Alison Stapleton’s Business Journey, from DCU Business School to NYC.
Alison Stapleton, Business Operations Manager at DailyPay & graduate of DCU Business School tells us about her experience of the Bachelor in Business Studies and how it has impacted her career since.
Why did you choose the Bachelor of Business Studies programme?
I always knew that I wanted to pursue a course in the business field. At the age of 17, when completing your CAO, it is so difficult to determine what your longer-term goals are and what degree will best set you up for those goals. I felt business was a marketable and versatile area of study that would provide me with real-world skills that employers seek and would be a great grounding for further education should I have wished.
The most difficult part of my CAO process was deciding where to study. Ireland is truly unique to have such a wealth of amazing universities so selecting the best across a range of seemingly similar parameters wasn’t easy. My parents were so supportive during the process and they connected me with friends of theirs who were immersed in the business world and could speak to what would prepare me for a variety of careers in a variety of settings. Time and time again DCU’s Bachelor of Business Studies programme kept arising in conversation. After researching more, DCU’s focus on innovation and the practical application of skills being taught really resonated with me and I knew it was the course that would best set me up for success.
What was your favourite part of the course?
It’s hard to identify one favourite element, but one area that actually wasn’t a reason for me choosing DCU, but I have benefited immensely from, is how globally and diversely focused the university is. From a recognition standpoint, DCU Business School is accredited by high-quality international associations.
The course itself is really dynamic with many modules having a global focus of forms. From a classmate perspective, I had many opportunities to work across projects with teammates of diverse backgrounds from around the world. I think DCUs’ strong emphasis on global business is so incredibly important in the world that we live in now to prepare students to succeed in a diverse working environment and world.
In every professional experience since DCU, I’ve worked with international teams or stakeholders across the globe. The organization I work at now, DailyPay, actually has a value which we hold very close to our hearts ‘We Win With Diversity’. DailyPay lives by that value, not just because it’s the right thing to do but also because diversity of background, experience, views, and so on, is how an organization builds a sustainable business.
I feel so fortunate to have witnessed first hand, from my education and experiences at DCU, how important diversity is within business. I couldn’t recommend the course more if you want a diverse grounding and global exposure.
Can you tell us about your INTRA placement?
I went to PwC for my INTRA placement, where I was within the Assurance department, working on audits of some of the largest asset management companies and funds in the world. I remember so clearly on my first day at PwC the Managing Partner, Feargal O’Rourke spoke to us and noted the value of having an organization like PwC on your resume.
At the time I was inspired by his speech but didn’t really understand the weighting that that particular statement held. INTRA provides students with the opportunity to engage with some of the most notable employers of the world, to apply some of the skills and learnings of the previous 2 years in practice and foster professional relationships. Having that experience as you walk into future interviews, being able to lean on those relationships for advice, and gaining corporate confidence, is tremendously rewarding and valuable.
I really loved PwC. I was lucky to work across some amazing audit teams, and the project style approach to audits means you become incredibly agile and have the chance to transfer skills and knowledge from one audit to another, while picking up new competencies and making new friends along the way. Everyone at the firm is so welcoming and engaged in the success of INTRA students at the firm, and I had the opportunity to speak in meetings with Partners, work closely with my Managers and Directors, and seek more challenging and exciting opportunities as I progressed through my placement.
What have you been up to since you graduated?
After graduating from DCU Business School I joined Bank of Ireland where I was a Management Associate in their Global Markets division. Global Markets was such an exciting department to be a part of, it is Ireland’s leading treasury services provider and is also responsible for managing the interest rate and foreign exchange exposures of the Group, so it is a really an integral part of the success of BoI for both shareholders and clients. I was on the Money Markets desk where I worked between the Liquidity and Euro teams. In a nutshell, I was doing intraday liquidity management and optimizing interest rate risk across our book.
I joined the bank at a really unique time, from a range of global market uncertainties making every day different, to a number of changes across the bank to drive culture, build on the brand, and promote transparency. I absolutely loved each and every experience I had with BoI. I was blessed with amazing leadership who provided me with the freedom to work across projects outside of my day-to-day job, supported my interests and developed my knowledge to levels I couldn’t have anticipated. The team encourages you to think outside the box, helps you build relationships across the bank, and up-levels your skills and strengths.
Even though I was really enjoying my time at the bank, I decided to take an opportunity that unexpectedly arose to move to New York a year after graduating. With the incredible support of my Managers at Bank of Ireland, I packed my bags and came over not really knowing what to expect and definitely not anticipating to stay for the length of time I have!
But New York can really absorb you if you seek the many opportunities it can offer. Since being in New York, I’ve worked at an organization called DailyPay. I am currently working within the Strategic Business Operations team at DailyPay and it’s so terrific. The growth I have been able to be a part of at DailyPay is second to none. It’s so exciting to be at the center of an industry that is redefining how and when people get paid, and to witness first hand the amazing impact of that across America for employees and employers. Within my role, I get to work really closely with our Executive team, helping to define strategy, deploy operational improvements, and work on agile and cross-functional challenges. I really feel lucky to be able to have such an impactful and dynamic role and be supported by an amazing team.
I can’t believe how recent it still is that I graduated from DCU, but it really is the incredible grounding, support and superior education that has allowed me to grasp such great opportunities since graduating.
What’s your advice for anyone considering the Bachelor of Business Studies degree this year?
My number one piece of advice is to apply! You won’t regret it. The Bachelor of Business Studies at DCU is an amazing degree that will set you up for success. You’ll get a world-renowned education, have amazing supporters and lecturers, and have a lot of fun along the way!
Beyond that, I would recommend leveraging the network that DCU avails to you. The lecturers and Business School leaders are among the most generous people that you will meet. If you have any questions or concerns they’re there to talk through options and opportunities with you. Dr. Siobhan McGovern was the Programme Director during my time at DCU, and whether I had a question on a Friday evening or a melt down during exams, I knew I could always reach out and receive honest and transparent advice.
Try to absorb the atmosphere that DCU offers (as much as you can in COVID times!). Walk around the campus if safe to do so. Explore the clubs and societies. Read about the course structure and what each of the modules cover to gauge your true interest in what you’ll be learning. Ask friends (or reach out to me!) about the experience, the learning style, the opportunities, and more.
It may seem daunting at first, trying to explore colleges while doing final exams and enjoying your last year of school, but it’s one of the most exciting stages of life. So enjoy it when you can and remember it’ll all work out in the end!
Find out more about DCU Business School’s Bachelor of Business Studies here: business.dcu.ie/course/bachelor-of-business-studies/
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