in many other countries.
"They were a seasoned group of executives," he said. "For them, this was not an exercise in theory but in practice. They came to Boston very interested in making contacts with the business community here and they'll be expecting to follow up on these opportunities."
"During our stay, we've seen some amazing retailing and manufacturing methods," said David McIlmoye, a manager with Jaymont UK, which is affiliated with an American paper company. "We've also heard some very interesting things about business and management through an academic perspective. We will be going home with a headful of ideas."
Doherty said she and the group were "impressed by the center's professionalism and we look forward to strengthening this partnership in the near future."
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