Cian Mac Suibhne has had a business career in consumer electronics and computing technology for over six years. Since his first burst onto the scene at Canon – the Japanese multinational camera specialists – in 2006, he has worked for top-name companies on various graduate programs and managerial projects.
Originally from Ireland, Cian beat over 1200 other applicants to land a position on a European graduate scheme at Canon Europe Ltd. in London after graduating from Dublin City University in 2006. With an MSc in Electronic Commerce, he beat off stiff competition for a place at the prestigious manufacturing company that has a stock price of over $29M.
But the most difficult part of the one-day interview process at Canon HQ was the lunch break. “You have a one day assessment, meeting people from HR to line managers and senior directors, over a combination of interviews and presentations,” he said. “It kept you on your toes and you had to stay fresh for the entire day.
“Once I got through, a HR team member told me they made the selection based on people’s performances at lunch! It was a buffet lunch in a large room with about 16 candidates. They wanted to see how people behaved when they relaxed. It was very causal.”
Cian performed so well on the placement, smashing a 123% target achievement, that he was invited to work as a Partner Channel Manager at Canon CEE in Vienna, Austria. He worked there for two years between 2009 and 2011, and expanded the company’s network from 12 to 24 countries. His passion is emerging markets. “In emerging markets you are exposed to more diversity and it challenges you,” he said.
“I was offered a job while still on the scheme and it offered me challenges that I hadn’t found elsewhere.
“The travel and the exposure to different markets was great, but it was complicated: the markets that we tried to enter into lacked infrastructure, things you expect in western Europe. We were almost inviting people to set up companies in order to set up our needs.”
Cian was “fascinated” to be involved in shaping industries in emerging markets, and cites Romania as the country that has come on leaps-and-bounds, where policy making is more transparent and ICT is booming. But Canon, which employs almost 200,000 staff worldwide, had been through two major restructurings since Cian joined, and he felt he had little more to learn. “Having been through the two previous restructurings, you lose your appetite for change,” he said.
“You’re not going to learn from repeating the same exercise for the third time. So, to experience emerging markets in a different company, I felt it was time to leave.”
Cian decided it was time to broaden his business schools and headed for a full-time MBA at the University of Bath School of Management. For Cian, Bath’s industry connections and diverse cohort are what separated them from other MBA programs. "I actually visited other campuses in France and Spain, but it was Bath that convinced me that the cohort would be more diverse than your typical MBA group,” he said.
“When I met the Bath team before I applied, they were very assured of what they could offer and why they had structured the program they way they have.”
Whilst at business school Cian landed a Summer project at Intel Corporation, the computer software giant, thanks to the Bath MBA careers team. Intel, headquartered in the US, is the world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip maker, with a current stock price of over $22M. “Bath have really good industry connections,” says Cian. “They invited some managers from Intel to visit the campus and present to our class. They gave us six or seven research areas to give individual presentations on, and two of us were lucky to get picked for a position at Intel over the Summer.”
Cian is in the midst of finishing his dissertation and says that his tutor at Bath, professor Juani Swarts, has been instrumental in helping him study.
“In terms of the reports I have to do, for them to be accessible for Intel, I need to reduce the amount of theory whereas for my dissertation I have to hit 20,000 words."
“Separating the two activities is a challenge but Intel has been very good with information, and they take the time to connect me with the relevant departments. Networking is critical.”
After working in Ireland, Austria, Germany and the UK, Cian is now heading for a career at UK telecomms giant, EE, armed with a top UK MBA qualification and an interesting Summer project experience under his belt.
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