Cian O'Dowd: From Griffith College to Yale

Cian O'Dowd

While writing this article I am sitting in the hallowed halls of Sterling Memorial Library, a chapel-like Gothic revival building which lays in the centre of Yale University’s Old Campus. As my time at Yale draws to a close I am now reflecting on my own journey to this place, a journey that started at Griffith College Dublin. On a rainy Monday in August 2011 I came to Griffith College to meet Ronan Fenelon, Director of the Law School of Griffith College Dublin. My Griffith journey first started thanks to a fortunate introduction to Griffith Founder and President Professor Diarmuid Hegarty. At the time, my experience in education had been disappointing. At Griffith, I met a faculty which was energetic, supportive and ready to support my career ambitions. Meeting Ronan I talked about where I was, where I wanted to go and how with Griffith I could get there. I immediately applied to the Business & Law degree at Griffith. 

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Over the next three years at Griffith College, I flourished thanks to the school’s remarkable faculty and vibrant community. From my first week in Griffith, I was studying Constitutional Law, Tort Law, and Contract Law. Our remarkably talented faculty challenged us with complex cases which increased my understanding of the world around me. A huge element of our education was networking, extra-curricular activities, and external competitions. Griffith College Law School is one of Ireland’s leading centres of legal education and we competed against the likes of Trinity Law and UCD Sutherland Law in moot court and debating competitions. In the later stages of my time at Griffith, I was elected as Academic Officer at the Griffith Law Society and was responsible for attracting leading legal figures to our school. I found the analytical and research skills I obtained during my degree had vast application beyond the legal sphere and enriched my career skill set. While attending classes in the Business School, I found Griffith’s business faculty particularly impressive in accountancy which is reflected in its status as an ACCA Platinum School. In 2013 I had the opportunity of travelling to China to visit Griffith’s partner universities in Changsha and Hebei, the trip was transformative for me and highlighted the strong international links Griffith has built.

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Thanks to my well-rounded education at Griffith I achieved a highly competitive GMAT score and subsequently secured a scholarship to the International MBA program at Renmin, The People’s University of China in Beijing. In 2016, the Renmin MBA is ranked 34th in the world by The Financial Times. After a year of learning, travel and exploration I was chosen by Renmin to apply for the Yale Master of Advanced Management (MAM) program, which is the world’s first post-MBA degree. After several months of intense vetting, I was fortunate enough to secure admission and a scholarship to Yale. During my time at the Yale School of Management, I began to realise how well Griffith had equipped me. My legal education significantly helped when conducting corporate consulting and academic research. Reflecting Griffith’s strong global reputation in law I was able to attend law school classes at Yale Law School. My experience in moot court and debating stood by me when giving presentations and investor pitches.

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Starting July 2016 I will relocate to Saint Lucia in the Caribbean to work on an exciting new technology venture, which my experience at Griffith College was crucial in helping me secure the role.

I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to Professor Hegarty and the entire team at Griffith for their remarkable support. For those of you considering Griffith, I highly encourage you to contact the team and visit the campus. You’ll find a school filled with energy and creativity which can help you take the next steps in your career.

Cian O’Dowd
Griffith College Graduate ‘14
Renmin MBA Graduate ‘16
Yale MAM Graduate ‘16

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