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MBA Fellowship Created for Irish Students

Denis O'Brien

By Jack Dunn | Director of News & Public Affairs

Published: Apr. 9, 2015

Irish entrepreneur and philanthropist Denis O’Brien has established a fellowship at Boston College that will provide two Irish students annually with a fully-funded master’s degree in business administration (MBA) at the Carroll School of Management.
O’Brien, chairman and principal shareholder of Digicel Group, one of the world’s fastest growing cellular companies, and owner and board member of Communicorp, Ireland’s largest media holding company, has created the Denis O’Brien Fellowship at Boston College to provide an opportunity for aspiring business leaders from Ireland to obtain a world-class graduate education at a premier American university. O’Brien graduated from Boston College with an MBA in corporate finance in 1982.

The O’Brien Fellowship will cover the full cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, books and living expenses for the duration of the MBA program, as well as international travel to and from Boston. The candidates for the fellowship must be Irish citizens of exceptional academic and/or career achievement, who possess the high personal and professional standards of the program’s namesake.

“Boston College and Ireland have had a long and illustrious association,” said O’Brien. “I am delighted to continue this with a scholarship program for two Irish nationals to have the opportunity to pursue a two-year MBA program in management at Boston College.”

Carroll School of Management Dean Andrew Boynton expressed gratitude to O’Brien for the generous gift that established the fellowship. “We are honored that Denis has created the O’Brien Fellowship at Boston College, as it will provide an invaluable opportunity for Irish students who want to pursue an MBA at one of the top business schools in the United States. He is a person who has brought acclaim to his alma mater as a student, global business leader and generous alumnus. We are grateful for his support.”         

Ranked fourth among business schools in the United States by Bloomberg/BusinessWeek, the Carroll School is internationally regarded for its graduate programs in entrepreneurial and asset management, corporate finance, marketing and accounting. The MBA program attracts top students from diverse backgrounds and experiences who work closely with Boston College faculty in a program that combines sequenced course work with experiential learning. Carroll School alumni are among the top leaders in the corporate, non-profit and finance world.

In addition to his extensive business interests, O’Brien chaired the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Ireland, which featured teams from 160 countries and more than 30,000 volunteers, in the first-ever games held outside of the United States. O’Brien is also a director on the US Board of Concern Worldwide and a member of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

O’Brien is the chairman and co-founder of Frontline, the Dublin-based International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, which works to ensure that the standards set out in the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders are known, respected and adhered to worldwide. He also established The Iris O’Brien Foundation to identify and assist projects in Ireland and abroad that aim to alleviate disadvantaged communities. O’Brien holds a BA degree from University College Dublin, which also presented him with an honorary degree in 2006.  

Information on how to apply for the O’Brien Fellowship is available at