Employers look for well-rounded candidates at graduate level – and BIS will give you a huge head start in that regard

Joe LennonJoe Lennon is CEO and Co-founder of Subwoofr, a new technology platform that helps music artists make more money in the age of streaming. Joe graduated from BIS in 2007.

Why did you do BIS?
I’ve been interested in technology and computers from a young age and I’ve also always had an interest in business subjects like accounting and economics, so it was a bit of a no brainer for me.

What was the best thing you got out of the course?
The course puts a strong emphasis on professionalism, and the third year placement epitomises this – where you are thrown in at the deep end in a real world professional environment and expected to swim, and fast. I think it gives you a sense of confidence that you can achieve things that may seem extremely challenging at a very early stage in your career, and this confidence definitely helps progress and advance faster.

Where did you go on work placement in 3rd year?
Fidelity Investments in Marlborough, MA, about 40 minutes from Boston. I worked as a Systems Analyst on their voice recognition toll free number systems.

Where are you now?
I am the CEO and Co-founder of Subwoofr, a technology platform that helps music artists make more money in the age of streaming. I started the business in September this year and we’re based in Cork.

How did you get this job?
I’m self-employed so I guess you could say I hired myself! Prior to this I spent 7 years at CoreHR, starting as a graduate software engineer, working my way up to being a Product Manager and eventually Head of Technology. My most recent job was as CTO of Vearsa, a publishing tech startup, recently named 2nd fastest growing company in Ireland in the Deloitte Fast 50.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given relating to your career?
If you see a problem, look at it not as a problem, but as an opportunity to come up with a solution. If you want fast progression early in your career – make it your business to solve problems proactively rather than complain about them.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
Definitely juggling the many hats you have to wear as a startup founder – there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs to be done. Thankfully I have a brilliant co-founder who makes this challenge far less daunting. One thing we do a lot is constantly set challenging deadlines – it helps us focus on the things that matter the most and leave the less important tasks until later.

Looking back now, is there anything that you would have done differently?
I would probably have made the leap to starting my own business a little sooner. I’m 30 now, married with two young children, and have different priorities than when I was younger. With that said, I hugely value the experience I have gained, and if anything having a young family means failure isn’t an option for me, so it further adds to my drive to succeed.

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
It’s a no brainer, go for it. At this point you are probably unsure of what career path you want to pursue and BIS gives you so many options at the end – software development, design, product and project management, accounting, finance, economics, sales and business development, marketing and more – you’ll get a taste for all of them and will be highly employable at the end of it. As someone who has hired many BIS graduates over the past number of years, I know that employers look for well-rounded candidates at the graduate level – and BIS will give you a huge head start in this regard.

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