The Australian has some act to follow after Schmidt guided Leinster to a RaboDirect PRO12 and Amlin Challenge Cup double last season, not to mention back to back Heineken Cup titles in 2011 and 2012.
O'Connor knows a thing or two about achieving success however, playing a key role as Richard Cockerill's right-hand man at Leicester for the last five years, helping the Tigers to a tenth English Premiership title last season.
And he's not about to rest on his laurels in the Leinster hot-seat.
"I think the level of expectation is a real positive, it drives the whole organisation, back room staff and players to make sure we are at the top of our game every day," he said.
"There is no internal pressure in relation to that because our expectation is already there, it's not trying to live up to a false ceiling, and it's an in-built thing that drives us to be good every day.
"I think the boys are ready to play, there has been a sharper edge to them the last couple of weeks, knowing that their games just around the corner and not another running and weight session.
"I think it's about fighting to protect the things that have made Leinster very successful and it's about looking at it with a critical eye and making the necessary adjustments to make us better.
"There are a lot of things that are very positive about the club and the way they play their rugby and there are also a handful of things that you can probably look at and adjust.
"And to be fair the players and staff have been very willing to make those adjustments and there are not things they have held onto because historically it's given them previous successions they are very bloody minded in the sense of, they know what they delivered last year isn't going to be good enough this year."
Not many have arrived at the RDS over the summer but Springbok flyer Zane Kirchner catches the eye while second row Mike McCarthy has joined from fellow Irish province Connacht.
In terms of departures, Jonny Sexton, fresh from helping the British & Irish Lions to victory over Australia, is the most high-profile but in comes New Zealander Jimmy Gopperth to compete with Ian Madigan, who has just signed a new contract with the province.
"It's very much a sporting mentality of being lucky enough to see Jimmy in a Super Rugby environment and seeing Jimmy in a Premiership environment," added O'Connor.
"And he's a really good pro who has played in a lot of good sides and what he has delivered in his time at Newcastle has been pretty special.
"And to be fair to Ian some of the rugby that he played last year was out and out test quality and at stages would have been challenging Jonny Sexton for his spot so I think we are pretty healthy in that regard and both guys will play a lot for us."
The main blot on Leinster's copybook last season was a failure to advance through their Heineken Cup group, ensuring there was to be no record-breaking three titles in a row.
And O'Connor admits that is something his side need to put right this time around.
He said: "It's about getting out of your group, the Heineken Cup is such a fantastic competition that you have just got to get out of those group stages and see where that puts you.
"We have six incredibly tough games, we will have to make sure that we get it right and put in a top quality performance in all of those games if we are going to get out of that group.
"The boys have an increased desire off the back of last season, they went on to win the Amlin but they were incredibly disappointed not to get out the group."