Final Year Student Ambassador Anna Dunne takes a look at her CAO choice process and why she ultimately chose to study Commerce at UCD
At the end of Transition Year, we were asked to pick our subjects for our Leaving Certificate. I remember how some of my friends spent days looking through the forms trying to decide what their next step would be. For me, it was a shockingly easy process – I instantly chose my language, one science and two business subjects.
From an early age, I’ve had an interest in business. As my parents both come from business backgrounds, I grew up talking about business issues and learning how it works in Ireland and around the world. I always knew it was something that I would want to pursue further.
However, in Sixth Year, when the time came to fill in the CAO form, I had a bit of a dilemma. Because yes, while I knew I wanted to study business (which I admit made it a lot easier), there are dozens of business courses available in Ireland, and I didn’t know which one would be the best for me. For instance, did I want to specialise right away, or do a general course and then specialise later?
This dilemma lead me on a very interesting journey; attending open evenings and days at various universities, speaking to past pupils of lots of different courses, online research, etc.
By completing all these tasks, I quickly identified Commerce in UCD as the course that I wanted more than anything. And now, four years later at the start of my last semester, I cannot even begin to imagine how different my life would have been had I chosen to go elsewhere.
There are a number of reasons why Commerce ended up being the best choice for me:
Broad Exposure, Then Subject Specialisation
One of the major appeals of Commerce is the fact that it is initially a very general course. By that, I mean that in your first year, you gain a very broad exposure by studying a wide variety of business subjects, ranging from Accounting to HR to Marketing or Organisational Behaviour. This generalisation appealed to me as I was not completely certain of what area of business I wanted to pursue, and this course helped me to gain an understanding of the different areas. However, a bonus of Commerce is that in your final year, you can choose to specialise which modules you take.
For instance, those who want to pursue Accountancy can choose to complete all the modules required to receive exemptions. I have identified that I am passionate about Management and have therefore chosen to focus in this area, taking modules such as Leadership and Change Management, Managing in a Cross-Cultural Environment, etc.
Without the initial broad subject range and exposure to the field of Management, I may have selected to focus on a different area.
Quality of the Faculty
From attending a Business Open Evening at UCD, I quickly realised the quality of the lecturers that would be teaching me throughout my degree. The School of Business has a strong, international faculty which comprises of experts in many different aspects of business.
Several faculty members teach while conducting their own research, which can bring an interesting dynamic to classes and allow for innovative discussions. In addition, many of the faculty also teach on the postgraduate programmes at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, which is extremely well recognised internationally.
The Lochlann Quinn School of Business
One of the best things I did when researching my CAO options was visit the locations of the various different business programmes. The first time I stepped in to the Lochlann Quinn School of Business, I was amazed by the space and the different facilities it had on offer.
The building has dedicated study spaces, presentation studios and collaborative work spaces. In addition, the building hosts the Deloitte Data Analytics Lab which contains Bloomberg financial data terminals.
Throughout my time in Commerce, these facilities, along with the innovative lecture theatres and small tutorial class spaces, have enabled me to develop new skills and learn in a collaborative environment.
I have also enjoyed having a dedicated building for the Business programmes on offer in UCD. This has helped me to meet people from the different Business courses and provided all of us with a place to relax and hang out before or after our classes, something which is not always available with other Business courses.
As soon as I heard about the amazing opportunity that is the Quinn Internship Programme, I wanted to study Commerce.
As part of this programme, students have the opportunity to apply for internship positions at the end of their second year. The Internships range from 9 – 12 months and positions are available in a wide variety of companies. I was lucky enough to get offered a role in Microsoft, and I worked for the large multinational full time for an entire year. I cannot begin to describes the impact this internship had on me, both on a personal and professional level.
However, the Quinn Internship Programme is not the only opportunity that drew me to Commerce. Students also have the opportunity to apply for an Exchange programme. (You can read more about my experience here).
While these opportunities may have seemed incredibly daunting to me during Sixth Year, I cannot begin to describe how much of an impact they have had on my life. I would highly recommend either (or both!) opportunities to any student.
Finally, one of the big reasons why I chose to study Commerce at UCD is for UCD itself. More than anything, I wanted to experience college life at UCD and be a part of the community here.
The first time I visited the campus, I was blown away by the facilities on offer. To this day, I continue to be impressed by the broad range of societies and sports clubs available on campus.
I also love the diversity of the student population here on campus. There are students from many different backgrounds studying a whole range of subjects and throughout my time here, I have enjoyed making friends from all over the world.
Overall, I would recommend studying Commerce at UCD to anyone who has a passion for business and is interested in learning in a collaborative environment. Over the past four years, I have never once regretted my course choice and I cannot imagine studying anywhere else. Commerce at UCD has been fantastic for me in terms of personal development and the opportunities it has provided to me.