Margaret O’Halloran from the BIS Class 2001 is a Director of Software Development in Fidelity Investments Dublin. Here she shares her BIS story with us…
Why did you do BIS?
I had always been interested in doing something related to business. When I looked in the Business stream subjects available in UCC the BIS course stood out. It sounded interesting and the internship part definitely appealed to me. I also had a cousin who was in his 2nd year in the course, and spoke to him about it too. He highly recommended it, which sealed the deal for me!
What was the best thing you got out of the course?
Ultimately the best thing I got from the course was my career to date. I am very lucky to work in a technology job that I absolutely love, and also to work for a great company which has strong ties with BIS, Fidelity Investments. I started my career as Business Analyst, and Systems Analysis was my favourite subject in BIS, so it was definitely meant to be!
On a personal level I also made some of my best friends in BIS, my bridesmaids at my wedding two years ago were friends that I made on the course, and we have a very tight knit group of friends who are still in contact from our course year, so that was something wonderful gained form the course as well.
Where did you go on work placement in 3rd year?
I did my placement in State Street Bank. There were five of us from the course working in different parts of the bank. Both I and a classmate worked in the same department and it was a fantastic time. I learned so much from the internship itself, getting a chance to practically apply skills learned in the course to a real job, and I had the most amazing six months living and working in the fantastic city of Boston.
Where are you now?
I am a Director of Software Development in Fidelity Investments Dublin. I manage a group of associates who support the Contact Centre platform for all Customer Email, Chat and Voice Communications for Fidelity’s Personal Investing and Workplace Investing Customers.
How did you get this job?
I started my career as graduate in Accenture. I had always wanted to move into Business Analysis full time, so after three years in Accenture, I applied for a Senior Business Analyst role in Fidelity and got the job.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given relating to your career?
‘Be comfortable with the uncomfortable’ – If you work in technology things change rapidly so it very important to not only be able to respond to change, but to embrace it. Also to never be afraid of taking on new roles, responsibilities and challenges in your career; it’s how we grow and learn. When I moved into my Director position at Fidelity, I had to hire a new team of 40 associates within 12 months, while also building a new relationship with a key part of the Fidelity’s business. It was challenging but it was absolutely the most exciting and rewarding time in my career thus far.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
I feel that I am lucky in that every time I had a new challenge be it a new job, or a new position within my current company, it has been a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow. I came back from maternity leave at the end of last year, and that was an adjustment as I was taking over a new team, and a new business relationship, but again it’s a challenge that has been a fantastic opportunity to learn about a new part of the business, grow and develop a new team; and having been able to successfully balance that with having my first child has been a rewarding experience.
Looking back now, is there anything that you would have done differently?
I was very lucky to spend six months working in the US as part of my BIS internship, and also in my role in Fidelity I get to travel to the US a number of times a year to meet with technology and business partners. I was offered the opportunity at the start of my career in Fidelity to take a longer secondment in the US and potentially that is something I think I would have liked to have had pursued. Overall though I have been extremely lucky in the roles and positions I have had in my career, and I’m excited to see what is yet to come!
If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
For me I loved being exposed to both business elements and technology elements by doing BIS, and the course certainly equipped me for my first role in Accenture, and subsequently in Fidelity. It is a brilliantly designed course with very well thought out modules, and project work, and the internship element is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to get a flavour of real life on the job experience before you leave college. I absolutely loved my time in BIS and would highly, highly recommend it!