Alumni Spotlight

Tom Raftery, Global Evangelist for the Internet of Things - SAP

26 Feb
Tom Raftery

Tom Raftery is a Futurist, advisor/strategist, industry analyst and avid social media practitioner, based in Seville, Spain. He has worked for a number of companies at Group IT Manager/CTO level and recently joined SAP as Vice President and Global Evangelist for the Internet of Things, after working as an industry analyst with RedMonk. Tom’s love affair with computers started in 1991 when he set up a software company while studying at UCC. He talks to us about his college days.

Course/subjects studied in University College Cork
BSc (Hons) in Plant Science 1991

Best memory of UCC 
I have so many great memories of my time in UCC it is difficult to pick out anyone as a “best memory”, and so I’d have to say my best memory of UCC is the tremendous time I had there, the fantastic friends I made, and the active encouragement of staff in my growth and development as an adult

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now? 
I learned an enormous amount in UCC, not just in books, but also through active involvement in the clubs and societies. This rounding out of my character, this nurturing of my insatiable curiosity for “new stuff”, and this honing of my communication skills played a huge part in helping me land an executive role with global technology mega-vendor SAP.

What is your advice to current UCC students? 
Follow your passion – when you are choosing courses to take, go for the ones which you find interesting, not the ones which have the best-perceived potential for earnings – the potential for earnings can change overnight (blacksmith was a reliable money-making trade for a long time), but passion sells, and it can’t be replaced.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?
Many people in UCC had a hugely positive influence on me – my friends and classmates, my colleagues in the various clubs and societies, and the teaching staff, but if I had to pick one, I would say my post-grad supervisor Prof Peter Jones was a huge influence and inspiration. I couldn’t have asked for a better supervisor (and he for a worse student!).

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?
I was involved more on the Societies side of things, than the Clubs. On the Societies front I was very involved in the Philosoph, and Law societies, holding committee positions on both for a number of years. I was the first non-Law student to wear the chain at a Law Society meeting! It was in these societies I developed my love of public speaking. Subsequently, I was on the Societies Guild.

Favourite UCC legend or superstition 
The only superstition I can remember from UCC is the one that it is bad luck to cross the Quad. I’m not superstitious in any way, but I never tempted fate with that one.

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