Why a Career in Business is the Way to Go | Athlone Institute of Technology

Business is a broad church discipline that caters for a wide variety of interests and abilities and allows students to gain a qualification that’s relevant across many sectors. Business students learn how to practically-apply theory to real-world scenarios, such as how to set -up their own business, marketing and even HR.

Over the course of their four-year degrees, students develop strong business acumen and gain valuable industry-relevant experience through work placement and live projects with a wide variety of Athlone Institute of Technology’s industry partners.

Students also have the option of starting out in a general business degree before specialising in something like accounting or digital marketing - particularly well-remunerated professions with more jobs than graduates to fill them.


The stereotype of the stuffy, boring accountant chained to their desk crunching numbers and issuing invoices endures and yet it couldn’t be further from the truth, says Joy Salaja, head of accounting with E&Y’s Global Fusion in London.

“Accountants are business leaders and creative problem-solvers at the heart of every company’s operation. We’re not just the numbers people anymore - We have technology like robotics and automation to do that for us now.”

According to Ms Salaja, who studied a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Accounting and later a Master of Arts in Accounting at Athlone Institute of Technology, a career in accounting offers great flexibility and opportunities to travel.

Athlone Institute of Technology offers one of the fastest route to becoming a chartered accountant thanks to its agreements with professional bodies like CIMA, ACCA, CPA and CAI. For example, its accounting students are eligible for nine out of 14 ACCA exam exemptions and can complete their level 8 honours degree in three years instead of four if they so choose.

Digital Marketing

Ireland’s digital economy is flourishing and with more and more brands and consumers moving online, demand for suitably qualified, competent digital marketing graduates is outstripping supply - more than 900,000 digital jobs across Europe are currently unfilled.

With this in mind, Athlone Institute of Technology’s Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Digital Marketing was designed to meet the skills gap in industry and is ideal for business-minded students with a creative flair.

Over the course of this four-year honours degree, students will develop creative content, apply SEO and explore cyber psychology and its ability to alter human behaviours within the context of real-life company’s digital marketing campaigns.

Students will also get an opportunity to work with real businesses, helping them set and achieve strategic digital marketing goals, which will give them invaluable, industry-relevant experience to add to their CV. The goal of the programme is to produce industry-ready graduates with confidence in their abilities and the skills and competencies necessary to be an asset to a company from the word go.

“Digital marketing was the perfect fit for me because it allowed me to embrace both my creative and analytical side, explains Mark Lynch, an inbound marketing associate working with Dot Dynamic in Co Longford. “I was consistently given the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge and business acumen garnered over the course of my four-year degree in a ‘real-world’ context.”

Business and Law

Athlone Institute of Technology’s Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Business and Law provides a solid foundation for students who wish to pursue a career in law, public service or private industry. Over the course of their four-year degree, students obtain a comprehensive understanding of the Irish legal system and its interaction with European law, and other key areas of business, such as marketing and management.

Study abroad and live projects are a core component of this degree, which helps students develop strong communication, analytical, numeracy, teamwork and research skills.

Jessica Hevican, who is now a trainee accountant with Grant Thornton, used the degree as a launchpad into a career in accountancy. “My degree was extremely rewarding and allowed me to explore the areas of business that best complimented my interests and abilities – through this, I discovered my passion for accountancy,” she explains.

“The course material was delivered by knowledgeable and enthusiastic lecturers in a small classroom setting which gave me the confidence to express my ideas and opinions. Learning wasn’t just confined to the classroom either. Lecturers actively encouraged out of class learning and went above and beyond to organise class trips and other field activities.”

Food Business and Technology

Food processing and manufacturing is a rapid growth area with more jobs than graduates to fill them. With this in mind, Athlone Institute of Technology has designed the Midlands first Food Business and Technology degree to meet demand for graduates in their exciting, multidisciplinary area.

Combining food science and technology, the new four-year programme will prepare graduates for largescale production environments, such as the type found in Panelto Foods in Co Longford or Carroll’s Cuisine in Tullamore – two of the largest employers in the region.

Nationally, food processing and manufacturing employs 42,000 people with Ireland’s wider agri-food sector pulling in an annual turnover in excess of €26 billion. For the past two decades, food ingredients have driven growth in the industry with exports more than doubling from €5.6 billion to €12.6 billion. This makes it one of the most important indigenous manufacturing sectors, a sector which is projected to grow by 23,000 jobs by 2025.

Despite food manufacturing being one of the largest employers across the Midlands - with tens of thousands of people working in dairies, bakeries, meat producers and in additive production, no other such third level food-related course existed locally. From September 2020 onward, students won’t have to travel across the country to Cork or Dublin to earn a degree in this highly specialised area.

“We developed this degree in recognition of the growing needs of the region’s food manufacturing sector with the view to supplying them with a talent pipeline of graduates versed in manufacturing automation and food science, but also equipped with strong marketing, accounting and leadership skills,” says Dr Anthony Johnston, the head of the institute’s hospitality, tourism and leisure department.

Business and Information Systems

Business Information Systems is another exciting new programme on offer at Athlone Institute of Technology. The four-year degree offers a unique blend of business practice and technology to ensure that students have the necessary skills and knowledge to use and develop IT systems in a wide variety of business settings.

Students also have the option of undertaking additional industry certifications from Google, Microsoft, Oracle and Hubspot, making it what Trevor Prendergast, who heads the institute’s accounting and business computing department, calls a “double qualified computing degree”.

The programme also contains an integrated six-month work placement to ensure students gain a plethora of industry-relevant experience prior to graduation. Given the ubiquity of information systems, graduates of this programme can expect to find employment in a wide variety of areas within the information and communication sector – which, in Ireland, has the highest average weekly earnings.

International Business (with a Mandatory Language)

While English is a dominant global lingua franca - with about 1.5 billion speakers worldwide - acquisition of a second language can give graduates a competitive edge in the corporate world. Aside from making graduates more employable, it also opens up opportunities for travel; living and working abroad.

Athlone Institute of Technology’s brand new Bachelor of Business (Hons) in International Business (with a Mandatory Language) degree gives students a thorough grounding in key international business subjects like economics, finance and management, as well as marketing, computing and human resources, and offers a choice of two languages: French and Chinese.

Sticking with an international outlook, students of this programme also have an opportunity to study abroad at one of Athlone Institute of Technology’s many partner universities for a semester or a full-year. This study abroad period will provide ample opportunity for students to improve their language skills, develop their people skills and experience new cultures – all of which has been shown to improve employability.

Athlone Institute of Technology is a contemporary third level institute distinguished by academic excellence in teaching, learning and research. The institute was awarded The Sunday Times ‘Institute of Technology of the Year 2020, 2018 and Runner-Up in 2017. The institute also tops Ireland’s official league table for research and was listed in U-Multirank’s ‘Top 25 Performing Universities in the World for Interdisciplinary Research’ in 2018 and 2019. Athlone Institute of Technology is currently ranked number one nationally for student satisfaction - a position it has maintained for six consecutive years. For more information relating to the institute’s CAO programmes, visit www.ait.ie. #ChooseAIT

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