A novel approach is being taken to producing more rounded technology graduates at University College Cork. While students who sign up to one of the most popular courses, Business Information Systems (BIS), on the Cork campus are expected to have a practical approach to combining technology and business, the arts and sports are not neglected either.
Recently the BIS programme paid tribute to some of its more successful students in the world of sport and also launched its eight annual Anthology filled with creative outputs from students.
The degree programme has a proven track record of producing graduates with a well-balanced blend of business and information systems skills. The objective of the BIS four-year degree programme is to produce highly skilled professionals who understand how to exploit leading-edge technology in a global business environment and who are capable of developing, implementing and managing information systems in business organisations.
According to professor Ciaran Murphy, founder and head of the BIS programme, “BIS was formed with a view to creating well-rounded individuals who could appreciate technology but who could also appreciate the business requirement from technology.
“We believe that the experience students have when they are with us is as important as anything that they learn,” says Murphy. “A lot of our students come to us with a lot of creative talent, interests and ability. We felt it would be absolutely terrible if they couldn’t find a way of expressing themselves while doing the BIS course.”
These talents may be what differentiate students from others when they are looking for a job, he believes. A key feature of the programme is a six-month work experience placement at the end of the third year either in Ireland, the US or in the UK.
The Anthology is sent out to companies and Murphy notes, “We’ve had situations in the past where companies have only shortlisted students for interview who have had something that appeared in the Anthology.”
BIS graduates tend to have good communication skills as a result. “Getting them to express themselves in a forum other than just technology helps them in terms of developing their communications ability.”
BIS graduates go on to IT or analyst roles in services companies, consulting companies and so on. Creative talent is in such low supply in business that graduates who have this sort of interest then are of interest to prospective employers.
“That is something that companies will kill for.” In addition, if a company takes on a sportsperson they know that they have recruited a high-performing individual. If the sport is a team sport then they know they are taking on a good team player.”
Being involved in sport is supported and encouraged by the BIS programme for two reasons: “It’s a tactical manifestation of having a balanced lifestyle. It’s important that you’re not just studying and then socialising, that you try to do something else that’s good for you.
“The other thing is excellence. It’s important to recognise different forms of excellence. Achieving excellence is something that should be cherished.”
By Elaine Larkin