ISCG Alumni Spotlights interview with Rory Donnelly, Digital Marketing Associate @ LinkedIn
Tell us about yourself. Where did you go to college and what did you study?
As a northside Dubliner, in 2011 I decided it was time to venture further afield, my mind had wandered for distant pastures... and so, I found myself south of the Liffey at UCD - not too far, I know!
I studied the Commerce International program in Quinn, taking French as my chosen language to complement our business studies. The international track meant I was fortunate enough to spend an incredible year in 2013-14 studying entirely through French at Toulouse Business School in the south of France, polishing our language skills and adapting to the lifestyle and working culture of a totally new social environment.
Following Erasmus I decided to take a one-year leave of absence in order to complete an internship and build my professional experience in advance of graduating, and thankfully, was happily supported by UCD in order to do so. This was one element which I felt was lacking in the International track versus our B.Comm. counterparts and their integrated internship year, but I was delighted to see UCD so open to my workaround approach!
In September 2015 I then returned to final year, specialising my studies in all things marketing and business development oriented... I was never one for the big numbers in accounting or finance! It was a tough, but engaging year, and I'm thankful now to have it behind me.
What have you been doing since you left college and your time at ISCG?
Since finishing college in June 2016, I've just come back from a summer in France, having returned to Toulouse for some well earned sunshine with old friends, and shortly I will be commencing a digital marketing graduate program at LinkedIn.
Did ISCG come up in any of your interviews, how did the employer react?
It did actually! In particular in one of the interviews for the role @ LinkedIn, I was asked about my recent efforts to grow my skillset outside of the classroom - at which point my involvement with ISCG became the go-to answer!
My ISCG involvement became relevant in a number of interviews throughout the past year, and I found employers were always more than welcome to hearing of how our consultant members can build tangible experience and skills during their studies, not otherwise learned in the classroom.
What's the most beneficial thing you learned or experienced during your time with ISCG?
Managing the marketing & technology sides of the house within the group, I found helping to grow and develop ISCG as an organisation was a roller-coaster ride in 'Entrepreneurship 101!' Working closely with a really talented team of ambitious students all giving their time to help grow the group, I got a great insight into what life can be like within a startup organisation.
Albeit a social enterprise rather than a for-profit, all lines of the business need to be working together for the group to succeed; from finance to clients, or marketing to operations... Working within the group management team was a complete hands-on experience of what it's like trying to grow a new business!
What skills did you use while working on ISCG projects? Have these come useful since you started your career?
Amongst all the chaos in trying to grow the group and look after so many areas in marketing & tech alone, I quickly realised organisation and the ability to prioritise keys task and actions which have a real impact for the organisation would be critical. It sounds obvious, I know, but it we soon realised it can be very easy to fall into quick decision-making without considering long-term impact, and we wanted to be sure we were consistently pursuing our strategy.
On top of that, as a marketer-techie with essentially no budget, I had no option but to adopt a more creative or 'growth hacker' like approach in helping grow the groups capabilities and image; combining all sorts of online tools and services, from productivity tools to social media managers or email clients and project management platforms, tools one would not typically see working together to create one complete marketing engine... It's kept me on my toes!
Would you recommend current students signing up for ISCG? Why would you recommend it?
Absolutely! It's really simple. For students in any discipline considering working in business or even looking at running their own startup, ISCG helps you learn and directly apply tangible skills on real client projects with considerable impact, as well as growing your professional network through our clients and partners, and having the chance to work with such an incredible bunch of students.
How has ISCG benefited you professionally?
ISCG has equipped me with valuable experience and learnings over the past year which will be of great value as I begin my career post-graduation. From consulting directly on client projects to helping grow the group I've come across a fantastic number of people with whom I'll look forward to crossing paths and working together in the future!
What did you most enjoy about working with ISCG?
Oh good question. I'll actually have to say the chaos of it all, the challenges, the complications, and then just generally figuring out what we'll do next. I was lucky to come into the team when we were growing our numbers and clients considerably, and still are, and this is both exciting and stressful in equal measure. Knowing that your effort is helping grow a social enterprise which is genuinely helping Irish businesses and non-profits, all while being accomplished entirely by students, is just phenomenal, and I'd have to say seeing the group grow year-on-year and the success of our previous client projects as being the ultimate satisfaction of it all.
Any plans for the future?
Getting my head out of the academics for a while, I'll look forward to beginning my new role and returning to the workplace full-time. My various role rotations and building relationships with all my new colleagues will be my number one professional priority for the next while, but hopefully I'll manage to squeeze in some travel or time abroad along the way!