Marketing Innovation & Technology – Grainne Byrne’s Graduate Story
Grainne Byrne recently graduated from Marketing Innovation & Technology here at DCU Business School, and is currently working with Heineken Ireland. We spoke to Grainne about studying MInT, her INTRA and the opportunities that opened up for her.
By the time the majority of DCU Business School students are in final year, they have completed a 6-12 month paid work placement. This is really significant for a lot of undergraduates as they have already managed to gain valuable experience, work alongside veterans of the trade and ultimately gauge what type of working life suits them best.
The university facilitates this head-start via their INTRA programme, which is where my story began working for Bank of Ireland’s Corporate & Treasury Division. I did my ‘Erasmus’ year in their Ballsbridge HQ (Dublin’s southside was a totally different country to me at the time), and then I was extremely fortunate to be offered a dynamic secondment opportunity to their US offices in Connecticut and New York. Bear in mind that I had never previously considered myself a ‘banky’ person, but because I was given the freedom to get involved in a range of innovative projects such as the inaugural National Student FX Trade Off Competition, I owe it to the bank and my mentors there for opening my eyes and helping me to challenge myself.
When I returned to complete my final year of the BSc. in Marketing, Innovation & Technology, I wanted to make sure that I had a visually creative outlet and so I headed up the media production side of the Irish Student Entrepreneurship Forum (ISEF). ISEF is a non-profit student led initiative which supports student startups in connecting with other students, companies and investors. In addition to ISEF, my main objective during this year was to strengthen and scale Speakeasy; the public speaking and communications society that I had launched in second year with my two good friends Michael Akingbade and Éamon Cullen.
The reason we set Speakeasy up was because we wanted to give others the chance to become more confident speakers in a relaxed, fun and non-judgemental environment. We also wanted to give students the option to enter competitions that we ourselves would enter. This eventually spawned two national competitions in 2019; YAP Ireland – the first student podcast competition in the country sponsored by Newstalk, Off the Ball & EY, and the BESK – the first intervarsity best student speaker competition sponsored by Accenture. DCU’s Clubs and Societies office have always been instrumental in supporting our initiatives – no matter how wildly ambitious our pitches are! I’m still chatting with the society’s new committee regularly and we plan on connecting recent Speakeasy alumni with current members via the development of an official mentorship/community network.
My current role in Heineken Ireland is based between the CMI (Consumer & Market Intelligence) function and the Cider Brand Team, on their Graduate Internship Programme. Funnily enough, my summer job during college involved in-depth grain quality analysis during the harvest season, so knowing the back end operations of the supply chain made me feel quite close to the business already. It’s been a steep yet enjoyable learning curve in FMCG land, and I am really impressed at how such a large company approaches and tackles trends such as sustainability and media fragmentation.
In terms of the future I think that whether it be client, agency or consultancy side (or self employment!), at home or abroad, I’ll stick to the motto; ‘take your work seriously, but never yourself’.
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