Until Next Time Ireland

Our trip home was nothing short of a disaster with multiple flight delays and misplaced baggage. Luckily, I had lots of photos and memories to sort through from the last two weeks which helped to pass the time. Looking back, I can confidently say that I learned a lot about myself and others as well as business on a universal level. From our prior research, I had expected Ireland to be home to many technology corporations. It did not really occur to me how Ireland had become the global hub for many of them until I was actually in country. A majority of the people that we met were not even Irish, but had instead come to work from other countries across Europe. This just goes to show how technology has transformed Ireland from an agricultural center to the core of European innovation. While we had discussed this in class beforehand, I was still surprised to see how industrial and similar Dublin was the U.S cities. When you think of Ireland you often see rolling green hills, farms and open fields. While I did see this part of Ireland on our day trips to the Cliffs and Wicklow Mountains, what I experienced the most was the lively city. In this way my knowledge of Ireland’s business landscaped was deepened, as I saw just how important it was to the growth of the country.

After working a remote internship over this past year, I have come to appreciate the value of meeting in-person with colleagues and clients. In a virtual setting, it can take quite some time to really develop a relationship with someone as opposed to spending time together in-person. In Ireland, I experienced this first hand at FoodCloud where I was really able to see the passion each employee had for the company’s work. Likewise, they were able to see how interested we were in their operations from our questions. Though our visit was short, I feel that physically being there gave us a better perspective on FoodCloud’s work and also put us in a better position as a consultant. We were able to quickly make a connection with our client that would have been more difficult to do in an hour zoom call. Aside from the consulting aspect, I was able to develop more as a professional through our talks and daily interactions with company hosts. It was interesting to hear how Irish professionals think of networking and I will certainly consider the advice we were given when I attend networking events back in Pittsburgh.

My biggest takeaway from Ireland is the importance of connecting with people. As students, we are often so focused on attaining a grade, getting certified in some skill or crossing off a certain box in order to stack our resumes. What I have learned in Ireland is that a personal connection can have a greater impact than any number or certification, assuming you can back it up with hard work and determination. People are everything, both in business and in life. Our lives can become so busy that we forget the value of meeting new people and forming new connections. Taking the extra minute to introduce yourself to someone new can go a long way, and you never know who might be able to help you land a job or connect you with a new colleague. That said, I will push myself to be more in the moment, taking each chance to meet someone new and growing my network little by little. I am so grateful for this experience and can’t wait to return to Ireland to see what else it has to offer!

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