Douglas Faughnan (BComm (European) with Italian, 2010)

'One of the more recent departures, I graduated from the BComm European in September 2010 and had accepted a position in the Milan office of Enterprise Ireland the previous April. After completing a two week period at the EI headquarters in Dublin along with 15 other graduates destined for various locations across the world, I left for Milan, where I will be based for the next two years.

'As a trade development executive, I work with Irish companies interested in or already doing business in the Italian market. My client companies can take the form of small indigenous companies exporting for the first time, or they can be some of Ireland’s most renowned companies and market leaders in their field.

'Working with a new exporter from the beginning involves meeting with the client and discussing their knowledge of the Italian market and their expectations before agreeing on a set of action points. Typically a market report would be prepared for the client including information on possible partners in the Italian market, and the client would then identify several partners with the hope of meeting them to discuss a possible collaboration. My role is to facilitate these meetings and to provide a bridge between the Irish exporter manager and the Italian purchasing manager. Contacting senior people in the large Italian companies can be challenging over the phone, but Gabriela’s Italiano Commerciale booklet is never far from my side! The end goal for each client is to sign a significant contract in Italy.

'There is a significant Irish Business Network in Milan, and events are organised on a monthly or bi-monthly basis and provide the opportunity to network with other Irish people working in Italy. The Irish Ambassador to Italy traditionally holds an event in December to meet with the IBN.

'Milan is a fantastic city to live in particularly for people on the lower side of thirty as the nightlife is great, with something going on every night of the week, Champions League football, Serie A at the weekend, and close enough to several ski resorts to go and come back in the one day.

'To summarise, the three years I spent in UCC (and one in Bologna) were certainly the three most enjoyable years of my life to date. I could not say enough about the Italian Department, particularly in final year when lecturers were continuously available to meet and discuss essays and projects. I expect to continue to use my Italian for as much of my career as possible as demand for business people with fluent English and Italian hugely outweighs supply.

'I look forward to seeing some of you in the future and will update you when my situation changes!'

Claire Creedon (BComm (European) with Italian, 2010)

'It’s great to see fellow graduates’ experiences. I graduated in 2010 with a BComm & Italian. I was fortunate in today's climate to be offered a job as part of the IBEC Export Orientation Programme with Bord Bia in Milan where I get to use both aspects of my degree. Having a foreign language like Italian is a huge resource when looking for jobs, and complements Commerce subjects, with many businesses focusing on export markets. Having done Erasmus also stood to me hugely and my year in Genova was one of my best years so far.

'I started my placement last August [2010], taking over from Eimear O'Mullane, a UCC Languages and Cultural Studies graduate. I am now half way through the programme and my experiences with Bord Bia in Italy have been extremely rewarding and very different to what I had expected. No two days are the same and I have had the opportunity to travel a lot with work, attending trade fairs throughout Italy on behalf of Irish companies and travelling to Ireland with potential Italian clients and assisting them in meetings with the Irish companies. I didn't realise, prior to starting with Bord Bia, the importance of the Italian market on the Irish beef industry and so this plays a huge role in the job. I have to monitor prices weekly and accompany Italian sales agents on itineraries to Irish farms and meat factories. I am lucky to have already gained experience in the various food sectors, from seafood to consumer goods, and I can see first hand the importance of Irish food exports on the Irish economy. I also enjoy getting the opportunity to write articles regularly for Bord Bia, on trends within the Italian market and this is an area I would be interested in focusing on in the future. I look forward to what the next half of the placement entails.

'If anybody has any questions regarding the EOP programme please feel free to contact me, it’s a great experience and it also allows you to get a postgrad qualification.

'Thank you to everyone in the Italian Department!'

Department of Italian


First Floor Block A West, O' Rahilly Building, University College Cork, Ireland