Why there are plenty of job opportunities in Ireland

Now that the United Kingdom has officially left the European Union, Ireland is the only native English-speaking country in the bloc.

We spoke to Mark Davies, MBA Careers Manager at Ireland’s UCD Smurfit, to find out about the job prospects for MBA graduates in Ireland.

Mark Davis believes Ireland’s newfound status is starting to attract more international students to the country.

“I think particularly with Brexit, some students are attracted by the fact they can still study in Europe but do so in an English-speaking country,” he says. “The fact that it’s English-speaking [means] there are great opportunities if you have a second language – particularly a second European language – but it’s perfectly possible to get a job here if you don’t.” (02:12)

He adds, “I think with an MBA – depending on your background and your interests – there are a lot of potential opportunities out there for you [in Ireland].” (10:03)

Top industries for MBA graduates in Ireland

Ireland is a huge tech hub in Europe, housing the European headquarters of tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple. But there’s more to Ireland’s tech sector than these big names. Growing companies such as Workday and Stripe all have bases in Ireland, making tech an enduringly popular industry for Smurfit’s MBA graduates.

“[The tech industry] is a big source of opportunities for our students, and normally about a third of them go into the sector every year,” he tells us. (00:19)

“The tech sector is changing very quickly so the sources of opportunities change from year to year. I think that’s one of the exciting things about working and studying in Dublin.” (11:00)

Consulting has long been a popular area for MBA graduates to move into, and UCD Smurfit is no different. Mark says it is the next biggest industry for their graduates.

He says, “[There are] a lot of opportunities in consulting, so all of the big four hire a lot from our school – we would normally have about 30 of the class going into consulting as well.” (01:16)

Why the Irish job market has stayed resilient during COVID

Although Ireland has been under one of the strictest lockdowns in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark says that the Irish economy has remained resilient. He attributes this to the continued growth of the tech industry in the country.

“We actually saw an upturn in job offers accepted,” he reveals. “That’s partly because a lot of the firms based here either have not been affected by COVID or have actually profited from it. So if you take some of those fintech payment firms, for example, they’re growing because of COVID.” (17:11)

So what can you expect in terms of salary as an MBA graduate in Ireland? It’s a situation that’s dependent on both your own level of experience and the industry that you’re targeting.

“Just look at last year,” Mark explains. “I think the average post-MBA salary for the full-time program was €70,000. But my caveat with that is that it masks a very wide range of salaries. So if you’re coming in with three years of work experience, then maybe your salary is going to be on the lower end of the scale.” (11:16)

“However, if you have many years [of] experience and it’s within an industry that is big and growing in Ireland, then clearly your salary is going to be much higher than the average.” (11:46)

Although the chance to study in an English-speaking country is an obvious attraction for students, it’s clear that there’s much more to Ireland as a study destination besides the language. With competitive post-MBA salaries, a high quality of life, and a resilient job market in the face of COVID-19, an MBA from UCD Smurfit could be your ticket to a successful career in Ireland.