I didn't have an undergraduate degree, but I'm living proof that this need not prevent you from being a success in business. I started out by obtaining a Certificate in Engineering from Waterford RTC (now Waterford IT), which led me to a Diploma in Electronic Engineering from Cork RTC (now Cork IT). I then did two certificates in Finance and Business Organisation which enabled me to enrol at college and complete an MBA at DCU. My first job was as an electronics engineer with Amdahl Ireland, Dublin.
Being appointed CEO of Fujitsu Ireland in 2009 is certainly my biggest professional achievement to date. It's been an amazing opportunity to bring together different areas of the business into one cohesive unit and build on the successes of the people, services and products.
Listening is incredibly important: it's one skill that is critical in a CEO. Every day there are opportunities to learn something new or hear an idea from someone that could revolutionise the way that a business runs. It could come from the most inexperienced or unexpected person, and if you're not listening, you might miss an opportunity.
Consulting has been a great educator in learning to listen effectively. Organisations and leaders in the organisations that you are consulting with know more about their business than you, as a consultant, ever will. Effective listening will enable you to apply your knowledge of your specialist area (in our case ICT) to help solve the issues our customers face.
It comes down to the responsibility you feel to the people who work in the company and their families. The challenge is to always do your best and really put the best vision of the company forward so everyone in the company has something to get behind. In many ways, each employee is also the public face of our company, and we would hope that the relaxed and professional environment we try to foster enables them to be good ambassadors for our business.
Advice for graduates
As a young person coming out of education today, one of the big challenges you face is that you may have spent several years learning in a particular way: being asked to tell teachers, lecturers and examiners what you know. The working environment is much more collaborative; and learning to collaborate effectively takes time but is certainly worth the investment.
Skills for future leaders
In my view there are five key skills a graduate should possess: teamwork, problem solving, leadership, the ability to communicate and collaboration skills.
How to survive an economic downturn
If you can't get the job you want, take any job, or volunteer, so you can build up the skills you need. Over time, your skills with develop and your reputation will build. When opportunities arise, do not be afraid to make the most of them.
Regina Moran was interviewed for Ireland's 100 leading graduate employers 2011/2012.