When people think of Ireland, they normally picture verdant pastures, rocky coasts and a welcoming culture.
But there is a different side of Ireland, hidden a bit lately by an economic downturn, but nonetheless potent. Ireland remains a force in international business, and it was that presence that a class of Fordham University EMBA students explored during a weeklong visit to the country in June.
Led by Assistant Professor Meghann L. Drury-Grogan, the students criss-crossed sections of Ireland, spending time in visits to businesses, classrooms and cultural sites, learning about the country’s economy and opportunities.
Drury-Grogan said those opportunities are vast.
“For example, 1,195 multinational companies have made Ireland their strategic European base, including nine of the top 10 global software companies, nine of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies, 15 of the top 20 global medical technology companies and over 50 percent of the world’s leading financial services firms (IDA Ireland),” Drury-Grogan said. “There are multiple financial, human capital, and geographic locations for why this occurs. That’s not bad for a country of 4.5 million people!”
The key question students were asked to answer was whether Ireland was a good investment for U.S. companies. While students are still developing their answers, they left no doubt that they enjoyed the trip and were impressed by the country.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent both in and out of the classroom.,” said student Ryan Kellogg. “Since we have returned, I have been talking about the trip to anyone that will listen.”
The class, Drury-Grogan said, is her favorite to teach. She spent more than four years living in Ireland, and her husband is from Galway. That personal connection helps make the experience even better for students, she said.
“What really makes this unique is that I developed this course as a result of my own experiences in Ireland and what I learned to be the key aspects of the country,” she said.
Student Ryan Capone said the visit was an “enriching experience.”
“It was quite a good balance of cultural and business learning,” Capone said.