Mary Walsh Lawlor, CEO Carlow County Development Partnership
MBS graduate, Mary Walsh Lawlor is Chief Executive Officer with Carlow County Development Partnership CLG. The Kilkenny native established the company in 2001 and has successfully led the business through two merger processes over the past 17 years. The company now employs 179 employees on a full time and part-time basis. Mary is currently lending her business expertise to developing a career mentoring and networking programme for teenage girls in the South East. She talks to us about her time as a postgraduate student at UCC.
Course/subjects studied in UCC and year of graduation
Masters in Business Studies- Entrepreneurialism. 1999
Best memory of University College Cork?
I have many great memories of my time at UCC. The University itself, Cork city and driving out to West Cork. I still laugh at some of the antics that went on in our apartment. It's great to meet people in college who become lifelong friends; only last month I was at the wedding of a friend I met at UCC- nearly 20 years later!!
How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?
I can join a straight line from my time at UCC to my current role. As part of my studies at UCC we had to work in groups and had to undertake research for industry. I approached these research projects as though they were paid employment, which paid off as I established some key contacts and networks which I was able to leverage later in my career and get me to where I am now.
What is your advice to current UCC students?
My advice to students is to build friendships, approach your course work as though it was a 9-5 full-time job from the start of the year and then have fun, fun, fun when your studies are done!! Also, keep a very close eye on industry research and networking opportunities.
I would also advise that if someone is overwhelmed or anxious about something to utilise the University's support and counselling services.
What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?
I found all of the lecturing staff for my course influential insofar as they shared their own learnings, experiences and networks and were encouraging and supportive. The lecturing staff in the Department of Food Economics particularly so as it was through this Department that opportunities to work with UCC and industry arose.
Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?
I was a member of the Post Graduate Society and can still remember dancing at the Post Grad ball!!
Favourite UCC legend or superstition
It has to be the yarn that you will fail your exams if you walk on the quad grass! Something tells me this tale came from an overworked caretaker some years ago - though I didn't dare test the theory