Capitalism loves to bang on about competition and the value of the marketplace. So why do does a degree in business deserve your precious business, and what exactly are these colleges trying to sell you?
“I’d always advise people to study what interests you the most,” says Brabazon. “But many do know when they’re filling out that CAO form that they want to pursue a degree in business. It provides an excellent education that prepares people for a wide range of careers and is proven to be a good choice.”
Brabazon, who worked as a chartered accountant with KPMG before moving into academia, says that he has seen major changes in the world of business over the past 25 years and that a degree can prepare graduates for the changes that will come.
“The biggest changes I’ve seen are globalisation, an increase in the role of technology in the workplace and a transformation in how people view their career with people no longer expecting to have one job for life. These changes have big implications for the design of business education. We need to prepare students for the world they will face so that they can thrive in this environment, so business education has moved from concentrating on the technical aspects of business to a broader focus on communication, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership skills. Cultural awareness is also really important, because careers are so global these days: if you are working for an Irish firm you will be competing internationally and will also work with different people from all over the world.”
Robert Mac Giolla Phadraig is chief commercial officer and founding director of Sigmar Recruitment, which recruits hundreds of business graduates every year. He has a keen insight into what employers want, so are business graduates on their wish list?
“The real benefit of a business course is that it uses case studies to give a broad awareness of a business, and it also helps students to build a network of contacts,” he says. “The world of business is broad, vast and varied and won’t always neatly align what is learned in a module. But what is being assessed when a graduate enters employment is their competencies in areas such as communication, teamwork and problem-solving. The ever-important soft skills are being developed. It’s less about what is learned than how it is learned: with case studies, complex problems to be solved, guest speakers and examples which help to develop an entrepreneurial subculture among students.”
It’s not all about grades and academic learning, Brabazon agrees: a business course helps students to grow into the well-rounded people that employers value.
“There is a war for talent, and companies want the highest-calibre talent they can get. If you are going to have an impact in the workplace you need to be able to communicate well, work in teams, lead teams and collaborate with international colleagues. The best way to show you can have an impact is to show that you have made an impact in the past, so I advise students to go beyond their academic studies: get involved in a sports club or student society, volunteer and take on part-time work. It’s about being able to show you have made a difference in what you have done, not just getting high grades for yourself.”
Increasingly, major firms are less concerned about graduates having high grades and much more interested in assessing their competencies in these key areas, with a range of psychometric tests now common for job applicants.
That said, Mac Giolla Phadraig is far from dismissive of the intrinsic value of the academic content on a business course. A broad business course may contain a selection of modules across a range of areas such as sales, marketing and supply chain management as well as more formulaic classes on finance and business maths, which can help students to pivot and multitask across the full range of a company’s operations.
The alumni network which students build up on a business course is really important, says Brabazon. “As you pass through a degree, you are automatically building up this contact base of your classmates, and that alumni network will mean that you know people all over the world. In our courses, we offer a mentoring programme which connects every student with a panel of experienced alumni which can really help their career progression.”
When it comes down to it, what makes one business course stand out over another? “An internship or placement can be really valuable,” Mac Giolla Phadraig advises.
“It’s really helpful if a graduate has an understanding of what it is like to work in a certain industry, because it helps them to focus on the right fit once they have left. The more examples of experience and relevant skills that a job applicant can bring to an interview, the better. It’s particularly valuable when an applicant can show what they have learned on the placement instead of just coasting through it. We had a management buy-out of Sigmar about nine years ago, and I learned so much of that through doing; business learning does come from real experience.”
No college graduate, of any discipline, can expect that graduation will be the end of their education. Continuous professional development is increasingly important and a good business course should help prepare students for a world where they need to constantly pivot, says Mac Giolla Phadraig. “I’d advise graduates to compete on merit and to show their merit through work, academia and extracurricular activity.”
Would he advise students to opt for a broad, general business degree, or to hone in on a specific area like marketing or accounting?
“Decisions are often driven by influencers such as peers and, in particular, parents. But if someone knows from a young age what they want to do, that is a gift, so they should go for it. For the other 95 per cent of us, it’s probably the case that a broader degree is better.”
“I decided on business and marketing because these were the subjects I really enjoyed in schools and where my strengths were. I wanted a course that would allow me to go into an area where I had lots of different opportunities, so I chose marketing at the Dublin Institute of Technology.
“When choosing my degree, I researched a lot of courses, and I found it really beneficial to speak to friends and family who were already studying business or marketing; this can sometimes tell you a lot more about a course than any prospectus can.
“A business course gave me an academic grounding in the field I wanted to pursue. It was an intense course which was challenging at times, but this gave me great experience on how to prioritise, plan and deliver in the timeframes we were given, and these are the foundations of what you need to do in your daily job. The course covered a wide variety of subjects with a great mix of theory and more practical case study projects. We worked as a team on a projects and this is valuable experience for the workplace. I was also grateful for the level of support and interaction we had with our lecturers at DIT, and lecturers pushed us hard but were always there to guide and support us. The course taught me prioritise, plan and deliver on work.
“In 2008, I joined BMW Group Ireland as a sales and marketing assistant. In that role, I supported the various different sales and marketing functions in the business. Then, in 2010, I took up the position of product manager, which involved product pricing, communication, online management, product training analysis and organisation. In 2012, I became national parts manager which required me to manage all the commercial aspects and the strategic development of the retailer network parts performance and manage the marketing and promotional campaign for parts; most importantly, I ensured that customers were well looked after. From here, I took up my current position of national used car and internal fleet manager in 2015, and I’m responsible for the strategic development of our used car programme for the retailer network, retailer support and used car marketing.
“I was lucky that I chose I course I loved and was able to do it well. The key is to have a consistent approach to working hard to ensure you keep on top of what you need to do. Some of the most important attributes in business are good logic and a lot of cop on. It also helped to have a strong network of friends around me on the course, because we all supported each other - and, in business, your personality and communication skills shouldn’t be underestimated.”
Written by Peter McGuire in The Irish Times. Read the article here.
Posted by Peter McGuire on 27 April 2018
Future Jobs for Irish Youths
Future Jobs for Irish Youths
With the Leaving Cert results being released today, we felt it necessary to take a look at where the future of jobs will be for Irish youths. Broadly the global economic performance and Ireland’s position are positive for the foreseeable future. With unemployment now at 5.1% and decreasing quarterly, all signals point towards continued, sustainable improvement. Below is a list of the sectors that hold the best chances for economic and job growth in the near future. ICT Sector If there’s one thing that is evolving at break-neck speed, it’s technology. And with new developments and improvements every day, it can safely be said that the field of technology, whether machinery or software, is only going to grow by leaps and bounds. The ICT sector has been of tremendous importance to our economy, with 37,000 people employed and generating €35 billion in exports annually. 8 of the top 10 ICT companies in the world are based here. Ireland has proven itself to be one of the world’s best locations for ICT. However, to maintain this reputation Ireland needs to continuously produce highly skilled IT professionals. However there are already significant skills shortages in a variety of areas such as IT project management and of ICT professionals with foreign language skills. ICT will continue to be one of the most important sectors of our economy for the future, as technology continuously advances, making it as close to a safe bet as you can get these days. Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industry “Ireland is now operating in the same ballpark as major science-funding countries around the world ” - Professor Mark Ferguson – SFI Director Already one of Ireland’s best performing industries, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry looks set to grow further. With a growing and ageing population worldwide, the number and degree of health related issues is continuously on the rise. People will always need medical care ensuring a continued demand for research, development and production of new drugs. There are now over 60,000 people employed in the industry, either directly or indirectly. This trend looks set to continue into 2018 with major expansions of many of the big pharma players across the country. The IDA reports the biopharmaceutical industry has made a capital investment of approximately €8 billion in new facilities in Ireland, predominantly in the last 10 years. This represents one of the largest investments in new biotech facilities anywhere in the world. As a result of the growth in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical device industries in Ireland, it is very likely that a student about to graduate with a third level qualification in science will find interesting employment in one of the following areas; research, manufacturing, regulation or sales and marketing. Financial Sector The financial services jobs market for accountancy professionals continued its upwards growth trend last year. Even without the added benefit of companies relocating to Ireland post BREXIT, the confidence of both employer and employee alike has produced a healthy landscape with more opportunity for those who wish to change jobs. There is no doubt BREXIT has been a major contributor to the growth in the financial services jobs market. We have seen major international companies relocate operations to Dublin and others who already have a presence here have laid out plans to significantly increase their headcount. This is all positive news for graduates who studied in this area. Not only does this create opportunities that would not have existed without BREXIT, it also increases churn in the market involving more established financial services companies in Ireland who subsequently end up with more vacancies themselves. Particularly for accountants, regulatory reporting accountants and in Funds if you specialised in fund accounting, risk & control, depository, compliance and AML you will find interesting and worthwhile employment when you graduate
What To Do If Your Leaving Cert Results Are Not What You Expected
What To Do If Your Leaving Cert Results Are Not What You Expected
Over 55,000 students sit their leaving certificate each year. Whilst many are happy with their results, a lot end up not so thrilled. If you did your leaving cert this year and you didn't do as well as you planned, it’s not the end of the world. Step back and take our advice below and you’ll be back on track before you know it. 1. Don’t Panic! It’s easier said than done when you’re overwhelmed with disappointment but give yourself time to come to terms with your results before you look at the long-term implications. Remember, you are not the first student to be disappointed with your exam results. Remember, some of the world most successful business men didn’t do well in their leaving i.e. Billl Cullen, Richard Branson. 2. Self Assess Take the time to consider what you want to do, where your interests lie and what your strengths and weaknesses are. You had your heart set on a certain course, but was it really for you? Figure this out before you make any decisions. via GIPHY 3. Research Possible Career Routes Think carefully about the career you would like to pursue and research thoroughly all of the possible routes to get there. Just because you think you’ve missed out on your ideal course, doesn’t mean there’s not another route to your end goal. If you don’t know what you want to do, look for a general course which will give you plenty of options. via GIPHY via GIPHY 4. Consider Repeating It’s big step but if you’re sure of the course you want and didn’t get the points, consider repeating. But remember to ask yourself will repeating actually help you get to where you want to be? Do not repeat for a lack of other options. via GIPHY 5. Gain Work Experience (Get a job) This is an excellent opportunity for you to develop skills and competencies, which would be attractive to employers. It also give you the opportunity to experience different industries and to see if you are happier in a working environment rather than the academic. via GIPHY via GIPHY 6. Don’t Let Friends Influence You Whilst it’s great discussing your option with friends/family/teacher/career advisors, only you know what to do. Make your decision on self assessment. via GIPHY via GIPHY 7. Take Time To Relax Do still find the time to relax, unwind and enjoy your hobbies despite the pressure you are under. Try listening to music, going to see a film or reading a book to escape for a while. A clear head can help you think more objectively. via GIPHY
What You Need To Know Before Meeting A Recruitment Consultant
What You Need To Know Before Meeting A Recruitment Consultant
Recruitment agencies see hundreds of people pass through their doors on a weekly basis. However not all candidates show up prepared. Truth is you will get a lot more out of meeting with a recruiter if you spend some time preparing and thinking about what your next ideal career move is. At the same time, you also want to impress a recruitment consultant, as a consultant is only going to want to put forward the best candidates to their clients. So, with that in mind, here are some tips to keep in mind when meeting your consultant; Meeting a Recruitment Consultant is not an interview, but it kind of is… Meeting your recruitment consultant will be informal compared to a real interview. The recruitment consultant wants to meet face to face to chat about your experience and what you’re looking for and discuss any opportunities they have available. However, even though your recruitment consultant isn’t the person who is going to hire you, they have relationships with people who could. You should treat your meeting like it’s an interview. Act professional and do your best to impress this person who has the power to get you the job you want. Dress Formally… For minimal effort, dressing to impress is important. Even if your office attire isn’t formal usually, dress smart (ideally formal but smart casual as a minimum) when meeting your consultant. This says to your consultant that you are taking your job hunt seriously and it also reassures the consultant you will present yourself well to their clients in interview. Be on Time for the Meeting… Again, consultants are assessing you to see if you are suitable to present to their clients. Being late screams unreliable and they will question whether you would do the same for a client interview. On time suits recruiters best because they usually have back to back meetings and being too early or late will put their entire schedule under pressure. Be Prepared… Even though it’s an informal chat, you should still be prepared and be confident speaking about your experience. Checking over your CV to be sure or saying you don’t remember won’t make your recruitment consultant confident that you can present yourself well in an interview with their client. Don’t be Afraid to be Honest… The more information you give your recruitment consultant, the better understanding they will have of your career aspirations and goals and in turn they will be able to provide you with positions you are interested in applying for. Inform them of your priorities (salary, benefits, location, title, culture etc.) and what you are and are not flexible on. Knowing this information will prevent you being presented with opportunities you are not interested in. Follow Up… At the end of your meeting with a recruitment consultant, they will present you with open positions for you to consider applying for. Ideally, they’ll all be perfect for you but if not, don’t be afraid to let your recruiter know. Give them feedback and stay in touch with them, in some cases a recruiter can become a lifelong career advocate. If you want to get the most out of your meeting with your recruitment consultant, always come prepared. Not only with it impress the recruiter, but it will get you one step closer to finding your perfect job.
What New Grads Need To Know About Job Hunting
What New Grads Need To Know About Job Hunting
After graduating from university, looking for your first job can be daunting. You have spent so many years in education and working hard to achieve your degree, you’re eager to start your career but it can be difficult to know how, especially when you’re among so many other graduates in the same position as you applying for the same roles. At Sigmar Recruitment, we want to make the job hunt a little less overwhelming and help you to start your career successfully. Here are the best tips to stand out in your job hunt: Ask Your Lecturers If you’re unsure about what companies to apply for, get in touch with your college lecturers and ask for their recommendations. This is a great way to know what companies are hiring graduates and it’s a great way to introduce yourself when applying. “I heard about your company through my lecturer ____ and I just wanted to introduce myself and enquire about any open positions.” Don’t Be Afraid of The Phone If you’re interested in a job and you’ve applied with your CV, it’s always a good idea to ring the hiring manger to introduce yourself. Often when mangers are recruiting for a position they are inundated with applications. For you to stand out, phone the company and let them know that you are interested in the role. Email Before Attending a Job Fair Student job fairs are like a recruitment frenzy. HR mangers meet so many people in the space of a few hours so it can be hard for them to remember every single person. If you know of a company that will be there and better again, the representative from the company attending, email beforehand. Leading up to the event, you should email to introduce yourself. This will make standing out a lot easier and it will probably be appreciated by the representative as well. Do Your Research Always know about the company you’re applying for before approaching anyone for an interview. The question “What do you know about our company?” will always be asked in an interview. It’s not often you will know what will be asked in an interview so it would be foolish to not prepare. It’s also a great way to impress your interviewer. Doing good research before an interview shows interest and preparation. Name Drop Highlighting your personal connections can be a great way to stand out. If you know of someone who is a client/colleague/friend of the person you are being interviewed by, mention it. Also, if you know someone who works for the company you're applying to, don't be afraid to mention their name in your cover letter. Many businesses actually encourage and reward their employees for referring job candidates so you should always name drop where you can. Always remember, that all the people you admire and see working in role that you aspire to achieve, they all started where you are now. Everyone has to start from somewhere and you will get there with the right attitude and time.