Daniel talks about the highlights of his college experience, the skills he's learned and the best advice he would give to all incoming first years
Daniel Connolly is a graduate of the Bachelor of Business (Hons) and a past pupil of CBS Tramore.
What attracted you to study at Waterford Institute of Technology?
What attracted me to WIT was that its business school has such a good reputation and because I have such a keen interest in business it just made sense for me to go to WIT. I am also from Tramore so WIT is within driving distance from my house which was another key benefit to going to there.
Did you always know this was the course you wanted to do?
Yes, my first choice on my CAO was the Bachelor of Business (Hons) course in WIT. When I was in transition year in secondary school we ran a very successful mini business, this really ignited my interest in entrepreneurship and business in general. I had and still have, a love for entrepreneurialism and before studying in WIT I had launched a few different businesses, some which were successful and some which were not.
What words of advice do you have for new students?
The words of advice I would give incoming students is first of all, to be determined in your studies. I failed my first year of college and took a year out of college in order to repeat the exams, I passed and went back to finish the degree. Working for that year made me really understand the value of an education. Secondly, something which I regret, is not getting involved in clubs and societies, it was only recently I realised the benefits and opportunities which arise from being involved in clubs and societies. Lastly, I would say do what you like in college and not because you think it’s best for a job option, you may get a job that pays well from a certain course choice but you might not be happy in that job so what’s the point, do what you love.
What have been the highlights of your college experience?
The highlights of my college experience would be the friendships I made throughout the years spent in WIT, friendships with other students and lecturers. The live projects we worked on throughout the years were definitely a highlight of my time in WIT, the opportunity to work with real businesses was excellent. Funny enough my favourite year in college was my final year, I spent a huge amount of time in the library and began to start to like going there, all the time spent there paid off when I achieved the grade I desired. In my final year I also developed a business idea which I was working on outside of school and I ended up winning the best idea category of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in Waterford that year also, which was a fantastic experience in itself. I also received an award for outstanding academic achievement which I was very proud of.
What are you doing now?
After college I was fortunate enough to get an internship with the Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG), an internationally-recognised ICT research centre based in Waterford Institute of technology's West Campus. Working in TSSG as a marketing intern has been a great experience for me as I have learned so much about not only marketing itself but about the new and emerging technologies the team are working on across various sectors including agriculture, transport, future health and energy. My role in TSSG afforded me the opportunity to work in the marketing departments as well as the business development arm of TSSG; Technology Gateway funded by Enterprise Ireland. This was the highlight of the role in TSSG as I hope to continue my career in business development.
What did you like about Waterford as a city to live in/to study in?
Well I am from Waterford, so I love it here, I live in Tramore which has the benefit of being on the sea, which is something I love very much and also utilise to go swimming in the summer months.
How did work placement add to your college experience?
Work placement was a great experience in which I learned an awful lot, I think getting industry experience is invaluable and really benefited me when seeking employment after college.
After completing my course I...
Took the summer off and spent time developing my business idea further, then in September I started a position as a marketing intern in TSSG, which is a WIT research centre and technology gateway, where I have been given the opportunity to work on a variety of different projects. For example within my first two months I helped in the organisation of two separate conferences. I have learned so much about different technologies and how a research centre operates.
How did your experience at WIT help get you to where you are now?
My experience at WIT was crucial to helping me securing the position in TSSG as it gave me the necessary skills needed for the role. Not only did I learn crucial skills in WIT, but my experience in WIT really helped build my character. Throughout the years in WIT I gave many presentations, which has meant I am now a competent presenter, these skills have proven very beneficial, for example I presented a business solution at a start-up weekend in Google in Dublin in front of 200 people, something that would probably have not been possible only for my presentation skills which I learned in WIT.