Michael Arrigan thought of career prospects when choosing BIS

Michael ArriganMichael Arrigan graduated in 2001 and today is a Senior Director in UBS in London.

He leads a function of over 50 people across three regions (Singapore, London and USA) providing application management for one of the world’s largest Investment Banks. 


Why did you do BIS?
In all honesty, it was a career counsellor that advised me. He said if I was looking for a job that was interesting, but that paid well, that this course was one that was producing high calibre, sought after students that were going into well paid jobs. Sold!

What was the best thing you got out of the course?  
Firstly, I think it was friends, we still remain very close 14 years on. Secondly, I think it was the diverse nature of what we learned. It was about using IT for business and not just purely IT. So if you weren’t great at programming, but understood what it was doing, it wasn’t the end of the world.

Where did you go on work placement in 3rd year?
Iron Mountain in Boston.

Where are you now?  
I’m currently with UBS in London. I did 4.5 years with Accenture in London and then moved jobs to get some hands on experience.

How did you get this job?
Through a contact at Accenture.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given relating to your career?  
Experience counts more than qualifications. Don’t just come with problems, but with suggestions on how to fix them.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?  
Apart from the accent (!!!), I think it was self-promotion. I think Irish people are not good at promoting themselves as we see it as bragging, and we hope that our good work will just get noticed. You need to learn how to showcase your skills and achievements.

Looking back now, is there anything that you would have done differently?
I would have taken a gap year before I started work, as once you start it’s hard to stop. I would also have been more confident in my own abilities and my opinions.

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
Getting a 2:1 or above is important as when it comes to CVs, most CVs get binned by HR before they make it to the hiring manager. HR will often look for ways of reducing the numbers, and with a poor degree it can mean the difference between getting a toe in the door or not. Once your toe is in the door, it’s down to you.


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