Meadhbh O’Sullivan graduated with a BSc in BIS in 2011. Today she is a Benefits Operations Specialist at Google Ireland (EMEA HQ).
Why did you do BIS?
I had always had an interest in business and technology, so studying a combination of both for my degree made BIS a very easy choice, along with the relevant experience and skills set I would gain that I felt would help me to secure a job I’d enjoy after graduating.
What was the best thing you got out of the course?
Overall, the most valuable aspect of my degree was completing the six month work placement as part of my third year. That industry experience was critical and played a key role when I applied for a graduate consultant role at Deloitte Ireland, which I was lucky enough to secure before Christmas of my final year of studies. This in turn allowed me to focus on my end-of-year exams, with my already having my job organised with contract signed for when I had graduated from UCC. In Deloitte I managed Microsoft’s supply chain engagement for EMEA as part of my role in the Enterprise Risk Services department and although this had a steep learning curve that involved a huge amount of responsibility overseeing all aspects of this initiative across the region for dozens of sites, I found myself being able to draw on the skills and experience that I had accumulated through my degree and my work placement, to enable me to successfully lead this for our team for EMEA, before moving to my role at Google.
Where did you go on work placement in 3rd year?
I went to American Tower Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts, where I worked as a Quality Assurance Analyst. In this role, I gained exposure to every aspect within the SDLC (software development lifecycle), as well as real industry experience, allowing me to practice and apply the skills I had learned in lectures and our technical lab tutorials to real world business problems and projects.
Where are you now?
I’m currently responsible for the day-to-day management of our Google employee benefits for our Mediterranean and DACH regions across EMEA, within our GPS Benefits Operations team. This would include all project management, automation, business process re-engineering, data analysis and knowledge management in the benefits operations space for these complex regions.
I lead projects that are country specific for the regions that I manage, such as launching new benefits from scratch, improving existing programs, releasing new features within our online tools to enhance the user experience, managing policy changes for regulatory/compliance reasons, as well as global projects that I would partner with our US and APAC teams on also.
All of the initiatives that I work on allow me to apply the core skills set that I developed through my studies of BIS.
How did you get this job?
I had been working at Deloitte Ireland for almost a year, when a sourcer from Google Ireland contacted me via LinkedIn. He explained he felt my experience and skills set would be a great fit for a role he was hiring for and asked if I’d be interested in interviewing with the hiring manager. Although quite content in my role at Deloitte at the time, my immediate reaction was “hey, this is Google – you don’t turn down a potential opportunity like this”, so I agreed to interview and the rest, as they say, is history. As a result, whenever I’m presenting to students or being asked for any tips, one piece of advice I always share, is to keep your LinkedIn profile updated, as you never know who could be looking!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given relating to your career?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself forward and chase opportunities you’re interested in, particularly if it’s a career development prospect. Even if it feels like a long shot, you never know what could come your way as a result of putting yourself out there and expressing an interest.
Looking back now, is there anything that you would have done differently?
Right now, no. I’m still at the early stages of my career and I will continue to work hard to accomplish my own personal goals and aspirations. However, every decision and all that I’ve done to date has lead me to this point, so I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing.
How does it feel to be a UCC BIS graduate?
I am very proud to have completed my degree in BIS, as well as grateful for the opportunities it has allowed me to take advantage of immediately after completing my studies. I have had the privilege of returning to campus to present to the BIS students twice in the last couple of years, to explain and highlight the benefits of the course, how it enabled me to kick-start my career, as well as how studying this field can equip you with the skills for the industry areas I’ve been fortunate enough to work in thus far.
If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
Completing a degree in BIS gives you a concrete foundation to build your career upon, allowing you to leave University as a young graduate equipped with the skills to hit the ground running in the workplace, giving you a distinct advantage over other young graduates.