BIS graduate Briain Curtin shares his story of how he went from BIS to Google, to O2 and on to his current role as Digital Marketing Manager for Three Ireland in just a few short years.
Why did you do BIS?
When I was considering my options, I was drawn towards Business and grew up with a natural interest in computers. For me, BIS is the perfect mix between Commerce & Computer Science. That, coupled with the exciting opportunity of 3rd year work placement, made my mind up.
What was the best thing you got out of the course?
The core BIS syllabus offers a mix of subjects that are in market demand which has its obvious benefits, but what is often overlooked are the non-core elements that you get through BIS. Given the class sizes and genuine interest that the lecturers and professors take in BIS students, you are not just a number. The soft skills that you develop through the BIS teaching methods are what really make BIS grads different; like presentation skills, teamwork, strategy and ability to have meaningful conversations with senior staff.
Where did you go on work placement in 3rd year?
I did my work placement in the IT project management office of Chevy Chase Bank in Washington DC. This was an incredible experience that I learned a lot from, but also had a brilliant time whilst I was there.
Where are you now?
I am now Digital Marketing Manager for Three Ireland, managing all Digital comms; from direct response marketing to brand and sponsorship activation for Irish Rugby, Soccer, 3Arena and festival experiences.
How did you get this job?
Having graduated from BIS, I joined Google where I spent 7 years working on Sales, Product (YouTube) and Marketing. The BIS mix of IT and Business allowed me to excel in the business tech world. What I learned and achieved through BIS certainly helped me in being able to speak the language of product engineers, to working with advertisers on their digital marketing solutions and business objectives. Two and a half years ago I was headhunted to join O2 as their Digital Marketing Manager, where I managed all digital comms – from acquisition marketing to sponsorship activation with the IRFU and The O2 Arena. After the Three buy-out of the O2 Ireland business, I was awarded this contested position and now do the same for Three!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given relating to your career?
Learn your strengths, then develop and focus on those. There will always be someone else to take care of what you are not so good at… so find what you are good at and enjoy, and become the best in class at those skills.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
The Three/ O2 buy-out was a very challenging experience, both from a business and personal perspective. Focusing on what I could control, and working hard to consistently deliver great results kept me sane… and in a job. Pragmatism is critical in business, and the BIS experience was one of the factors that helped to shape my business acumen.
Looking back now, is there anything that you would have done differently?
Choose Marketing as a core subject!
If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
If you are interested in online business, the business of IT, online entrepreneurship, or are simply caught between computer science and commerce like I was – go for it. I don’t think you will find the subject mix, teaching methods and relationships with lecturers anywhere else.