Sportal.co.nz 30.Apr.2013Getty Images
The Leinster head coach was unveiled as Declan Kidney's successor on Monday and will now look to make improvements after a disappointing Six Nations campaign that saw them pick up only three points.
Schmidt was the brains behind Leinster's two Heinken Cup triumphs in 2011 and 2012, and has also worked at Clermont Auvergne since moving to Europe in 2007.
This season Leinster are only one game away from securing a third European title in three seasons following their semi-final victory over Biarritz in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
"When I came to Leinster in 2010 I didn't really want to be a head coach, but I've really enjoyed the experience since," Schmidt said.
"I'm really motivated by a challenge and this is a super but intimidating one. If you're going to find out what you can bring to a group, what better than to take on one of the big jobs in world rugby.
"I've had a good look at a lot of Ireland's players and when we get our collective together, we'll try to improve performance and make us as competitive as possible."
Ireland have a tour of the USA and Canada on the horizon followed by further matches against Samoa, Australia and New Zealand in Dublin.
Crucial to Schmidt's decision to enter international rugby was the amount of time it allows him to aid his wife look after their nine-year-old son Luke, who suffers from epilepsy.
And he insists that there are benefits to working designated periods of the year, despite any differences there will be between day-to-day management.
"The windows are suffocating, but there is also scope to get back and forth to New Zealand," he added.
"I have a daughter who is studying there so it would be nice to get backwards and forwards to see family. My family were part of the decision, they're very settled here.
"I've spoken out lately about our smaller son and he's looked after superbly at his school. That was a big part of our decision making.