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Trinity MBA Attend G20 Summit as Young Global Changers

April 1st, 2019

Edward O'Loughlin, Eimear Duff, Alejandra Garza Viejo, and Alex Wake recently attended the G20 Global Solutions Initiative Summit in Berlin, meeting world leaders such as Angela Merkel. The event brought together international research organisations, thought-leaders and decision-makers to provide policy recommendations on major G20 issues. Read more about their story.  

MBA Students Young Global Changers Edward O'Loughlin, Eimear Duff, Alejandra Garza Viejo, and Alex Wake.

Alejandra Garza Viejo

Trinity MBA Class of 2019

Human Capital Analyst from Mexico

"The Trinity MBA gave me the opportunity to participate in this amazing summit where I got to meet 90 inspiring Young Global Changers from 60 different countries, as well as learn from global leaders on how to solve key G20 issues and achieve a Paradigm Change. I am really proud to be a Trinity student as I have not only gained new knowledge and skills but have also significantly developed myself and my leadership style."

Alex Wake

Trinity MBA Class of 2019

"The Global Solutions Summit turned out to be one of the most eye-opening experiences I have been fortunate enough to attend. Not only the summit itself, but the Young Global Changers program with which we were involved. Bringing together 90 people from around 80 different countries created this melting pot of ideas, experiences and perspectives. I met someone from Burundi, working to develop educational programs in refugee camps, someone fighting against LGBTQ oppression in Uganda, someone from Mexico developing a new kind of plastic material to combat the amount of plastic waste.

It was inspiring to hear how passionate and driven these people were to create impactful change around the world. Interestingly, many people were facing a similar set of challenges, namely, a lack of support. Governments are too slow and ineffective; businesses are not fully bought in and are often at the heart of the problems they are trying to solve. This theme carried through to the Summit itself. The problems the world is facing were well articulated from world-leading experts and think tanks. You can tell there is a much greater awareness of the problems and their potential consequences. What needs to change was evident and accurately addressed, but what wasn’t discussed as much, was how this was going to happen. Perhaps this is the next stage in tackling the problems, but this where the focus now needs to be.

This is where I think the Trinity MBA has been extremely successful. An emphasis that I’ve felt from the program is not adhering to the status quo just because that is what works now or worked in the past. The world is changing drastically and is facing some of the biggest challenges it has seen. Business has a significant role to play in what that future looks like. My Trinity MBA journey has challenged me on the role I am going to play in this future, how I can bring about positive, impactful change. Forcing me to think bigger and think better."

Eimear Duff

Trinity MBA Class of 2019

Medical Doctor from Ireland

“The Trinity MBA education is hallmarked by the challenge to ‘put in more than we take out'. Paying as much attention to our marginalised as to our margins, working toward shaping a better world, is seen as integral to the purpose of business. I was motivated to pursue an MBA to understand how medicine interacts with the broader ecosystem we live in of political, social, economic and environmental complexity. I wished to gain a macro perspective, as health is not simply about a sector, but about a society. Instead of thinking of treatments first, I believe that much suffering can be prevented by thinking upstream, to much larger underlying determinants of health, including healthy ecosystems, stable climate, and healthy environments.

My MBA journey so far could not have provided better educational opportunities for me to 'zoom out' of clinical medicine and gain new perspectives on these issues. it was my immense honour to attend the G20 Global Solutions Initiative in Berlin last week as a Young Global Changer (YGC). The YGC Summer School brought together 90 young people who, rather than demanding change, work to supply it. Gaining exposure to an environment like this so early in my career has been one of the many life-changing opportunities undertaking the Trinity MBA has made possible. It has also been an immense privilege to be one of five students in Ireland selected for the Iveagh Fellowship Programme, recently launched by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Saothar. The programme will allow me to undertake a high-quality internship in an international policy organisation following the MBA. This is an outstanding opportunity to learn about forming effective policy solutions to health challenges.

The MBA exposes me to cutting-edge business and academic thinking in fields such as leadership, economics, strategic management, negotiation and sustainability. In tandem with my medical background, this makes me well-placed to engage with complex global challenges from multiple perspectives. Within a multicultural team, I am currently embarking on a capstone strategic project with a large multinational company. Such experiences will enable me to thrive in the context of any international organisation.

I had conversations with a highly international group young people - someone sitting next to me may have been working to reform politics anywhere across the globe, be it in Myanmar, Lebanon or Romania, or looking at sustainability solutions anywhere from Pakistan to Australia. The cohort was matched in diversity only by their single-minded dedication to making world a better place to live in.

The Global Solutions Initiative summit, which followed on from the summer school, boasted a dizzying 241 speakers. The tagline of the summit was that the recoupling of economic and social gains is the underlying precondition for sustainability and urgently needed paradigm change. The basic premise of what an economy is for - to be most effective means for matching human needs and human opportunities – is deemed to have been lost. Yet to reframe this, if we consider the needs that exist in the world as opportunities, then we have never had as many opportunities. Our challenge is to think about this question really broadly, and to use all of the tools at our disposal, including technology. 

We were addressed by an international business leader from Ireland, Colm Kelly, who strives to internalise social purpose into PWC. He spoke of the need to rewire the economic operating system from one with a relatively short-term, financial focus to one which can deliver sustainable outcomes. To catalyse change through frameworks for accountability, his mantra is simple: “lead”. “I understand the business challenge, but if you feel that this is what you want to do in your country, step up and lead”. Given that it is very hard for business to resist transparency pressures, he advocates that we need to be more explicit about what businesses are doing and the impact they are having. This translates to a democratisation of information, in which people “vote” with their wallet. 

We were invited to follow the example of the other living worlds to create a mutually supportive human ecosystem. Here, our local, notional, religious, ethnic (and hopefully in the future, global) cultures are in synchrony with one another. We therefore need to think of concrete things to do that will contribute to the larger ecosystem that we are building. Movements are started not by central planning, but by a common narrative. Environmental sustainability was a key theme of the conference. Speakers espoused the need to use the methodologies we have more quickly. We have a limited opportunity offer to make progress now.”

Edward O'Loughlin

Trinity MBA Class of 2019



"Attending the Global Solutions Summit in Berlin was one of the highlights of my year to date, adding greatly to my understanding around a broad range of challenges facing society and the economy in today’s world. It was a truly global gathering with a depth of discussion and analysis I have rarely witnessed at such events. This was helped by the blend of political, academic, think-tank, business and more participants in attendance. The level and quality of the panellists resulted in really insightful reflections and perspectives, aimed at further feeding into the T20 and G20 Summit in Japan. Including a ‘Young Global Changers’ cohort to the event also broadened the perspectives and was a great way to rally a next generation of global leaders around contributing to finding solutions for such on-going societal and economic challenges.

The willingness of the organisers, for the Berlin summit to be about discussing and analysing potential solutions and new directions in such an open manner, was truly inspiring.  Another word that came to me at the time was “brave”, and that is what we need, to be brave enough to discuss openly the possibility of a new paradigm or indeed new paradigms for the future.

The theme of the summit was a discussion that centred around the need for a global paradigm change to help recouple social, political and economic progress. With globalisation and the rush to growth over recent decades we can identify a number of significant goods, such as lifting over a billion people out of poverty and greatly reducing the birth mortality rate. But such growth has also put significant pressure on our physical environment and our social norms. How to maintain the incentive for growth and development, while being more protective of society and our environment, will be one of the key challenges going forward.

One of the many key take-aways I took from the summit was an even greater acceptance and understanding of the importance that Asia will play in contributing to finding ways forward to the many challenges we face at a global level. I had the pleasure of having a very insightful one-to-one interview with one of the panellists, a businessman from Hong Kong. He emphasised the need for being open to ideas from the east and from all. Clearly we face shared global challenges and we will need to find shared solutions.

As I am involved in developing an entrepreneurial initiative around aging societies, it was a great opportunity to interact with a high-level panel dealing with this issue and to get feedback from experts from for example Japan and Australia where they are involved in very innovative initiatives in this area. Facilitators from PwC also provided very helpful one-to-one guidance on helping translate mine and other entrepreneurial ideas into more viable business models.

Finally to add, the executive MBA itself has been an amazing experience for me so far. Apart from the inspiring core modules, there have been many additional outstanding learning opportunities arising for me, such as actively participating in this Global Solutions Summit in Berlin and to work on a significant Google digital marketing campaign this summer.  Another outstanding elective element for me to date was the ‘Negotiation for Value’ module held in Belgium, which also included attending briefings on trade negotiations with the European Commission. I also greatly look forward to doing an elective at Cape Town University, in South Africa, which will focus on Sustainability and business."