Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

In a world where you can be or do almost anything, choose to leave your comfort zone.

Being that this was my first time ever being abroad, it was anything but a dull moment. As the dust has died down from all the travel mayhem, I can’t help but feel nostalgic about fruity pancakes, getting lost, going out on a random weekday night, and growing with all the individuals I met through the many ups and downs of it all. I’ve spent the past week learning to re-adjust to my summer schedule, work responsibilities, and life after being abroad. Reminiscing on these past two weeks, my time in Ireland has come to a bittersweet ending. If anything, two weeks flew in a blink of an eye! Despite only spending two short weeks abroad, I believe this program has given me the opportunity to learn and grow professionally and personally. I have not only gained a better appreciation and understanding of the psychology and global aspects of business and Irish culture, but also the chance to learn how to blossom where I am planted.

As I wrap up this series, I want to touch upon some of the experiences I encountered as well as leave you with some of my final takeaways. Coming into this experience, one of the primary reasons I selected this program had to due with the heavy focus on how technology impacts a country such as Ireland. Getting the chance to witness first hand how the technology industry has disrupted and impacted Dublin and Ireland itself was a once in a lifetime experience. After learning more about the tech industry, it was interesting to know that Ireland still is very much in a growth period. With this being said, technology opportunities are continuing to evolve rapidly. This was very much evident during our tour of the Financial District at the Silicon Docks as many companies were still being built and or expanding their operations that was once on pause due to the nature of the pandemic. It’s not every day that one can say they have lived to see a tech transformation. What once was known for just their agriculture now has turned into a beating heart of tech and growth of business opportunities.

It feels like just yesterday I was sitting in Sennott Square preparing for my future departure to Ireland. When initially asked about what we knew about the Irish business landscape and more generally about the country itself, many of us had no prior knowledge or experience with either. I think it safe to say now that my knowledge and understanding of Irish global business operations has grown tremendously. Meeting with real-time working Irish professionals in various industries allowed me to take a deeper dive into how business abroad differs from the United States. For example, Dr. Kelly talked a lot about the “recipe for success.” Our tour guide Dr. Kelly talked about the “Irish recipe” vs. the “American recipe” for success. While individuals may gather the same ingredients to make the same recipe, the way we get to the end goal or product may be different. Along the same lines, Dr. Kelly also explained the importance of high vs. low contexts of doing business. In the United States, how we do business would be considered low context as the way we accomplish objectives is straight to the point and on a concise timeline. In Ireland, business can be considered high context. It is conducted as more of a relationship style where taking the time and effort to form connections over a drink or a meal at a pub is thought to be more important. This is important when considering doing business internationally because the way I’ve always known how to do business can come off as offensive or rude. From this, I hope to implement Dr. Kelly’s advice into future career roles I may have as well as any international business opportunities that I may encounter.

While I touched on a bit about the value of Irish business culture, I wanted to elaborate more on my role as a business consultant. During this trip, I had the chance to visit companies such as THINKHOUSE, Microsoft, Google, Guinness Enterprise Center (GEC), Auxilion, etc. Prior to our company visits, we had done secondary research to gain a better understanding of where each company is currently and where they are situated for the future. From this I learned one of the most crucial parts of being a good business consultant is doing your research. This is a valuable practice not only as being a consultant but also when preparing for future career roles or other opportunities that may come your way. Being prepared shows that you are interested and willing to put in the work. I think this showed as many of the clients we met with appreciated our interest and willingness to ask questions about the business, day-to-day work activities, and even combating burnout. Another thing I realized is being a business consultant is a two-way street. As much as you are doing the research on a client, the client also has to be willing to give up some control to see your vision. I think the value of this is important in terms of a company’s growth because it gives a fresh perspective to something that someone might not see. When I met with THINKHOUSE, a independent marketing agency, I was really blown away with how the company as a whole conducts their business. From the Youth Lab to their employees, it taught me to view business differently. Business doesn’t always have to be black or white, in fact, most things in life are not always black or white.

Professionally, this trip has helped me to further my development as a business professional in various ways. Personally having the opportunity to speak with working professionals at THINKHOUSE really broadened how I want to brand myself as well as do networking. I found that many of the employees at THINKHOUSE do not have a marketing or communications degree. For example, before coming to THINKHOUSE, Billy was a hair dresser who was looking to do something more meaningful and fulfilling with his career. I found this to be really inspiring because it shows that anything is possible. It also goes to show that no matter who you meet, you can always find a connection. From Rob Cullen’s lecture, he stated, “It’s not what you know, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows YOU.” With that being said, one thing I want to take with me from now on is how I choose to network. It can’t hurt to put your name out their. In that regard, I’d like to take more time to get to know people in hopes of them knowing me. I also want to further implement the knowledge I have learned from Rob Cullen and Dr. Kelly and apply this moving forward in my future career.

On a final note, through this trip I feel I have discovered more about myself in the past two weeks than I thought was possible. As someone who isn’t always the most adaptive or flexible, I learned that many situations were out of my control. It is like my parents have always told me practice is key. To that, I would say that I practiced being adaptable and flexible a lot during my time in Ireland. Coming back home, I have wanted to implement more this practice into my everyday life activities such as work and classes. Another thing I surprised myself with is just how capable I was navigating both physically Ireland but also adulting in a foreign country. While both of these things were anxiety provoking, I was excited to accomplish the small things such as navigating successfully back to the hotel or flying home alone. It was the little things that I was glad that I was able to do on my own and learn from it. Through navigating these ups and downs with my cohort, I made memories and friends to last a lifetime.

To those who have followed along with me throughout my journey via my blogs or in my personal life, I want to thank you for your support along the way. It truly has been a pleasure and a privilege to travel during a time of such uncertainty and chaos. For that, I will never take for granted how lucky I was to have had the chance to live out Pitt Business’ motto, “From the Classroom. To the City. To the World.”

La fin.

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