STUDENT IMPACT: STUART’S STORY
Over the course of my four-year degree, I was heavily active in Enactus Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). Starting out, my role was to lead communications as our dedicated Public Relations Officer. I utilised this opportunity to apply the theory I was learning day-to-day doing a marketing course through social media and web design. Enactus projects enabled me to apply strategy and communication theory on a small scale while giving back to the community.
As time went on, I took on more project management roles across community-focused initiatives. My involvement with Enactus gave me a deeply rewarding opportunity to gain professional skills before ever graduating. The last project I worked on before graduating was a skills-based workshop for members of the travelling community where they were comfortable enough to talk openly about their mental health. The suicide rate for Traveller men is seven times higher than settled men. This weekly workshop taught traveller men how to build pieces of home and garden furniture that was then sold to invest in professional mental health services for attendees.
No other college experience allows third level students to run their own enterprise, give back to the community and develop their professional skills like Enactus does. By the time I had graduated in mid-2017, I had project managed four community outreach projects, presented numerous times in front of business leaders and represented my country and college on the global stage at the Enactus World Cup in Toronto.
Students taking part in the Enactus Ireland programme take an entrepreneurial approach to solving social issues and help build enterprises that are sustainable & beneficial to society. They learn early on that grit and dedication to something bigger than themselves can make college a much more fulfilling experience.
It’s rare that a business degree will explore social issues and injustices happening locally. Through a number of Enactus projects, my eyes were truly opened up to issues such as suicide amongst members of the travelling community and employability concerns of those living with intellectual disabilities.
Two weeks after finishing my degree in May 2017, I started my new role as a Digital Marketing Executive for KPMG in Ireland. Having managed my final year studies, dissertation, two Enactus DIT social enterprises and a part-time marketing job for over a year, I was relatively prepared to handle the transition into this busy work environment. Imagine my relief when I had these things called “weekends”.
Working as part of Ireland’s largest professional services firm demands the attention to detail expected by clients. With over 2,900 professionals across five in Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Galway, KPMG footprint in Ireland is sizeable, to say the least. It’s also the largest recruiter of graduates in Ireland. Working across internal and external communications, digital and print advertising, sponsorships and much more, the breadth of experience I’ve received so far will stand to me for the rest of my career.
As I write this, I’m working on things like the national 20x20 campaign for increased coverage and participation in women’s sports, three large golf sponsorships, Pride festivities and KPMG’s citizenship activities. The level of autonomy entrusted in me to complete important tasks on my own furthers my resolve to develop professionally.
The Enactus Ireland programme prepared me for project management, the complexity of business and displaying leadership. It also gave me a chance to step outside my course curriculum. One of the benefits of college life is that you are challenged both academically and personally. But applying business concepts on a small scale, constantly upskilling and caring about your community is something the modern graduate has to concern themselves with to stand out from the crowd.
It has certainly broadened my experience and expertise and has added a practical aspect to my academic qualifications. I’m proud to be an Enactus Ireland alumnus and I would encourage any student in any discipline to get involved and join the enthralling Enactus Ireland programme.