Eoin Leonard - UCC Executive MBA Graduate & EY Entrepreneur Finalist 2018

30 Apr 2018
Eoin Leonard of i3PT Certification

Eoin Leonard, from the UCC Executive MBA class of 2011/12 and CEO of i3PT Certification, has been announced as a finalist in the 2018 EY Entrepreneur of the Year competiton.


Eoin was interviewed by the UCC Alumni Office, where he reflected on his time in the UCC Executive MBA.


Alumni Spotlight - Eoin Leonard, CEO and founder, I3PT Certification

Eoin Leonard is fresh from celebrating his nomination for the 2018 EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards. His company, I3PT, which stands for ‘Independent Third-Party Tested’, focuses on improving building standards and its growing client base includes many of the world’s top tech and pharma FDI firms. Eoin talks to us about how the Executive MBA helped him on his entrepreneurial journey!

Course/subjects studied in UCC and year of graduation

I was a candidate on the UCC Executive MBA, which I graduated from in 2012. We studied a broad range of subjects, from Economics to Marketing and everything in between.

Best memory of University College Cork

Choosing my best memory of UCC is a tough one to call. The MBA is not for the faint of heart and there were many difficult days over the course of the two years. What made it so memorable and enjoyable were the friendships and fun I had with my classmates over the period. I have made truly great friends over the period and I still meet up with many of them on a regular basis. If I had to choose my best memory though, it would have to be meeting my mentor and future business partner Dr. Hugh O’Donnell during the Capstone series. He was an early investor in I3PT Certification and had it not been for my participation in the MBA, I may never have met him. He’s a good friend to this day.

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?

The MBA was an incredible experience, both in terms of personal development and professional development. The thing that I feel helped me most was acquiring the frameworks and tools that I needed to test my intuition. Many entrepreneurs are quick to highlight the value of “gut feeling”, but I’ve never been a hundred percent comfortable with relying on this alone. I like process and theory, which is what the MBA gave me. It provided me with a confidence in my own decision making and a self-belief which I may not have previously had.

What is your advice to current UCC students?

My advice would depend on whether you are returning to executive education or simply completing your first undergraduate or indeed postgraduate course.

If it is the latter, I would say that you should expose yourself to the workforce as early and often as possible to supplement your studies. Whether it is working in retail, hospitality or work experience in your chosen area, it is vital to get out there and work. Third level education is almost ubiquitous today. You need your CV to show that you are a hard worker above all else. Also, you need to learn life and business skills that you will not pick up in lectures.

If it is the former, I would say that you should grasp the opportunity with both hands and try to apply the learnings wherever possible. Nurture the network of friends and colleagues that you will acquire on the programme and make a conscious effort to meet as friends once it’s completed.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?

John Considine had an incredible way of explaining economics to a simple-minded man like me. He was very patient and an extremely talented lecturer. I enjoyed his style enormously. 
I also really enjoyed the capstone series of speakers during the MBA where we were exposed to several leaders from industry including Dr. Hugh O’Donnell, Pat McGrath and Sean O’Driscoll.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?

Sadly, time did not allow for too much extracurricular activity. I did, however, co-found the MBA Charitable Trust during my time at UCC.


Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses

Executive MBA

The UCC Centre for Executive Education, 1 Lapp's Quay, Cork