DCU Business School Alumni Network
DCU Business School Graduates remain a part of the DCU Business School Alumni Network, far beyond graduation and throughout their careers. The DCU Business School Alumni Network will help graduates to stay in touch with each other and ensure their connection to the school continues. This is done through a number of ways, including:
- Monthly Breakfast Briefings
- Evening Networking Receptions
- Quarterly Alumni Newsletter
- Online Mentoring
- Charity Fundraising Events
Meet some of our Graduates
Davina Greene, BA in International Marketing and Languages
My name is Davina Greene. I graduated from DCU in 1998 with a B.A. in International Marketing with German and French, and then went back for more in 2000, undertaking a 2-year M.B.S. in Strategic International Marketing while I worked.
Have I worked in Marketing since then? No! As I had languages, I started work in the rapidly-growing financial services industry in 1998, fielding calls from foreign clients and brokers. I remember at one point during my DCU education, a lecturer commented that "If the operation doesn't work, then you may have nothing worth marketing". This stuck in my mind and, as a firm believer in building things correctly from their core outwards (no sticky plasters here!), I headed down the Operations path instead. For 14 years, I worked for international names such as Allianz and AIG, working my way up to Senior Management level.
Then, in 2011, I knew that it was time for a change. All of my roles had been hectic and dynamic - all in Head Offices of international companies, all going through either start-up or significant upheaval. As well as the general mechanics of the business operations, this required equally strong focus on people management, performance management and leadership skills, both domestically and internationally. Never boring, but I had to admit that what I was doing wasn't really 'grabbing' me.
As I took stock in 2011, I realized that I had – without any great master plan – undertaken further learning outside of work. A 'Start Your Own Business' course, for the hell of it. A fitness instruction course, which surprised even me. A Counseling diploma. A Dietary Coaching qualification. Suddenly, my brain began to join some dots, and I wondered how I could bring all of my past learnings together, yet set myself on a different path.
During my career, I was lucky enough to have two employers who integrated Coaching into their staff development processes, to support strategic cultural and performance goals. I had never heard of Coaching before – not outside of sport, anyway.
Coaching is really a series of high-quality conversations that results in change; the placement of focused attention on a person so that they may place focused and productive attention on what is important to them at a point in time. It works well for practical skills, but even better for skills relating to people, behaviours and leadership.
I experienced the enjoyment of watching a company's core personality change for the better - through coaching. I watched a company's staff march confidently, as one, into the company taking them over – again, united via team coaching. I watched people who couldn't stand working together suddenly understand why, and start working very productively! Most importantly, I had an impartial outsider sitting with me once a month to listen, question, and allow me to strategise for me. I loved it. I was passionate about it.
So I decided I'd like to be able to do that for other people, and re-trained as a Coach in 2011, setting up my own business, Rocket Fuel (www.purerocketfuel.com). My DCU education and business experience allowed people to trust me in this new role. As well as business coaching, I combined my dietary and fitness qualifications into a Wellbeing for Performance offering which is quite unique, allowing companies to facilitate a more holistic type of support for their employees, should they so desire. So, the dots are now officially joined up!
I work with organisations and individuals (including students) to help find clarity of direction and focus, and to develop leaders. The younger the person who comes for coaching, the happier I am. For so many years, I watched young employees politely and diligently tackle unsuitable roles that brought little happiness. To send someone out into the working world now, armed with great self-awareness, an understanding of 'other people', and an appreciation of the style of study or employment that might best suit them, really brings me great satisfaction.
I would of course be thrilled to help DCU students and alumni along the way. In the meantime, you can check out my monthly business coaching column in Irish Tatler magazine for some general tips!
Agnes Lee, Professional Diploma in Accounting
When I first broke the news that I had enrolled in the Professional Diploma in Accounting course at DCU, I was bombarded by questions, such as, "Why? Where? What is DCU?" To be honest, as someone from Hong Kong - a little island thousands of miles away from Ireland - I did not have much knowledge about the University. I was then changing track in my career. The PDA programme, which offered exemptions from quite a number of ACCA exams within a 1-year course, was definitely appealing to me. In hindsight, I was too narrow-minded at that time in envisioning what the University would offer.
The course itself was exactly what I had hoped for – a total of six subjects spanning across two semesters, covering all the basic topics of what a professional accountant should know, from management accounting to computer skills. What I did not expect was the level of hard work the course required! Due to the intensity of the course, we had full day classes from nine to five, almost every weekday and weekly tutorials with take home assignments.
It was not easy for students, but it was equally demanding for the lecturers. Despite the hectic schedule, the lecturers and tutors were never stingey about spending extra time to answer our questions and reinforce our understanding on difficult concepts. At times when we felt like giving up, we were never short of words of encouragement. I still recall what one of my favorite lecturers in management accounting kept on reminding us, which is that "…accounting is something doable." This 'doable' belief has helped me through various moments of hardship over the years and still stands me in good stead even today.
The hard work paid off. I got my ACCA qualifications within one year of graduating from the PDA course, not just because of the exemptions the course offered but also because of the strong foundations laid down from the study of the course. As an accounting professional, learning never ends. Good foundation in basic concepts helps to absorb new knowledge and tackle different technical problems. This is drawn from my practical experiences as a tax professional in Big Four accounting firms.
Although the course load was heavy, I still had the chance to enjoy activities outside study, thanks to the work of the various clubs and associations of DCU. Weekly squash sessions were a treat after study. Exercise was good, but meeting squash buddies was even more fun. My squash buddies came from different parts of Europe – Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. We exchanged our playing skills on the squash court and off the court we had more to share - our homemade cuisine, our travelling tips around Ireland and our homesick moments.
Pub gatherings on Thursdays (since classmates would go back home on Friday) were also what I looked forward to every week. As someone from Southern part of China, drinking had been only for celebration at big events like weddings before I came to Ireland. Pub going and drinking is rather a social function here whereby we learn more about people around us, in a candid and relaxed manner.
It is from these day-in and day-out encounters that I come to know about our cultural differences, how to see things from perspectives of others with different cultural backgrounds, how to respect our differences and yet stand by our own values. The lesson learnt has far reaching effects and helped me in later years when I worked in Singapore, a country with a diverse population.
Now I am back to the little island where I came from, continuing my professional accountant career in the commercial field. More than fifteen years have passed since my days at DCU. When I account them in writing here, I realise they are still vivid as the old days. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who I met at DCU for giving me such pleasant and unforgettable memories, for letting me share their thoughts and accepting me irrespective of where I come from, for giving me a chance to reset my career and assuring me I had made the right choice.
Clare Mulligan, MSc in Work and Organisational Psychology
Hi. My name is Clare Mulligan and I graduated from the MSc in Work and Organisational Psychology in 2011. I came back to my academic studies later in life after working in financial services for 20 years. I knew that I wanted to do something else with the second half of my career so I took career advice in my early 30's in which the most suitable and appealing career for me turned out to be an Organisational Psychologist, but to achieve this I would need an undergraduate in Psychology and a post grad in Organisational Psychology.
I then willingly undertook a long path to complete my undergrad and then apply for MSc with DCU. I was delighted to get accepted on the programme with DCU and thoroughly enjoyed my experience of study. I found going back to study as an adult was challenging as any mature students will know it can be tough fitting in study with existing responsibilities of work and life, and then learning to discipline yourself to commit to study is tough. However, getting through each milestone feels worth all the work, and you do feel very proud of yourself once you meet each goal.
Since graduating, I have found that connections I made at DCU, through classmates, lecturers and fellow Alumni to be so supportive and still involved in my life. I have friends who are facing challenges in how to apply their studies to new and existing careers. The lecturers at DCU Business School take you through the learning objectives academically but also are very connected to the business world ensuring that your studies will help you on a professional basis. I have found my lecturers to be really supportive in helping me make the best use of my academic study, and in support for my transition from corporate life to a new career as an Organisational Psychologist. The door at DCU remains firmly open for all past students, and my advice would be to still keep those connections strong.
I feel that there are a lot of people in similar situations to me where they have reached a stage of their career and contemplating change but are unsure of how to manage any transition. It is a challenge, but the journey of the career transition can be a fantastic experience. There is a quote from Peter Drucker which I find explains my view "There is one requirement for managing the second half on one's life; to begin creating it long before one enters it". I think if you are thinking about what to do for your second half of your career then a course or extra education can prepare you for that, or at least open up your thinking to assist with contemplating what the process should be.
I am now starting my second half of my career as an independent Organisational Psychologist and have my own consultancy (www.claremulliganconsulting.ie ). I have mixed my skills and knowledge gained from the first half of my career with my academic studies, and am specialising in looking at the demographics of the new workforce and how to manage different generations in the workplace. Using my experience in the financial services industry I am also applying psychology and the changing demographics in the workforce to provide a new look at pensions and workplace savings.
I am enjoying the start of my second half of my career and feel lucky to be following my passions in my work..... but I may still consider a return back for some more study in the not too distant future.