Students take a “business trip” to Dublin

Published on: March 22, 2024

Students take a “business trip” to Dublin

Fifteen Cybersecurity majors traveled to Dublin, Ireland, during spring break to learn about the latest trends in technology and polish their interpersonal skills.

The students met with Cyber Ireland (a cyber-focused think tank), IDA Ireland (employment in Ireland), IBM, J.P. Morgan Chase, Tenable (a software company), and a group of entrepreneurs. “We ran the whole gamut from large and small companies to software vendors and entrepreneurs working with AI,” explained Tom Dodds, director of the Cybersecurity program.

Groups of three students from Neumann’s Cybersecurity program were assigned to each company as their “account.” They were tasked with researching the organization and taking the lead in discussions that followed the company’s presentation.

“We prepared the students and treated our time in Dublin like a business trip,” said Dodds, who met with each group the night before to formulate a series of relevant questions for their assigned company.

According to Robert Licciardello, a senior, students used an app, Travel Zone, to find information about the people who were presenting and create appropriate questions. “As a group we prepared 10 questions, most of the time, and came up with something new during the presentation.”

Students asked about internships and job opportunities, of course, but they also asked company representatives about immigration to Ireland, the impact of AI on their field (especially regarding ethical issues), and the challenges of maintaining cybersecurity for an international company.

“What surprised me is how different the hiring qualifications were at each of these companies,” noted Brandon Mowery, another student. “For example, IBM stated they only look at job candidates who hold a master's degree, while Tenable will hire candidates with degrees outside of the tech field. Jennifer Cox, who hosted us at Tenable, said she has a Psychology degree.”

Dodds revealed that he “wanted the students to learn that nine-tenths of the battle in the business world is being prepared.”

Presenters at two of the companies approached Dodds at the end of the visit and confided that they had never heard so many questions and such good ones from student groups. “I was really proud of them,” Dodds said.

The professor admitted that the Dublin experience will influence his courses. “I got a lot of validation from the companies about what I’m teaching, especially regarding the level of emphasis they place on soft skills in the hiring process.”

Dublin, IDA IrelandThe Irish businesses told him that students must be able to make presentations, talk to executives, write well, and communicate effectively. Dodds plans to adjust his curricula to place additional focus on enhancing these skills.

Preeti Singh, the director of career and personal development, accompanied the students and handled logistics and student preparation for the entire week. “Preeti was fantastic,” Dodds gushed. “She was involved in every facet of the trip, from planning to preparing for the company visits, and took time to help the students update their resumes, based on feedback from the senior leaders we met. She was the perfect partner for the trip.”

Of course, no trip to Dublin would be complete without some fun and sightseeing. The group visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College (where they saw illuminated manuscripts in the Book of Kells), the Epic Museum, and the Guinness brewery tour.





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