Why I Picked My Masters: Eoghan O’Keeffe

E Commerce Masters in DCU Ireland

What is your current area of study?

I am currently studying an MSc in E-commerce at Dublin City University. It’s a full-time degree, spread out over 3 academic semesters which focuses on providing students with an in-depth understanding of the processes underpinning an e-commerce organisation and the trends in the sector. It involves 8 modules spread out over the first two semesters and a practicum project over the summer semester.

What previous qualifications have you obtained?

I graduated last year from University College Dublin after studying the Commerce International degree at the Quinn school of business. Alongside my business studies, I spent a 4 years studying German and another year studying Spanish! Luckily enough I got to spend a year on Erasmus in Germany in the small little Bavarian city of Regensburg – it was the best year of my life! I couldn’t recommend Commerce International enough, it’s a tough degree but well worth it in the end. The Quinn school of business is a beautiful building too with lots of excellent facilities to ensure that students have the perfect surroundings to study in!

Eoghan graduated in 2020 from UCD.

What made you decide to pursue a postgraduate course?

I really had no interest in jumping straight into a master’s degree after I finished my undergraduate degree – I was lucky enough to have secured a place on the Dublin Airport Authority’s (DAA) graduate programme for September 2020. I had completed numerous interview rounds before I was offered the job at the end of February 2020. Little did I know that a few weeks later, Covid-19 would hit Ireland and essentially put a thriving aviation industry into hibernation. Unfortunately, this meant that the DAA were unable to hire their new graduates for 2020 and while it was understandable it was still extremely disappointing. With very little job prospects and pretty much no option to emigrate, I decided that pursuing a master’s degree would be the best year to fill my time!

Did you take time out and work or go straight into your postgraduate course following your undergraduate degree and why?

Covid-19 essentially got rid of all job prospects for most students I know last year. The option to emigrate was pretty much non-existent too with no job opportunities (I would have loved to have travelled to New Zealand – it’s still top of the list of places to go). I was essentially left with two options – try and find a decent job which could take months or go fill my time by doing a masters. So I kind of stumbled into the master’s degree! I’ve since come across some cool organisations such as Covid Interns and Gradguide which can help young students as well as looking at stories on your blog to find some tips.  I think most young students are not aware of all the valuable advice that is out there!

What factors did you take into consideration when selecting which course to pursue?

Choosing a masters degree that suited me was a painstaking process. In many ways I think students are paralyzed by choice, there is too many options to choose from (particularly at undergraduate level). It’s similar at masters level but at least degrees are more specific. I knew I wanted to work in the digital area of business, but also knew I wouldn’t consider myself as a marketer. That’s why the MSc in E-commerce was the perfect choice for me. It combines the analytics side of marketing with the fast growing e-commerce industry and has been eye-opening. I thought I would have had a good understanding of the sector but I have been blown away by the amount that I have learned over the last 6-7 months.

Did your course meet your expectations and why?

Overall, I am fairly happy with the course. Some of my classmates and I were fairly aggrieved at the beginning, because DCU changed the structure of the course after we had signed up and paid our fees. They put in more marketing activities (which is not something I enjoy) and took out some of the technical modules. I can understand the logic behind the decisions as most companies are looking for people who may not necessarily be expert marketers but for e-commerce it’s vital that they are aware of at least the fundamentals.  Although I have a background in business studies, the masters degree has really helped me to focus in on the digital economy and has been eye-opening in many respects. While it has been extremely tough to deal with the remote learning aspect, I would strongly recommend this masters to anyone should universities re-open fully next year!

What role do you hope to go into once you complete your postgraduate course?

The funny thing is, I’m still not really sure what I want to do in the future. I think in Ireland too much pressure is put on young people to go to college and then get a good job. I don’t see it that way, I think young Irish people need to place more importance on gaining real life experiences and memories they won’t forget. That’s why come the end of the year I’m hoping that travel restrictions won’t be as bad and I might be able to get to New Zealand. In my eyes the jobs market is still going to be extremely competitive come September, as the country is bound to enter a recession as government supports are withdrawn. Additionally, most companies are unaware of how the economy will look post-covid and how consumers will react. I think the next 12 months will be really tricky for Irish graduates, but we should see a significant recovery and growth in job opportunities as we head into 2022.

What advice would you give to someone unsure as to what they should study at postgraduate level?

Reach out to current masters students in the course. If you ask any marketing expert or programme chair they are going to advise you that the course is brilliant – that is their job. If you want a real opinion on the course you should speak the current students and ask them how difficult the masters is! I’d also recommend looking up options abroad – masters degrees on the continent are much cheaper than Ireland. In the Netherlands fees generally range from 1500-3000 for a masters degree in business, compared to around 9000 here in Ireland. German universities also offer many masters degrees thought in English, with semester fees generally ranging from 150-400 euro per semester. You could make significant savings compared to a masters degree in Ireland and living abroad is in my opinion a great way to experience personal growth and figure out what’s important to you. 

Eoghan O’Keeffe

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