A young man with coiffed, dark hair in a powder blue shirt standing in front of a grassy knoll.
Rory O’Riordan, graduate business intelligence analyst at eShopWorld. Image: eShopWorld

Why smaller companies can have the best graduate opportunities

29 Aug 2018

Have you considered the merits of a graduate programme with a smaller, newer company? We spoke to graduate business intelligence analyst Rory O’Riordan about his experience with e-commerce firm eShopWorld.

When applying to graduate programmes, you will instantly think of large enterprises with high brand recognition. These established firms probably seem like an extremely good bet for your career development.

But are you neglecting the unique benefits of joining a newer, smaller firm? Rory O’Riordan, a graduate business intelligence analyst at eShopWorld, certainly didn’t.

He found that because eShopWorld is smaller and newer, he had more direct access to his seniors and greater opportunity to take on responsibility.

The company’s approach is also fresher and more cutting-edge than more established firms might be, O’Riordan explained. We chatted to him about his interest in business intelligence in an e-commerce setting and how eShopWorld prepared him for an illustrious career.

What did you study in college?

I did an undergraduate in economics and computer science before doing a master’s in information systems for business performance, both at University College Cork.

With this programme, are you now working in your desired industry?

Yes, I always had an interest in e-commerce. Since a large amount of the coursework from my master’s was data-oriented, I was looking to move into an industry where data is a significant contributing factor to success of the business. E-commerce is an area in which data can be exploited so aptly – eShopWorld does this well. There are so many angles to use data to support the business.

What drew you to eShopWorld when you were seeking work as a graduate?

I was interested in getting into the area of business intelligence (BI) within e-commerce, so when I came across the position at eShopWorld I was delighted.

I did some research on the company. It was presented as a relatively new organisation heading in the right direction. It seemed to have a hectic but exciting environment. This, and my interest in BI, really drew me to eShopWorld.

What expectations did you have before you began the programme?

I was aware that in newer companies, you might be handed a greater workload and more responsibility. The busy environment is something I expected; however, I didn’t realise the amount of freedom you are given to put your stamp on the work you do.

What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?

Coming in as a graduate BI analyst, the first few weeks involved getting used to the tools we use. I spent time getting my SQL up to scratch and familiarising myself with the data.

When I was comfortable, I started working on easier requests before moving on to more complex tasks.

Did the scope of your work change as the programme progressed?

As the months progressed, I was handed more responsibility. When a member of the team left, I was the main point of contact for BI reports.

This was an opportunity for me to really develop my skills as a BI analyst. I was dealing with requests from so many departments, so I was getting experience dealing with all parts of the business.

‘eShopWorld is still in its early stages, so you are handed a greater amount of responsibility than you would be at a larger company’

Can you describe a typical day in your role?

A typical day begins by looking at the ticket queue and emails, and seeing what requests have come in from the business. I could spend a few hours throughout the day working on a number of requests.

In BI, there are regular team meetings to go through the team’s current project, identify blockers, discuss requests and concerns etc. During this time, we also schedule extra meetings between ourselves if required.

Depending on the workload at hand, there may be a meeting with members from different departments to report requirements.

How do your responsibilities compare to more experienced employees’?

The more experienced members of the team work with more advanced tools. They are delivering outputs that are admittedly more exciting, but this helps me set a target of where I want to be further down the line and what tools I want to learn.

Do you feel more prepared for working life after completing this programme?

Yeah, definitely. I have actually moved to America on a graduate visa and I feel eShopWorld provided me with a great stepping stone in my career. It has been a wonderful learning curve overall.

The company is going through exciting times. The responsibility and workload I encountered during my time here has been invaluable. Prior to working here, my knowledge of e-commerce would have only scratched the surface.

I was oblivious to some of the intricacies and challenges involved. However, I have become more aware and appreciative of the operations associated with cross-border e-commerce and am far more confident of landing a role in e-commerce in the future.

Also, my BI acumen has improved significantly from what it was at college. Overall, I feel more confident and prepared for work across the pond.

Why should someone apply to the graduate programme at this company?

eShopWorld is an ambitious company heading in the right direction. The company deals with some big household names and it is progressing along nicely. It is still in its early stages, so you are handed a greater amount of responsibility than you would be at a larger company. You are able to put your own twist on things here, and the work you do is valued. You are surrounded with talented people, so it’s a great place to learn and develop.

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