From graduate intern to financial accounting manager, Guanhao Lin on growing with UCC Academy

28 Jan 2022

In the eight years since joining UCC Academy, Guanhao Lin has progressed from intern to financial analyst, and most recently to financial accounting manager.

When Guanhao Lin travelled to Ireland from his hometown near Shanghai, China in 2007 to undertake a BSc in Accounting at University College Cork, he was ambitious and driven. Once embedded within the academic community on campus, Guanhao went on to successfully complete the Masters in Economics of Business Practice, during which he was introduced to UCC Academy, later joining its then small but fast growing team of project managers as a business administration intern.

In the eight years since joining UCC Academy, he has grasped every opportunity that came before him, progressing from intern to financial analyst, and most recently to financial accounting manager in what has now grown to be a medium sized company with over 60 people.

‘It’s one of the reasons I’m still here,’ he says. ‘I’m now in my eighth year with UCC Academy and I see the value and career progression that is available to me here. With every new change in the business, there’s a new opportunity. The incredible support I get from my colleagues is really the cherry on top.’

UCC Academy has grown in recent years in supporting the university in delivering on its strategic goals, bringing the experienced team into new areas, projects and activities. The wider team maintains an energy that allows it to innovate during times of change, while also investing in individual team members at the same time.

With the support of UCC Academy, Guanhao began training as a chartered accountant, qualifying in 2019 and opening up even greater opportunities to him.

Guanhao explains, ‘When I think of my previous role as financial analyst, it can sound quite restricting in terms of responsibilities but one of the benefits in a smaller company like this is being able to get involved in other projects during that time which is quite beneficial to my progression.

‘The company supports UCC in project management, from large multi-year programmes to small creative engagements. Being exposed to such a variety of people and projects is really great. I need to understand what the business priorities are and see how finance can support the business.’

With Guanhao and others growing rapidly through internship opportunities, the UCC Academy graduate programme founded in 2020 now invites new graduates to a two-year programme where they engage in all areas of day-to-day business activity, continued mentoring throughout, and exposure to new and innovative projects from across the university community.

‘If it wasn’t for my internship, I wouldn’t be where I am today,’ Guanhao says of celebrating eight years with the company this year.

UCC Academy’s CEO Arlene Vithaldas remembers, ‘Guanhao was a great fit from the start. Flexibility is important in a very dynamic work environment. When Guanhao came on board, we were setting up UCC’s Shanghai office and it was great to have a talented Business School graduate who is also a Mandarin speaker in the company to support us with that. The success of our earliest interns with the company spurred us on to put a graduate programme in place in 2020.’

His growth with UCC Academy is not the only cause for celebration for him and his colleagues. Guanhao also nods to the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations.

‘Chinese New Year is on February 1st and I’ve taken two days off for an extended weekend. That’s a time of huge internal migration in China. Traditionally it’s a time for Chinese people who have migrated from where their families are living, to go home, get together with family and old friends, have some dinner and drinks, and just have some fun. Covid means things are different again this year, but I’ll pick a friend’s house and we’ll celebrate.’

UCC Academy

UCC Academy DAC, University College Cork, Western Gateway Building 2.02, Western Road, Cork. Registered Charity Number: 20141431 ,