BIS graduate sells company to Glassdoor

Great news for BIS graduate David Curran, Co-Founder of Lovemondays. Glassdoor have recently acquired the company for an undisclosed fee

https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/08/glassdoor-acquires-brazils-love-mondays-to-expand-into-latin-america/

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BIS Transition Year Programme 2016

In February and March 2016, over 100 transition year students from around Munster spent a week with the Business Information Systems (BIS) team in UCC. This initiative – now in its fourth year, has become one of the most sought after TY placements for students considering a career in business and technology.

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Two groups of 50 students spent an intensive week at BIS, taking short courses in web design, innovation, programming, business models and a variety of other topics from the cutting edge of business and technology.  The program is focused around the development of a business idea, with teams of students using the skills gained during the week to develop and effectively present their business proposition.

According to Bill Emerson, one of the coordinators, “We feel that TY students have a bit of time to look at university courses and get a feel for what university might be like – time that 5th or 6th year students often don’t have.  TY is a chance for students to think deeply about the kind of career they might enjoy.” 

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The need to attract students into this area had been long recognized, as there has been a considerable shortfall in the number of suitably qualified students available to take up careers in the business/ technology sector. For companies like EMC and Microsoft who both employ a large number of Irish graduates, students who have a mixture of technical and business skills are much sought after. Like the food industry in Ireland, the technology sector has undergone tremendous growth and large multinationals in this sector are attracted to Ireland as a European base where they see the availability of suitably qualified graduates a key to their success.

IMG_2724Another challenge for students to overcome is the changing nature of the workplace itself. Graduates no longer can expect a job with a permanent desk in a nice glass building. Companies, as well as employees, are expected to be much more agile, with ‘hot desks’ and ‘virtual meetings’ being very much the norm. Often a graduate will be given a company laptop and a headset, and will be sent off to work on multiple projects in remote locations. This kind of work relies on teamwork, collaboration and a suite of skills that a very much at the heart of the modern job. These skills are what employers refer to as ‘21st Century Skills’. The BIS degree builds these skills into the way we teach and assess our courses, with a strong emphasis on collaboration and communication.

The TY initiative itself, according to Dr. Ciara Heavin of BIS, “aims to give students a taste
of what working in a team in a modern business environment is like, and hopefully opens a few minds to the kind of careers they might like to pursue. It also aims to give students a taste of the BIS degree at UCC, which will hopefully help them to make an informed decision when choosing their eventual third level course.”

The TY programme administrator is Ms. Carole O’ Brien. You can contact her at carole.obrien@ucc.ie.

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BIS ticked the boxes for Paul Deane

2012 BIS graduate Paul Deane is today a Business Intelligence team in EMC in Cork. He advises anyone with an interest in business and technology to consider BIS as a college course choice. 

Paul Deane

Why did you do BIS?
I did the course because I felt that it offered the right mix from a business and technology perspective. In school, I did a few business-related subjects for the Leaving Cert, and I had an interest in technology too, so BIS ticked the boxes for me.

What was the best thing you got out of the course?
The course helped me to develop a lot of different skills. In addition to improving my business and IT capabilities, I was able to build up softer skills, especially when collaborating and communicating with others as part of group assignments.

Where did you go on work placement in 3rd year?
I stayed in Cork for my 3rd year work placement. I worked in the IT department of a multi-national organisation, called FMC. This company operated in the chemical industry, with a number of divisions. It was a good 6 months and it allowed me to put the concepts I had learned over the first 3 years of the course into practice.

Where are you now?
Since graduating in 2012, I have been working with a Business Intelligence team in EMC. We create reporting solutions for sales and operations personnel and help internal users to work with the various tools. There has been an on-going transformation project taking place during my time at the company, and we have been involved in this effort also from a reporting point-of-view.

How did you get this job?
Around the time that I was graduating, there were a number of positions available, as the team I joined was just being put together. These roles were being advertised in UCC before the final exams, so it was nice to know that there was a job after finishing.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given relating to your career?
In terms of advice, being told to “invest in your-self” is one that I liked. In an ever-changing world, it’s important to do this and to keep updating your skill-set. To that end, I have done a number of internal training programmes here in EMC and, more recently, have been studying for a Diploma in Data Business, which is run by the IMI/UCC. This has been an enjoyable course, with modules focused around the information supply chain of organisations.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
Learning about how the sales organisation operates was a big challenge for me when I first joined EMC – it is an incredibly complex, multi-faceted structure. Before being able to build BI solutions, I had to get my head around how the different groups functioned and connected to one another. I overcame this challenge mainly through on-the-job learning and by talking to more experienced colleagues who had spent several years working in the sales and reporting space.

Looking back now, is there anything that you would have done differently?
If there was anything that I could, or should, have done differently, it would probably have been to take more enjoyment out of the college times. It can get quite busy and hectic around project submission deadlines and exam dates, and sometimes you can get bogged down in that too much and don’t fully appreciate the overall college experience.

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
I would advise anyone with an interest in business and technology to definitely consider BIS. It’s a very diverse course that covers interesting subjects across the spectrum, and people with skills in these areas are highly sought after in today’s job market. The programme has developed a strong reputation, and you’ll have opportunities to network with people in the industry, particularly during the 3rd year work placement.

Andrea Graham’s 3rd year work placement solidified her love for software engineering

Andrea Graham graduated in 2014 and now works as a Software Engineer with EMC in Cork, the same company she did her 3rd year work placement with. Andrea Graham

Why did you do BIS?
I have always had a keen interest in business and technology, and when someone from UCC’s BIS department came to speak with us at school I was confident that the mix of business and technology that was offered by the programme would provide me with the right mix of skills that I wanted to acquire.

What was the best thing you got out of the course?
The BIS faculty creates an environment that promotes a sense of belief and self-confidence that anything can be achieved once you put your mind to it. They foster relationships between staff and students where interpersonal skills are developed, demonstrating that they not only teach theory, but also the soft skills needed to succeed.

Where did you go on work placement in 3rd year?
I was fortunate to be placed in EMC, a multi-national organisation based in Cork, where I worked as a software engineer. I had the opportunity to work with a talented team and had my efforts recognised by their inclusion in a product release. It solidified my love for software engineering, and after my placement I was assured I had chosen the right career path for me.

Where are you now?
I am currently working in EMC as a software engineer. I also run my own company, Aztech solutions, developing software products, one of which, SOLAS, an attendance tracking system for third level institutions, is currently deployed in the BIS and Management and Marketing departments in UCC.

How did you get this job?
I was contacted by EMC about the position.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given relating to your career?
Have confidence in yourself and your ability to succeed. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, network with key individuals, and never miss an opportunity to promote yourself.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
Selecting which company to work for after graduating from BIS. Do I work for a start-up, an established company or a multi-national? Home or abroad? BIS graduates are so valued that their opportunities are many and varied. I was certain after completing my work placement in EMC that it was the right place for me to start my career.

Looking back now, is there anything that you would have done differently?
I can honestly say I wouldn’t change anything. From day one at orientation to our final day at graduation I loved everything that BIS and UCC had to offer. The knowledge gained, the honed inter-personal skills, and of course the friends made through BIS, are something that I’ll have forever. BIS has given me an amazing start to me career.

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
If your ambition is to excel in business and or technology then BIS will not disappoint and will provide you with a mix of skills to allow you to work in a variety of positions from data analytics to graphic design, from finance to software engineering.

BIS gave Clare McDonnell the right mix of industry relevant business and IT experience

Clare McDonnellClare McDonnell graduated in 2004 and today works as a Senior SAP Project Manager in EMC. 

Why did you do BIS?
For the mix of IT and business – I didn’t have the option to study business subjects in secondary school so was apprehensive about doing an all business course; and while I was interested in IT I didn’t want to do a purely technology focused course. Plus, the potential of doing an internship in the States sounded too good to be true!

What was the best thing you got out of the course?
A few things – BIS has the right mix of industry relevant business and IT modules. I had 4 years to explore both areas and at the end of the degree I had careers options for both. Course modules are updated and changed based on what the industry requires. Because BIS engages with companies, students have the skills and relevant industry knowledge to hit the ground running when entering the work force.

We became, and still are, a very close group through BIS specific lectures and tutorials, group projects, working on individual projects in our own BIS labs which became our home in our 3rd and final years. We had class parties, weekends away, the BIS society, our internship, and BIS ball which were envied by other courses. I am still very close with the friends I’ve made and to this day reach out when we move to other cities or companies. It’s a network for life.

Where did you go on work placement in 3rd year?
I did my 6 month internship in Schering Plough, a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey. Twelve of us lived in Hoboken, across the water from the Manhattan skyline. There I taught myself .Net and programmed in it. It gave me the chance to explore a new language without the pressure of assessments. I quickly found out that not only did I have the ability to code, but that I really enjoyed it. I went on to deliver my final year project in this new language for a business problem they were trying to solve. I learned C# in my BIS masters while tutoring it to 4th BIS students the same year with this new found programming confidence.

The internship offers great Final Year Project ideas and post-BIS job opportunities, as well as the adventure of living abroad and making the most of it for 6 months by traveling to where other classmates were doing their internships.

Where are you now?
I’m in EMC working as an Senior SAP Project Manager

How did you get this job?
There were many interesting jobs along the way that gave me a mix of experience, but not exactly the required experience for a job I applied for in EMC. Thankfully the hiring manager saw my potential and knew that I would be a good fit for EMC and recommended me for another role.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given relating to your career?
“Fake it til you make it”– everyone will face a challenge at some time in their career or several times in their career… go with it, take the plunge, start the work and see how you fare and keep doing that until you know what you are doing. Have confidence in your abilities and people will see that. Smile and the world will smile with you… and listen – you learn more from listening than talking!

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
I took on a role two levels higher than my role at the time which required moving to Boston for two years, away from friends and family to deliver a companywide project at the end of the design phase. As a project team we worked nights and weekends for an extended period of time. I worked hard to overcome the learning curve of delivering a technology I had a business knowledge of in a different federation company; I listened and took in as much as possible detail as possible during meetings, built up trust within the team by demonstrating the ability to learn about the company, its products and processes, and taking tasks from team members whenever I could so they could concentrate on their work. I built up a network within the company who could then reach out to me for answers and vice versa, who I continue to work with today.

I moved back to Ireland with a promotion, learning how to deal with complex project issues, how to work quickly and effectively, but most importantly being able to prioritise by business value when facing a mountain of work.

Looking back now, is there anything that you would have done differently?
Don’t be afraid to work at figuring out something that you haven’t studied before – for me that was programming, always getting by until I threw myself into it.

Listen in lectures – surprisingly difficult to completely clear your mind and concentrate fully for an hour but when you do, you learn lots by just taking it in!

Study for continuous assessments, those marks all add up.

Organise yourself – it takes about an hour a day to quickly review and organise lecture notes but that work is done when it comes to prepping for exams. Everything after that should be revision.

And finally enjoy your college life – join a society, a new club, take a class you never thought you would – now is the time to try new things and meet new people!

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
I didn’t have any business subjects or program as a hobby, and I still went for BIS and enjoyed every minute of it. Every module starts off with the basics, and remember you are not alone, there is a class full of new friends, potential colleagues and a network for life! It’s an adventure waiting to happen so why wait, apply now!

Pat O’Sullivan majored in BIS before it existed as a standalone course

Pat O'SullivanPat O’Sullivan graduated from UCC with a Bachelor of Commerce in 1996,  one year before BIS was introduced; he did however major in BIS as part of his BComm.

Pat is now a IT Director at EMC Corporation based just outside Boston. 

 

Why did you do BIS? 
I did a BComm majoring in BIS, as the separate BIS course came a year later. IT was fast becoming the most sought after career in the mid 90s with plenty of work opportunities at home and abroad

What was the best thing you got out of the course?
It provided a key oversight which opens doors to many varied careers in the IT and business world.

Where are you now?
Director of BI & Analytics for EMC, based in the US.

How did you get this job?
This was my 3rd job out of college. I started as a developer at EMC and worked my way up.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given relating to your career? 
Network as much as possible, always make sure you’re making a good first impression, and make sure you always make your boss look good 🙂

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it? 
Being in the IT function of a high tech company means that we are always using leading edge technology (would go as far as calling it bleeding edge). This means we have to learn fast and adapt to our ever changing landscape.

Looking back now, is there anything that you would have done differently? 
I would start my masters/ MBA earlier in my career, before I had kids.

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
Embrace all the new technologies, everything you do today with your smartphone is relevant to how the IT world will function in the future (mobile, social and cloud).