PwC helped Alana McMahon relocate to Sydney so she could see the world. Years later, the company welcomed her back to Dublin with open arms.
After the bottom fell out of the Celtic Tiger, many of our best and brightest were forced to go further afield for opportunities.
The economy has begun to turn for the better in recent times and, with it, many of the young people who left during the crash are now returning to Ireland.
Alana McMahon is one of those people. She started with PwC’s graduate programme in 2008 and, after many fulfilling years with the firm, she elected to fly across the world to live in Sydney.
PwC played an important role in facilitating McMahon to follow her wildest dreams.
Now, having returned to Ireland to be closer to family, McMahon tells us of her role as a senior manager in advisory consulting at the company’s Dublin offices, and how her experience abroad enriched her career.
Where are you from?
I am from Dublin, Ireland.
When did you decide to emigrate and why?
I decided to emigrate back in January 2013. I wanted to emigrate for several reasons: to gain international experience, to work on larger healthcare transformation projects, to travel and to live in a warmer climate.
Where did you emigrate to and for how long were you gone?
I emigrated to Sydney, Australia, for nearly four years.
What made you want to/decide to come back?
It was a difficult decision to return to Ireland as the outdoor lifestyle in Sydney is incredible, but the main reason I decided to come back was to be closer to family.
How did your current role come about?
I started as a graduate with PwC Dublin back in 2008 and worked there for over four years before deciding to emigrate.
PwC helped secure me a transfer to its Sydney office and I signed up for a two-year contract (which I eventually extended to four years).
Upon returning to Ireland, I met with the partners in the Dublin office to discuss rejoining the Irish firm.
What work do you do?
I work as a technology consultant, specialising in project management, innovative IT solutions, performance improvement and process redesign for healthcare organisations.
What do you like most about your job?
I love that I have been given excellent support from the firm to specialise in an industry I am passionate about.
The firm have supported me from the very beginning with pursuing an interest in the healthcare industry by encouraging me to do further studies in health informatics and assisting with the transfer to the health consulting team in the Sydney office.
I enjoy the freedom of being able to work on projects I enjoy, and working with highly skilled and motivated people every day.
How did PwC make it easier for you to move back?
I kept in touch with the partners while I was away in Sydney, and they were always very positive with their communications. When I eventually moved home, the partners were very welcoming.
The consulting side of the firm had grown significantly during the four years I was gone, and there were a lot of interesting large projects happening.
Rejoining the Irish firm made the move home easier as there was plenty of familiar friendly faces still on the team from when I had left.
How did your time working abroad make you better suited for your job, if at all?
Working abroad is a decision I will never regret. It gave me the opportunity to become more independent and experience a new way of life, and took me out of my comfort zone.
Health technology in Australia is quite advanced in comparison to Ireland, so I was able to take my learnings from the Australian healthcare system back to Ireland to benefit the projects I am working on here.
I have also increased my global PwC network, which has allowed me to easily connect with other territories to access information to benefit my clients.
What is the best thing about being back in Ireland?
Leaving Ireland for a while definitely makes you appreciate everything that Ireland has to offer – being close to family and friends, the close proximity to Europe and the US, and not having to worry about sharks, jellyfish, spiders, snakes and crocs every time you leave the house!