Carving out your own Path – John Buckley’s Graduate Story
John Buckley, a recent Bachelor of Business Studies graduate from Dublin City University, is currently working in a fast-growing start-up agency called Modo25. The company is located in Leeds, UK. We talk to him about his career, how his job search was a little non-conventional, life at Modo25 and what advice he would have for anyone who is graduating next year.
How did you end up at Modo25?
During my final year at DCU when I was studying Bachelor of Business Studies, I wasn’t entirely sure about what I wanted to do afterwards. All I knew was that I wanted to work abroad and I wanted to work somewhere fast-paced and progressive, where I could get ahead and make an impact as a result of my contribution. One of the things I did to maximise my chances of working abroad was to apply for many of the graduate programs that offered an opportunity to work abroad. I was also prepared to be broad in my search for employment and to find out what kinds of jobs were out there.
During the time I was interviewing for graduate programmes, my friend asked me if I wanted to go to London for an event on AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning. I said yes to going because I thought I might learn something new and it would be my first visit to London.
Whilst we were unable to get to tickets to the event, we had already booked our flights to London. We still went along to the event and, through some connections we had already made, the host of the event offered to introduce us to some of the attendees, as well as show us around London.
This is where I met John Readman, the CEO and founder of Modo25. We got talking and he asked me what my plan was for after I finished university. I told him I was looking for a graduate position and I was considering moving to the UK or USA.
John told me that he was starting a new agency and that he was currently recruiting. Once back home we arranged a time for me to fly over to Leeds for an interview, where I would meet the rest of the team and give a presentation. I was successful because John thought I was a good fit for Modo25 and Modo25 was a good fit for me.
I didn’t go to the AI event because I thought it would get me a job, but I was open to finding out more about an area I was interested in and seeing if it could give me ideas about the range of jobs that were out there. Above all, I have a real interest in talking to people because you can always learn something new and make good connections and that can provide you with opportunities. I hope that’s also going to make me great at my new job too.
What is Modo25 and what is your role in the company?
Modo25 is a digital marketing agency. It works with large companies to help manage their digital offering and to improve their overall online customer experience.
What separates Modo25 from traditional marketing agencies is that it encourages clients to inhouse and insource their digital marketing. This involves working with our clients to provide training and education for their teams to allow them to be self-sufficient in the relevant areas, based on their needs. We then continue to work with them to provide strategic direction and insight.
My role in Modo25 is as a digital marketing consultant. I look after customer acquisition, this is where I work on the roll out of our marketing plan and identify potential clients that we can help.
I manage the different social platforms of the company and help communicate our message to clients, potential employees and partners. With Modo25 being a start-up, I also do a lot of other tasks. As anyone who has ever worked in an SME before would know, you do a bit of everything on top of your core responsibilities, but it’s a great way to learn and I feel very fortunate to be involved in a company right from the start.
What makes Modo25 different?
There is a unique work culture within Modo25. The emphasis is on putting people first. Many of the senior people within Modo25 have seen organisations treat employees as an afterthought and wanted to do things a bit differently. This is evident with everything that the company does. For example, there is a four-day workweek in the company, because we believe giving people the extra day to do the things that they want to do will make them more efficient and happier overall. Many people forget that you work to live not live to work.
There is a high focus in education and training within Modo25. The CEO of the company believes that your role should grow alongside your own personal development. All of the team within Modo25 are sent on training courses both in-person and online and given many opportunities to learn. With just 2 months working here, I have already experienced the company double in size to and learnt so much along the way.
We also have a very special member within Modo25. Her name is Roxy and she is a Labrador puppy who is very adorable! She brightens up the office and makes it livelier. She is about 20 weeks old and growing like the rate in which Modo25 is growing.
What advice would you have for current students and recent graduates?
The advice that I wish I knew a year ago is, that there are so many other options out there and with a bit of effort you can find a career that you are interested in. We live in a very interconnected world and chances are that there is someone you know or a friend of a friend doing the line of work in which you would like to get into. The career service within DCU is also very good at advising people on their options and great at giving advice.
I would have told my past self not to worry as much. There is an incredible amount of pressure put on graduates to find a career straight after university. Taking a couple of months to do a bit of travelling or to evaluate your options will not do any harm. The chances are that you will working until you are 68 years old so taking a bit of extra time after university will not have any impact on your career.
My last piece of advice is just to jump straight in. With all the options out there for careers it can be easy to get stuck. Many students especially business students can experience analysis paralysis, this is where they become overwhelmed with all of the different paths. You should treat every career step as a steppingstone. Each move you make will hopefully get you to your dream job, that could be CEO of a large company or being self-employed. The more experiences that you have the more you will know what you do and don’t like to do.
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