“I had the incredible opportunity to live and work in London for six months”

sarah-mcnamaraFinal year BIS student Sarah McNamara shared her BIS experience with us, from choosing the course to what the future holds…

Why did you do BIS?
I was not too sure what I wanted to do in college. I knew I had an interest in technology, but never really considered doing a course in that area, but that changed after I attended the open day in UCC in 6th year and sat in on the BIS talk. I heard stories from past and present BIS students. They told us about their college and placement experiences and the job prospects after graduating and it really appealed to me. So, I decided to do it!

What is the best thing you have got out of the course so far?
There are so many highlights of my past few years in BIS, but the obvious choice is the opportunity I had to go abroad on placement for six months.

I had the incredible opportunity to live and work in London for six months. I was working with Credit Suisse Investment Bank in Canary Wharf. I was working as a Business Analyst in a Global IT team in the Risk and Finance division of the firm. Over the six months, I received a substantial amount of invaluable industry experience that will stand to me greatly in my future career. A stand out memory was when myself and Emer got to go down and watch the manic unfold on the trade floor on the day the Brexit vote – it was very surreal.

Work aside, living in London was amazing. There was so much to see and do, and we had a few weekends away around Europe. There were six of us over there and we had one of the best experiences of our lives. I would go back in a heartbeat.

What’s the one thing that has surprised you most about the course?
BIS definitely has a name for being a bit of a clique (in a good way!). I did not expect to become so close with so many people in my year as well as with people in other years. That is just the way BIS is.

As we spend so much time in the labs working on group projects everyone gets to know everyone from first year on which is important from a college experience perspective.

Also, as the fourth years tutor the years below them it creates a more interactive and relaxed learning experience for the younger students and gives them the opportunity to talk to other years about their experience.

Our ball is also very good every year – so thank you to the BIS Society who organise that!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
The job prospects that are available to BIS studies are extremely varied, from application developers to analysts and consultants, many of which offer you the opportunity to travel. These careers can bring you all around the world and I hope that in five years I’ll be working abroad in one of these roles. I would love to go to San Francisco.

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
If you have any interest in technology and you like working in teams on projects I would recommend you do BIS! You do not have to be overly tech savvy, but having an interest in how things work, innovation and the industry itself is a great start.


“I was offered a graduate role off the back of my placement”

BIS graduate Laura Kennedy recently returned to UCC to speak to students at the Autumn Open Day. We had a chat to her about her BIS experience, and how it has led to her current role in Global Markets IT at Credit Suisse, London.


Why did you do BIS?
After deciding I didn’t want to pursue a career in acting or theatre, I went looking for the right ‘business’ course I wanted to study. I heard about a course that offered a mix of business and IT and it sounded really appealing. I hadn’t a clue about computers or anything ‘tech-y’ (we still had dial-up internet at home), but I was fascinated by how the internet could connect us to people on the other side of the world in real-time and I was keen to learn more.

I attended the BIS talk at the UCC Open Day and there were two graduates speaking who were now working in San Francisco and from that point on I was sold. One other reason that I chose BIS was at the time I figured technology was only going to become more prevalent and play a more significant role in terms of how we get things done, how we go about our day to day lives, and so I figured it was a good area to build up some skills and knowledge.

What was the best thing you got out of the course?
Two stand-out things – the lifelong friends I have made, and the transferrable skillset.

Where did you go on work placement in 3rd year?
Credit Suisse, London, working as a business analyst on a Monte Carlo Risk Simulation.

Where are you now?
Credit Suisse, London. I am in my 3rd business analyst role here now. I have worked in Operations IT, Risk and Finance IT, and I’m now working in Global Markets IT looking at algorithmic trading of equities and FX.

How did you get this job?
Surprise surprise as I’m still here since placement, I got this job through BIS. I had my first introduction to Credit Suisse in 1st year when I attended a lecture by a senior female director from CS. After that, I was determined that I was going to get myself to London and into the company. In 2nd year I applied for their IT Spring Week Program after attending a networking event hosted in UCC by CS, and my application was successful. Following the one week spring internship in London I was fast-tracked onto their placement program hence completing my 3rd year placement here, and subsequently I was offered a graduate role off the back of my placement.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given relating to your career?
I once heard someone say “hold yourself to a level of understanding” and that’s really stuck with me. If I don’t understand something I’ll ask and ask again. I would also say that building a network of contacts, as opposed to acquaintances, is really important and its advice I’ve been given by many people.

Looking back now, is there anything that you would have done differently?
I don’t’ think so. If I could go back to being in the labs again for the laugh we had, I’d be there in a second!

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
Go for it! BIS is a fantastic course with global opportunities and multiple career possibilities – you won’t regret it!

“One of the best things about the course is the network within BIS & the relationship between the younger & older years”

Final year BIS student Maria O’Sullivan gave us an insight into what BIS means to her, and what’s in store for her down the line.

maria-osullivanWhy did you do BIS?
I, like most other Leaving Cert students, had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do in college. Business was always a subject I was interested in in school since it was relevant to what was going on in the world, and so I knew I wanted to go down that route. It was my Business teacher in secondary school who recommended BIS to me. She said it provided a good mix of subjects and had great job prospects.

What is the best thing you have got out of the course so far?
As a final year student there have been so many standout moments throughout my time in BIS. However the highlight of the course has to have been my time spent on industrial placement. As part of BIS, 3rd years spend six months on a paid work placement. I was lucky enough to be one of the students who secured an internship in the United States. Before coming into BIS we were told about the opportunity to spend placement abroad. There are also opportunities in various locations in England, however I knew that the US was the place for me.

I worked with Fidelity Investments in Rhode Island as a software engineer. Here I got the chance to contribute real work to an organisation, while simultaneously improving my coding skills and learning about working in a professional environment. It gave me the chance to work with American colleagues and experience and compare their culture to ours. I also had the opportunity to travel along the East Coast during weekends off. Working close to Boston with your fellow class mates truly is a once in a life time opportunity which very few students are presented with. It will be a period of time in my life which I will always cherish.

What’s the one thing that has surprised you most about the course?
One of the best things about the course I find is the network within BIS and the relationship between the younger and older years. In secondary school I found that years are quite segregated. From the get go of BIS you are constantly integrating with the older years for various reasons. Every year, tutors for 1st, 2nd and 3rd year, are 4th year students, which creates more of a relaxed and friendly learning environment. A lot of a BIS student’s time is spent in the labs which gives us a great chance to get to know others in the class.

The BIS society also runs several events throughout the year including the BIS ball and the BIS cup which students from all years attend and participate in, and which is another chance to socialise with one another. Having friends in the year ahead is always very helpful as you can ask them about their experience since they have gone through everything you are and will be going through.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
It’s always a tough question to answer but after spending 6 months in America I am hoping I will either have spent more time in the States as a Technology graduate or will be travelling over there by that time.  As to what role I will be in, I have yet to figure out.

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?-
If you have any interest in business or technology, BIS is definitely the course for you. However this does not mean that you need to have a background in either of these since all subjects are done from scratch in first year. Within the business side of BIS there is also a wide variety of modules to choose from including Accounting, Marketing and Management subjects.

One of the things that attracted me most to BIS was the fact that you are not confined to going down one career path at the end of the 4 years, unlike a lot of other courses. I personally feel BIS students come out as well rounded graduates with the skills ready to tackle any job that comes their way.

# MakeITWork – BIS Open Day


This gallery contains 24 photos.

The recent Business Information Systems (BIS) awareness event – #MakeITWork – hosted in UCC on Tuesday, 10th May 2016 was well received by the many Leaving Certificate students who attended from various schools across Munster, including Regina Mundi; Presentation College; … Continue reading

BIS opens doors at UCC Open Day this Saturday

V9 UCC BIS InfographicUCC’s Open Day takes place from 10am to 3.30pm this Saturday, October 10th, and prospective students will find Business Information Systems (BIS) information stands located in the Boole Basement and the O’Rahilly Building foyer.

BIS staff, students and graduates will give presentations in Boole 3 at 10.15am, 11.30am and 12.45pm. Following each of the presentations students past and present will be available to provide insights into their personal experiences of the BIS programme which will include information about the six month paid work placement that students undertake in third year.

Patricia Lynch, Director of Placement Programme in Business Information Systems says “Our graduates have a track record of securing excellent positions on the completion of their degree, and many of these, along with our current students will be available to chat to and offer advice to prospective students this Saturday at UCC’s Open Day. We would encourage those attending to pay a visit to our stands, or pop along to one of the presentations and  hear more about BIS.”


UCC Open Day “sold” BIS to Laura Kent

Laura KentLaura Kent from Cork recently completed her six month paid work placement in Apple, Cork and has now returned to Final Year to finish studying for her BIS degree. Here she explains why she decided to do BIS and her experience so far…

Why did you do BIS?
I studied Business Studies for my Leaving Certificate and I always had a keen interest in technology. Therefore, I wanted to continue to grow my knowledge in a University environment. When I attended the UCC Open Day and spoke to BIS faculty and students, they really sold the course to me as I felt this course provided the right mix between business and IT.

What is the best thing you have got out of the course so far?
BIS opens the door to many opportunities such as a six month paid work placement in 3rd year. I completed my placement in Apple which provided me with a chance to develop my business and technical skills in a real life working environment. I believe completing an internship in the largest company in the world is without a doubt an accomplishment that will stand to me in my future career.

What’s the one thing that has surprised you most about the course?
Starting University, students can have a bit of anxiety but as soon as I started, I realised that everyone was at the same level entering the course. Everything was taught from the ground up and at a pace that suited the class. People have their own strengths which they can contribute, as well as learning things from one another.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years’ time, I am hoping to be well established in a company putting the skills that I have accumulated during my 4 years in BIS into practice.

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
There are many opportunities from studying BIS as it opens up doors in areas such as developing, project management, consulting etc. I would advise anybody considering doing BIS to take all the opportunities given throughout the 4 years as the time really does fly by.

Final year BIS student Ciara Mullane shares her BIS experience

Ciara Mullane

Ahead of UCC’s Open Day on Saturday, October 10th we asked some BIS students about their BIS experience, what they’ve learned, what’s surprised them about the programme, and what the future holds in store.

First up in this series of posts is Ciara Mullane (22) who is final year BIS. Ciara did her six month paid work placement in 3rd year with Acadian Asset Management in Boston.

Why did you do BIS?

I think ultimately I chose to do BIS because I always had an interest in the business and I preferred these subjects in school, but I was also keen to improve upon my technical skills and BIS provides an optimal balance of the two. Also, once I heard there was the possibility of a six month internship in America I was sold!

What is the best thing you have got out of the course so far?
The best thing I have got out of the course so far has definitely been my six month internship in Boston. I worked for Acadian Asset Management as a Business System Analyst (BSA) and absolutely loved it. Having the option to do a six month internship in a real working environment is the best opportunity you can be given as an undergrad!

I got to see so many concepts that I learnt about put into practice, witness project lifecycles from start to finish, and develop so many new skills. I don’t think any amount of lectures could account to the practical, hands-on experience you receive. It is so beneficial for 4th year in regards to picking modules as you have a much better idea of the areas you are interested in, and placement lets you determine what path you may want to pursue after you finish. I was lucky that I loved my role and would be happy to work as a BSA in the future.

What’s the one thing that has surprised you most about the course?
What surprised me was how much you the lecturers genuinely actually want to get to know you. In 1st year you attend coffee mornings with Ciaran Murphy, Head of BIS and Patricia Lynch in small groups. It was a great way to get to know people in your class and also it was fantastic to have the opportunity to ask questions or voice concerns in a smaller group.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Where I see myself in five years’ time is a tough question to answer as I am not a 100% sure where I see myself next year once I graduate, but ultimately I would like to be a consultant or working on the client side interacting with different people, system and multiple teams. I would also love to be in a position where I have the opportunity to travel as opposed to sitting in an office eight hours a day!

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering doing BIS, what would it be?
The advice I would give someone considering doing BIS would be not to be turned off if you don’t do business subjects at school or wouldn’t consider yourself strong technically. All the modules start with the basics and provide you with a solid foundation on which you can improve upon. You would be surprised at how quickly you can pick up a new language or improve in a particular area from doing projects and attending labs.