Having started out on the Bachelor of Business level 7 degree at WIT Joseph progressed on to his level 8, followed by a level 9 Masters
Joseph Foley is a Master of Business (HRM) graduate from Waterford. Joseph speaks about how his postgraduate studies have taken his professional life to the next level.
I am currently in a middle management role within the retail industry working for a multi award-winning independent food store here in Waterford. My academic journey began in WIT in 2012 on the Bachelor of Business level 7 Degree. I continued my education in WIT completing the Bachelors of Business (Hons) in 2016 and most recently the Master of Business (Human Resource Management) in 2020.
During my time in this course, I was a BBS class rep for two years and Business School Convenor for one, sitting on the Executive of the Student Council within the College. I have also delivered two guest lectureships to students in the School of Business on behalf of my employer.
What attracted you to study at Waterford Institute of Technology?
The main aspect that attracted me to WIT is due to its sense of community. WIT for me is like a micro community. The most important element of this community is its people. From academic staff, support staff and the students that attend the institute.
The added bonus of smaller class sizes was also a major factor of my decision to not only start but continue of academic journey within WIT. For me this allowed for a more interactive learning experience.
What was your motivation for choosing this course?
I had always had a passion to pursue a Master’s degree following completing my BBS within the college. Prior to applying to the college I looked at other courses ultimately settling with WIT. This was due to practical elements that are delivered on the course. This included mediation skills, arbitration skills, helping start-ups develop routes to market and business simulations. Some of these practical assessments mentioned required working within cross-functional teams, something that in "the real working world" is very important.
Other motivations included the accreditation provided by The CIPD, the professional body for HR practitioners and the international study trip to Leuven was also a contributing factor to my decision.
What words of advice do you have for new students?
From my own personal experience, I would advise students to firstly, enjoy the process. At times the challenge can seem to be daunting, difficult and an uphill battle but it is ultimately an amazing experience and one that will leave you with a great sense of personal achievement.
I would also advise students on the MBS programme to immerse themselves in all the elements of the programme to push themselves and to question things. To ask questions to peers and lecturing staff and importantly, to remember that you are now in one of the most important networks of your life, not only academically, but professionally. The relationships that will be formed are ones that you may need to call on in the future.
Also and most importantly, if you see a peer or colleague struggling on the programme, reach out and ask are they ok and to remember it is not a competition. This collegial support is something that may be needed by yourself at some point during the process.
What have been the highlights of your college experience?
There have been so many highlights from my time within WIT. From forming new bonds both professional and personal and seeing the rewards that can be achieved through hard work. For me, during the MBS process, a major highlight was the International Study Trip to KU Leuven and Brussels. This helped in focus me on what exactly I wanted to achieve from the programme. Meeting MEP's, Ambassadors and other dignitaries were something that I will remember for some time to come.
Also, the completion of my MBS dissertation was something that filled me with great pride. Having not had the opportunity to complete one for my undergrad, I was eager to hit the ground running. This was the most challenging but definitely the most rewarding element for me on the programme, and I was delighted to have received a First Class Honour in it.
Another major highlight for me personally was the international exposure that not only the MBS programme but also the BBS programme. From China, Italy, Canada, France and many more, it helped open my mind to different cultures and ways of life and I have made lifelong friendships from this. As we all know we are living in a more diverse society and WIT mirrors this.
How did you manage your work life study balance?
As a part-time student and working full time in the retail industry, finding a balance was very important for me. In the beginning, it seemed like a juggling act and at times I was going one step forward and two steps back. We are all different in our approach to studying. For me, it was finding what worked best. I treated the MBS programme as a second job. The days that was on campus, it was like a 9 to 5 shift or sometimes even 9 to 8.
At the beginning of each semester, I had goals of the grades I hoped to achieve and how I had hoped to ascertain them. If ever I felt demotivated I would pull open this file and it would motivate me to keep ongoing. I can assure anyone on or thinking of partaking the MBS programme, if you give it your all, you will reap the rewards.
How did your experience at WIT help get you to where you are now?
What I realised through the entire process is that, we all are on different paths and journeys. The MBS programme helped me realise mine. I had always had the ambition of carrying on my education and a strong belief of the theme, "Life Long Learning". The MBS programme has only aided in the advancement of my opinion of this. I hope in the near future to continue my education and undertake a PhD. The MBS has most definitely has had a major impact on this.
Anything you'd like to add
My time in WIT is one that I look back at with great fondness and hope to return in the near future. I can assure anyone who chooses to undertake a Master's programme within the School of Business will not be disappointed. The level of support, academic insights and integrity that are present amongst all elements of the School of Business are ones that impressed me greatly and I am sure will impress current and prospective students alike.