The ‘Student of the Year’ award is a long-established feature on the TBA calendar – it is one mechanism by which the outstanding achievement of Trinity College students in their studies and extracurricular activities is recognised and celebrated. This year’s ceremony was held in the Bank of Ireland House of Lords on Tuesday 22nd March 2012.
Please join us in congratulating Patrick Lynch, who is this year’s TBA Student of the Year.
Below is the speech given by Robert Smyth, outgoing TBA Secretary at the event. You can also view Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College’s speech here.
Bail ó Dhia oraibh, a dhaoine uaisle.
Is mise Robert Smyth agus is mór an onóir domsa a bheith os bhur gcomhair anocht mar iar-Rúnaí Oinigh ar an TBA chun gradam mic léinn ghnó na bliana a bhronnadh. Is iontach an deis é an searmanas anocht chun an talann atá chun teacht as an ollscoil a cheiliúradh. Is ceart agus is cóir a bheith bródúil as an méid atá tuillte ag na hiarrathóirí uilig.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Robert Smyth and I am honoured to introduce the candidates for TBA Business Student of the Year to you this evening as the outgoing Honorary Secretary of the TBA.
The Trinity Business Alumni association was established in 1984. We recently revised our mission statement to describe the TBA as a forum for graduates of Trinity College working in business, regardless of discipline, to connect and network, to learn and to contribute to the development of business, College and wider society. In joining together this evening, we live our mission statement.
The ‘Business Student of the Year’ award is a long-established feature on the TBA calendar – it is one mechanism by which the outstanding achievement of Trinity College students in their studies and extracurricular activities is recognised and celebrated. It was a great privilege for Elaine Forrester (of the Bank of Ireland), Mary O’Donnell (TCD Careers Advisor) and me to conduct the interviews for the award last week. It was, indeed simultaneously enlightening and humbling as we listened to the six candidates describe their achievements to date. We have no doubt in our minds but that each will go on to great things and that they will exceed even their own expectations.
Before I progress to introduce the candidates, I must, on behalf of the TBA, thank those without whom tonight would not have been possible. Firstly, I thank Richie, Elaine, Stephen and all the team at the Bank of Ireland for their continuing sponsorship of this award and for hosting us this evening in these grand surroundings. Even in these challenging times, this continued sponsorship is recognition that we as a country must continue to invest in the leaders of tomorrow – six of whom you will meet shortly.
I wish to thank Dr. Jim Quinn and all the team at the School of Business for their continuing support of this award – the fruits of their world-class tuition was evident in abundance as we interviewed the candidates last week.
On that note I thank my fellow interviewers – Elaine Forrester on behalf of the Bank and Mary O’Donnell on behalf of College and the Careers Advisory Service.
Thank you also to the Provost, Dr. Patrick Prendergast, who tonight presents what we hope will be the first gold medal of many to the recipient of this award. Thank you, Provost, for your support of the Trinity Business Alumni.
And finally… thank you to the students, parents, family members and to all of you for your presence here this evening. The TBA is proud to create this opportunity for what is akin to an ‘extended family gathering’. On that note, I would invite those Trinity graduates here today (and those that are about to graduate) to consider joining the TBA.
And now for the award…
Each of the six candidates will be invited to receive their certificate from the Provost, Dr. Prendergast and Alan Foy, the President of the TBA. I will introduce them in the order in which they were interviewed.
The six candidates were short-listed by Dr. Jim Quinn and the team at the School of Business. Each of the candidates should feel very proud at their nomination for ‘Student of the Year’, an extraordinary accolade in its own right. Each candidate excelled in different ways in the criteria we assessed – their academic records, combined with interpersonal skills, business acumen, extracurricular achievement and leadership ability left us in no doubt but that the future of Ireland is bright in their hands. The expression ‘leaders of tomorrow’ can sometimes be overused. Elaine, Mary and I, however, felt that we were sitting opposite future Taoisigh and CEOs and Society leaders last Wednesday – it was a privilege for each of us.
Please firstly join me in welcoming Conor Campbell. Conor is studying for a joint honours in Business & Economics. A fluent French speaker, Conor spent his Junior Sophister year on exchange in the HEC School of Management in Paris. He has a keen interest in financial markets, particularly in foreign exchange trading – something he developed at an early age when comparing prices north and south of the border. His article on “The effects of the global financial crisis on participants in foreign-exchange markets” was published in the Foresight Business Journal earlier this year. Conor is an active member of the Trinity St. Vincent de Paul Society and in his Senior Freshman year organised (and completed) a hike of the Camino de Santiago, raising €15,000 for the Society’s work in Zambia in the process and undertook weekly visits to a hospital when studying in Paris to talk and play with children suffering from cancer. Conor was instrumental in establishing Trinity’s American Football Club and will join Morgan Stanley upon completion of his undergraduate studies.
Our second candidate is Laura Demery. Laura is studying for a BA in Business and Political Science. Laura has played an active role in College life, in the Business & Economics Society (DUBES), the surfing club and the windsurfing club. Laura embraces the Latin expression ‘Docendo discimus’ – ‘by teaching, we learn’, by running tutoring sessions for her classmates in Management and Financial Accounting. Inspired by the vision of Alice Leahy (former Irish Human Rights Commissioner and Director of the Fr. Peter McVerry Trust), Laura established a new society in Trinity College – ‘Voice for the Voiceless’. Through this new society, Laura established a partnership with the Jobcare Centre on nearby Pearse Street which runs classes and tutorial sessions for the long-term unemployed. She also organised last week’s Homelessness Awareness Week in College. Laura’s paper ‘e-cruitment – People Resourcing in a Technological Age’ was published in this year’s Foresight Business Journal. Laura will take up a position with PricewaterhouseCoopers next autumn. If that wasn’t impressive enough, we were saddened to learn that Laura overcame a serious illness which saw her restart second year and she managed to maintain a first-class honours academic result throughout her time in College.
Our third candidate is Sophie Higgs. Sophie is studying for a Bachelor Degree in Business Studies. An accomplished musician, Sophie has been playing the viola since she was three years old. She is a member of several Dublin orchestras – the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, the Dublin Youth Symphony Orchestra, The Hibernians and Trinity Orchestra. Her music has taken her around the world, from San Francisco… to China… to Electric Picnic! Sophie spent a year on exchange in Babson College, Boston and having returned, became heavily involved in a buddy system for international students in Trinity College – this scheme pairs incoming exchange students with local Trinity students to act as guides and a source of local knowledge. Sophie has a keen entrepreneurial spirit: she took part in the Trinity Entrepreneurship Society’s Dragon’s Den competition last year and hopes to set up her own business when she graduates. On top of these achievements, Sophie has sustained a First Class Honours average in her exam results to date. Please join me in congratulating Sophie on her nomination…
Our fourth candidate is Colum Horan. Colum is studying for a degree in Business and Economics. Colum is immersed in the life of the College. He is the outgoing CEO of the Trinity Student Managed Fund – a group that last year’s winner, Daniel Philbin-Bowman was involved in establishing. Colum leads the 150 member SMF team who collectively manage the €30,000 fund and introduced new initiatives this year – for example he secured several internship programmes from the SMF’s corporate partners. Colum is one of six senior committee members of the Foresight Business Group and has written for ‘The Bull’ financial newspaper. Colum also captained the U21 Rugby Team in College. He will take up work with Pricewaterhouse Coopers in London this coming autumn, where he completed an internship last summer. And on top of all these achievements, Colum has maintained an excellent academic record.
Our fifth candidate is Patrick Lynch. Patrick is studying for a BA in Economics and Business. Patrick too has immersed himself in the life of the College. He has been Treasurer, and subsequently President of the Trinity Investors Society, co-founder and later COO of the Trinity Student Managed Fund and founder of the Intervarsity Spread Trading challenge. At the SMF, Patrick with his colleague Colum led engagement with Trinity Business Alumni. They both spoke at a recent TBA dinner with Michael Geoghegan, the former Global CEO of HSBC. He created the EduClass series to support SMF members in learning their trade. Patrick was a successful campaign manager for a Students’ Union Officer position, has created and run a number of successful business ventures in parallel with his studies and just last month introduced Uachtaráin na hÉireann, Michael D. Higgins as he opened the inaugural Trinity Economic Forum – another group which Patrick co-founded. Patrick ran the Dublin Marathon for Temple Street Children’s Hospital in October 2010 and just last summer climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in aid of Childreach International – an organisation for whom he raised €3,000. Having completed a summer internship last year, he will join Morgan Stanley next autumn.
Last but not least… our sixth candidate is Elena Sugrue. Elena is studying for a Bachelor of Business Studies. Having grown up and studied for most of her life in France, Elena started her studies at Trinity College as an Entrance Exhibitioner. Elena has played an active role in the life of the College – firstly as Assistant Events Officer for DUISS – Trinity’s International Society and later, having returned from a year on exchange in Melbourne, Australia, Events Officer. Elena established a ‘buddy group’ system within the International Students Society to allow international students to network and spend time with other international students in the university. Elena is involved with SIFE – Students in Free Enterprise. She and her team are working on an awareness campaign to lobby supermarkets to reduce food wastage, with a long-term goal to change legislation. Elena rowed with the University Ladies’ Boat Club, sang at the Melbourne Student Union Choir and has had an article published in “The Bull” newspaper. Elena hopes to pursue a career in marketing – she will move to Barcelona to pursue a Master’s Degree in Marketing Strategy next year and hopes to secure an internship with a consumer goods company this summer.
Each of the candidates impressed and wowed us in their own right – we met six leaders last Wednesday and I am delighted for each of them in their achievement.
As each interview drew to a close, I asked each of the six candidates for the best piece of advice that they were ever given. I and my colleagues were struck by a theme here – almost all the advice came from the candidates’ parents. I’ll share the wisdom of our finalists with you, merged into four lessons so as not to embarrass anyone…
The first lesson – have a dream and don’t be afraid of it… one candidate remarked…
- “Don’t leave your dream behind because it seems hard to attain”
The second lesson – on how to run a business…
- “It doesn’t matter what business you have – you need to know who wants your product? Will they pay for it?”
The third lesson – on how to succeed…
- “You get what you deserve”
- “You can fool some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time, but you’ll get caught in the end. Work hard now and you’ll get on well”
Perhaps best summed up as “the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary”!
The fourth lesson – on people…
- “People like to belong”
- “People remember not what you say or what you do, but how you make them feel”
[ to candidates]
Know that tonight you each belong to an exclusive group of TBA Student of the Year Finalists. I doubt that you’ll remember what I said this evening – but I do hope that you and your parents will leave here this evening feeling exceptionally proud of your nomination.