The transition from secondary school to university was made easier for final year student Kevin O’Leary thanks to the level of interaction between lecturers and students in BIS. He explains why here…
Why did you do BIS?
I remember being in fifth year of secondary school, I was absolutely clueless as to what I wanted to do in college, never mind the rest of my life, and all of a sudden we were told to start thinking about our CAO for the year ahead.
The first time I heard about BIS was at an open day for secondary schools in Rochestown Park Hotel. I had always had a keen interest in business and enjoyed business related subjects in school. I had no technical background whatsoever, Facebook was the extent of my IT knowledge; however I recognised the need for a background in IT in today’s climate. The blend of business and IT related subjects was what attracted me to the course originally.
As well as this, unlike most other courses, I felt as though choosing BIS was not going to restrict me in terms of future career choices as BIS graduates leave UCC and have a wealth of choice, and there are very few industries which are not employing BIS graduates.
What ultimately sold the course to me was when I heard that in third year I would have the opportunity to travel to America for work placement; this was all the convincing I needed!
What is the best thing you have got out of the course so far?
Without doubt the stand out experience from my time in BIS so far has been my placement experience in America. I completed a six month internship with American Tower in Boston. I got fantastic professional experience which will stand to me as I look to begin my career and I also had an incredible life experience.
At the age of 21 I got the opportunity to live in Boston with 25 of my friends, all of us earning great money. We split our weekends between Boston and New York, while in the summer we visited friends in Newport and Cape Cod. After work we would go to TD Garden or Fenway Park to cheer on the Celtics, Bruins or Red Sox. Finally to celebrate, we spent our last week in LA and Las Vegas before flying home.
What’s the one thing that has surprised you most about the course?
I was very surprised with how easy the transition was from secondary school to college, this is largely down to the level of interaction between lecturers and students in the course. BIS students and lecturers know one another on a first name basis which makes for a fantastic learning atmosphere. We meet with lecturers for weekly coffee sessions, these small group sessions allow for students and lecturers to get to know one another personally.
I attended a small secondary school with less than 50 students in my leaving cert year. I was very close to all my classmates and I was nervous about coming into UCC and struggling to get to know people. This did not turn out to be the case, within a month I knew a large portion of my year by name; I ate lunch, and went out to town with people I had never laid eyes on a few weeks previous. The relatively small class size and interactive lab sessions tutored by final year students allows all students across all four years of the program to get to know one another.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I have no idea where I will be in five years’ time, nor do I want to start planning that far ahead just yet. What I can say is that a degree in BIS offers me the luxury of choice over the coming years. My immediate plan over the next 12 months is to concentrate on getting the best results in my final year exams and then move to America on a 12 month post graduate visa. Whether or not I would like to live and work in the states long term, I don’t know yet, however, unlike many of my classmates, a long term graduate role does not appeal to me.
If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
To anyone considering doing BIS, my advice to them is simple – Do it! Having experienced the professional lifestyle during my six month placement I am very much looking forward to starting my own career, however I am dreading leaving BIS. Without sounding too clichéd I have had the best four years of my life in BIS, I have made life-long friends in the course, not only in my own year but years above and below me also. I couldn’t recommend the course more!