The two weeks spent on the Plus3 trip in Dublin, Ireland is an experience I will never forget. Each day was filled with interesting people, places, and ideas to consider, particularly in the context of Ireland’s tech sector. Tech’s impact on the communities of Dublin was plain to see, particularly next to the parts of Dublin built before the economy’s rapid growth. It has done a lot to swiftly improve the quality of life of many people in Ireland and has added more diversity in both demographic and thought. But not everything about it is sunshine and rainbows – rising costs and wealth inequality have followed in its shadow.
The history of Ireland as a country and economy was thoughtfully and intelligently summarized by talented tour guides such as Darragh and Dr. Kelly, among others, and I cannot thank them enough for their insight. Dr. Kelly in particular had a lot of things to say not just about Ireland’s economy at face value, but the role that factors like the education system and the culture played in it. I can remember an example about travel: in Ireland, they would rather not use Google Maps or any other type of maps service that tells them how to get to where they need to go (from visits with Irish family members after the trip, this is something that is certainly true). They also suggest that people do things, rather than outright telling them. These actions can partly be traced to the many centuries of British rule in Ireland when they had little to no freedom and often were told what they had to do. once they were free, they wanted to keep that freedom. These stories mainly taught me that most things, good and bad, from the culture of a region or country can often be traced back to a part of their history, which makes it not as random as it seemed at first. This in turn crates a unique business culture based on the factors in the country’s underlying culture, so it is important for people to understand that about all countries, including Ireland.
Another great thing that we did on the Plus3 is that we met our client in person for our business consultancy. The client in question, food waste-fighting nonprofit FoodCloud, was very open to questions and we had a good dialogue with the employees about FoodCloud as a nonprofit, from its strengths to its challenges to its purpose. Not only was it was a fun experience, but it allowed us to gain a greater understanding of the organization on a more personal level than simply researching them online. Visiting to warehouse gave us a clearer view of what the people are like as well, who are important for establishing a business culture.
By the end of the trip, I had learned many things about who I am as a person and business professional. This trip reinforced the importance of networking and who you know being as important as having the competence and skills to do something. Rob Cullen, one of the guest speakers from the trip, talked extensively about networking and how he has wielded his connections effectively to get to the position he is in today, with connections to important people that work in Ireland’s Chamber of Commerce and large companies. What is even more remarkable about that is that his background is not in business at all, but as a chef! This brings me to the next big takeaway: to live life slower and happier, pursuing what really I want to do wholeheartedly, and knowing that it will work out in the end. Along with Cullen, other people we met from the trip, such as the Google tour guides, had backgrounds in atypical subjects, like Russian and graphic design, yet here they were taking us around the headquarters of a massive and prestigious company. Despite being from different backgrounds, they ended up being fine with a bit of learning and experience.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Dublin and I am thankful to have spent it with other Pitt Business students!