The trip is over, and my fall term is starting at Pitt. These past two weeks in Ireland have gone by so quickly and I am so grateful for the opportunity I received.
Yes, I’ve traveled before, but this program was completely different. Never before had I stayed in a place for two weeks straight. I immersed myself in Ireland and its culture to learn as much as I could from such a unique place.
Our company visits were helpful in understanding how European businesses function. Also, I learned how businesses can solve solutions differently because of their cultural perspectives. For example, The Irish Times has reinvented their company by establishing re-education centers to re-educate the Irish community for the influx of new, technological development. Ireland has been growing because of its new corporate tax policies in the Docklands area. Therefore, Ireland’s culture has been changing rapidly to focus itself on its new, service-oriented economy. Re-education has become a critical tool to keep the Irish people involved in their new economy to ensure they are employed and that their jobs are not being overtaken by immigrants.
The Irish Times and other organizations are offering re-education at low costs to keep their culture booming alongside their technological development.
I witnessed many concepts I learned in Managing in Complex Environments and used them in my final paper and presentation for the class. I want to improve my analysis skills for next time. I should have researched more information to strengthen my core concepts discussed in the presentation. The small details really matter, and I missed a few that could have made the presentation more effective.
In the Docklands area, I could see how companies are trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Not only are they trying to differentiate as a firm, but they are also re-designing their workplace and how employees interact with coworkers, their managers, their teams and the company itself.
Many businesses are trying to accomplish the same thing; they want a unique work environment that is collaborative and is centered around the sole mission of the company. For example, Airbnb is sectioned into teams and teammates rotate where they sit each day. There are no personal desks and teammates much switch seats and interact with new people each day. At Microsoft, their facility is built so that different sectors of the company (engineers and sales representatives) can easily interact with each other to learn from each other. Also, the building is focused on transparency, and most of the building has glass walls dividing the sectors of the company.
Each company is generally doing the same thing in regards to their work environment, but they each have a slight change to differentiate them from their competitors.
Ireland’s culture fits perfectly into today’s changing environment because of their friendly personalities and their emphasis on personal relationships. In Ireland, personal relationships are extremely important in creating a business relationship. People get to know how exactly they are doing business with instead of just making transactions with strangers. I really enjoyed how friendly people are and how laid back the community is. There are set goals, and there is a lot of productivity that happens in firms, but the atmosphere is more relaxed than in the United States. I felt more calm and relaxed in business environments that are still constantly coming out with new innovations.
In Ireland, some of the guest speakers were a hit or miss. I really enjoyed Derek Reilly, who talked about JCI, a global leadership program. Also, our professor, Mr. Darren Kelly, was phenomenal and gave the group so much to reflect on in terms of how businesses and mindsets affect society. He was very knowledgeable about history as well and gave us an awesome tour of the Docklands by showing us pictures of the pre-Celtic Tiger era before actually venturing through the area. Finally, I enjoyed Mr. Stephen Dillion who gave us a perspective of entrepreneurship in Ireland. Dublin has similar problems with retaining start-ups in comparison to Pittsburgh. There are endless amounts of seed money to start a new company, but there are no intermediate donors for businesses who aren’t quite considered brand new and aren’t quite fully functioning firms in the market.
Apart from all of the Business aspects of Dublin, I really enjoyed the sightseeing and tourism we did do around the country. The Cliffs of Moher are some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen, and the rolling hills of rural Ireland are so unique. I would love to come back to Ireland to go backpacking and explore what Ireland’s natural environment is like. I enjoyed the town of Glendalough as it showed the small-town history and culture of Ireland. Most of the population does not live in Dublin and still live in their rural and relationship driven societies.
The trip was amazing and if I could, I would do it all over again. Thank you to Brad, Dr. Lada, the CAPA organization, and Pitt Business for making the experience what it was. I can’t wait to go on more study abroad experiences with Pitt. Signing off for now, This has been James Boston with the Woodcock Global Honors Fellowship. Catch you on the next trip.