I chose DCU when decided to go back to study as a mature student. I was a single Mum with a toddler. I had just closed my first business, a small café, and was in the process of setting up my second one, and events business called Arty Parties DCU was a natural choice for me. After researching my options I decided on the BBS program. I remember the first day very well. Standing in the reception area of the library. The first girl I spoke to, Kate, was almost 10 years younger than me. I wondered if I was going to fit in and make new friends.
I had nothing to worry about. The campus in DCU being away from the city centre, meant that people tended to hangout in the library or canteen. The size of the campus meant that you couldn’t spend a day there without bumping into lots of friendly faces. Of course there were other mature students in my class, whom I learned to identify the first week. They were the one’s asking all the questions!
The three years of the degree passed by very quickly. We graduated just as the world financial crisis was kicking in. Many of my class-mates continued their studies on Masters programs in DCU and have all since gone on to build very successful careers. Although I didn’t take part in the year long work experience that was a part of my course, it really prepares young graduates well for the workplace. There was a big difference in the students who left at 2nd year and returned for 4th year. Its one thing having a head full of knowledge, as a business owner, and now an employer, I’m looking for people who can quickly assimilate learning into action. Getting to put into practice what you’ve learned so you can truly know and understand how to do something is critical, and DCU has a strong focus on this.
I went from DCU graduating in 2008, to post-graduate studies with the PRII. After this I took a short diploma with DMI on Digital Marketing. In my early career I worked in Los Angeles, and watched the explosion of the internet and how it was changing behaviour at work and in our everyday lives. I returned to Dublin and worked for 2 tech startups. After the dot com crash in 2001, I was feeling rather disillusioned and looked for an established company to grown with. I worked briefly with Accenture before starting my own business in 2003.
I had the startup bug, and during my specialism in eCommerce in my final year, I knew that I was searching for a scalable tech based business. My latest venture, Eventmama allows event organisers in companies to find, book and rate suppliers for their events. They can book everything from venues for after works drinks, to catering for a banquet lunch for 100 or entertainment for the company summer BBQ. I’ve been working on this business full time for a year. We’ve been through the NDRC Launchpad startup accelerator program, which really pushed us forward. Late last year we secured some follow on funding and support from Enterprise Ireland. We’ve been busy signing up suppliers over the past 4 months, and testing the platform for utility and usability with event organisers. Our main mission now is to prove the concept here in Dublin then expand to a larger market, either the UK or the US. We’ll have to see what happens!
I have very fond memories of DCU. Billy Kelly was a great mentor and support to me during my time there. One of my classmates, still a good friend, came via the Access program. She has done incredibly well in her career and is a credit to the program and support of the DCU faculty.
I’ve recently been back to visit the Alumni team in DCU and I’m looking forward to getting more involved this year, in particular with the Women’s Innovation Network.