Saturday, April 25, 2009

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Technology in the Quinn School

The usage of computers during my time here in Quinn has been really great, In fact I would not like to imagine what college life without my laptop and the internet would be like, both of these are now things that not only do I take for granted, but I think I would suffer somewhat severe withdrawal symptoms if they were taken away from me… yes they ARE that great.
I remember in first year being quite a computer illiterate individual, I could type about 4 words a minute and I had NO idea how to use Powerpoint, Excel or any of the programs that are now indispensable to me. Furthermore during my internship with Accenture this summer I found that my prior experience with computers from both in and out of class was a huge help. So not only are they great to help out in projects in college they also give you a head start in the workplace.
The internet has also helped me out significantly throughout various courses and has also made life much easier for me and my colleagues by allowing us to take care of work from different parts of the city, or indeed the world, without having to face a lengthy commute. When I was in Canada last March one of my team was able to email me a document that needed to be edited, I was able to edit it, send it back to him and talk to him about it over MSN, all from the convenience of my laptop.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why consider an internship?

Choosing a career path and which organisation you would like to pursue it in are both extremely tough and at times highly stressful decisions to make.
One way in which students can get a head start on the road to discovering what career is right for them is to sacrifice the sun holiday and spend the summer working with a company you would like to pursue a career with on an internship.
Internships are a period of time, typically 12 weeks, spent working at an entry level with a company, and are becoming an ever more popular way for employers and students to become acquainted in the careers process. The increase in internships being offered and taken is the realisation by both side of the benefits derived from the process.

More and more companies are choosing to offer summer internship programs, a fact displayed by the GradIreland handbook listing no less than 50 employers who have expressed intentions to take on interns this summer. It is also worth taking into account that although internship places may not be officially advertised by an organisation it does not mean that the company in question would not be open to the idea of running one, Joan Gallagher, Employer Liaison for the UCD Careers Office advise that “even though a company may not necessarily have a formal internship program in place I would not be deterred as a student from applying”

At the most basic of levels internships can be beneficial on a purely financial level, providing the student with a financial cushion for the academic year ahead. College life is in no way a cheap affair with expenses ranging from rent and academic materials to social duties, and working in a full time internship which can last up to three months, can help put a few coins in the piggy bank and solve many of your financial problems for the year ahead.

One of the major benefits that students experience while on an internship with an organisation is the unique opportunity to observe the theoretical content that was purely academic in college, being put into practice in the real world, Casey advises that a spell spent with a company can give “enormous insight into how you can apply the knowledge that you learn in college to the vocational setting of the workplace.”
Being exposed to the reality of day to day life within an organisation can also allow you to see if the reality of the job is how you imagined it would be, Casey believes that “An internship will allow a student to evaluate a company from the inside as an employee, to better asses whether he/she would like to pursue a job in this organisation or sector of employment.”
One student who undertook an internship this summer believed “It definitely gave me a good insight into what the job entails, and it was good to be paid well while learning a lot” while another student described his 12 week placement as “one of the most important things I will have done in college” adding “the reality of the job was so far off what I had imagined it was scary, definitely a real eye opener.”

Many students who complete internships with a company find themselves with a job offer at the end of their placement, having a job secured for the following year allows students to avoid the lengthy recruitment process and to direct all their energy towards academic endeavours, a final year commerce student noted that “Application forms for accountancy firms take up to 5 hours to complete. I was guaranteed a job and that meant I did not have to spend all that time as well as going through several interviews for numerous firms.”
Not all students that undertake an internship will have a formal job offer but will have at the very least a foot placed firmly in the door, and will have contacts inside the company who may be able to fast track the individual though the process. Casey advises that being able to refer to an internship will “make your CV stand out from the crowd”, adding “the hands on experience will allow you to build marketable skills which will make you attractive to potential employers down the road.

Students who are considering applying for an internship or would simply like more information on the matter are advised to attend the “Internship and vacation work” careers seminar organised by the UCD Careers office, taking place on 14th November at 5pm in Theatre R of the Newman building. The UCD careers office website,, is another valuable source of information and is updated with internship offers and news on a regular basis.

On a more personal note, I did an internship this summer with Accenture consulting and all the benefits mentioned above where definitely true, it has helped me make some important decisions about which direction to take after college, and exposure to working life has made me appreciate my time here in UCD even more. Getting an internship is really easy and a large portion of my friends were doing them too, if you have an up to date CV you should go to the website of the company of your choice and submit them in the graduate recruitment section.
From what my friends tell me other colleges organise work placements for business students, but I think that employers would be much more impressed with the fact that you went to the trouble and effort of putting yourself out there and organising your own internship with a company, rather than undertaking work experience simply because it is an obligatory part of your course. There are no shortage of internships out there, and finding one to suit you shouldnt be too taxing, whats more it will teach you invaluable skills on communicating with prospective employers, and acts as a practice run for the all important job search after college.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The benefits of blogging in college

This January I decided to start a blog called cube found here where I would write informally about my thoughts and opinions on issues surrounding business, technology, marketing and bits and pieces of my life in general, I thought it would be interesting, if for nothing else, novelty value. I, Edward Fidgeon-Kavanagh, would have my own little piece of the Internet!
Nine months later and I have in the region of 200 posts and 11,000 views, and it turns out blogging has helped me in numerous ways that I could have never imagined with my work both in and out of college.
Below is a summary of some of the main benefits I have noticed. (the list is in now way exhaustive and I'm sure there are more)

1. Writing
When you are in primary school you learn how to write, and by the time a student leaves primary education, they are usually versed in the art of “jointy-uppy-writing”, by the time you get to secondary school you are blessed with an abundance of essays, and writing races (exams), but then by the time you reach third level education the amount, and variety of what you write plummets. One of my classmates recently admitted to me that in the last 6 months he had written no more than half a page in actual pen to paper writing, and I sure he is not the only example of this.
I write out all my posts on paper before typing them up (old fashioned isn’t it!), I find it easier to structure my thoughts and how I want to approach an issue, but also it has kept me accustomed to the idea of writing with a pen or pencil, so come exam time it is not as traumatic an experience as it can be for your average Quinn School student, my hand doesn’t ache or blister AND I have the added bonus of my writing being legible.

2. Learning
Soon after I started blogging, I noticed that most of the things I had written about were still lingering about in my head, and I could recall interesting facts from the posts, even about the most obscure facts for example the labour cost of producing a nike t-shirt in the Dominican republic equates to 3/10ths of 1% of the final retail price we pay.
The process of finding the information, structuring it into something readable, and then writing it out serves as a great method for remembering things, this has been extremely useful in exams, essays, presentations and discussions in class. My advice, if you want to remember it, write about it.

3. Jobs and Internet reputation
This was not one of my main reasons for starting up a blog, but rather an aspect which I realise can accompany it. When you start a blog, it tends to be up quite high, usually first if you were so inquisitive as to “Google” your name. The fact is that these days if employers want to find out about the “real” you, they will do just that, they will type “Joe Bloggs” and see what they get. It would be much better for them to come across a reasonably mature blog you write in as opposed to your Bebo photos of you passed out lying on an inflatable crocodile in Santa Ponsa.

Reading blogs has been equally important for me, I have learned so much from reading other peoples views and thoughts on issues relating to marketing and HR to things like sport and graphic design, and there are about 15 blogs which I check faithfully every day. There are millions of blogs out there, each one full valuable information.
The three that influenced my decision to start were
Fortifyservices blog
Seth Godin's blog
Presentationzen blog

So if you think you would like to experiment with a bit of writing, set up an account today, it is almost as easy as signing into you email account, and if you aren’t happy… I’ll give you your money back.