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Constance O'Brien

Sales Executive, Slaney Foods. Languages: French and Italian

Employer Slaney Foods International br />
Degree Business and French (TCD), MSc International Business Development (DIT) br />
Languages French and Italian

My passion for languages

I have always enjoyed studying languages and studied higher level Irish, Spanish and French for my Leaving Cert. As a language oriented student, it felt natural to study Business and French in Trinity College Dublin. The Business and Languages curriculum at Trinity is set up so that the language is taught through the medium of business and politics rather than literature.
In my final year, I specialised in International Business and Strategic Management on the business side of my course. This gave me a high level of fluency in the French language but also in business French and a very good working knowledge of the French business environment.

Languages and opportunities<.>

After I graduated, I accepted a position on the IBEC Export Orientation Programme (EOP), which places graduates with companies looking to increase their exports and grow their business in international markets. The programme also funds participants to enroll in a part-time postgraduate degree in International Business Development in DIT.
I am currently employed as a sales executive for Slaney Foods International. I primarily work through English, French and Italian, Italian being a language I learned for my company while on the placement. They needed another Italian speaker in the office and as I have always been open to learning new languages,
Slaney sent me to Italy to work and study the language. My time spent abroad developed my Italian to a professional working level and fulfilled a need for my company.
Working as a sales executive for the food export industry comprises a number of jobs. I supervise accounts all over Europe using my French, Italian and Spanish. I manage relationships, pitch sales, target new customers and promote inside sales. Initiating business with international clients through their native language is a common courtesy that can often work to secure profitable and long-standing business relationships in to the future. There are cultural quirks in every international marketplace which cannot be ignored while conducting business. Being multilingual and being lucky enough to have acquired a level of cultural awareness during my studies and various stints abroad has helped me enormously in my position. Having languages opens doors to working on projects that you might not otherwise be asked to collaborate on, especially as a recent
graduate in a junior position. Ultimately, a second or third language could potentially fast-track your career and could enhance your internal development prospects.

Using your languages to advance your career

If you are considering an international career, consider the Irish food industry. It is the fastest growing indigenous industry in Ireland, with growth set to continue over the next 5/6 years.
An Bord Bia and other government bodies work tirelessly conducting trade negotiations to open up access to new markets for Irish products across the world in countries such as China, Japan, Russia and the US.
If you want to travel for work, which is one of the main aspects I love most about my job, languages are obviously a distinct advantage. I would say the time I spend abroad versus the time I spend in the office could be divided in half.
Even if you want to stay in Ireland, languages are still a great advantage to you in your career. The Irish jobs market has become more and more international. Ireland was recently named the most globalised Western economy and Forbes
even named Ireland as the best place to do business in the world in 2013. Our country attracts a huge amount of FDI, and companies from all over the world choose to base their EMEA and MENAT headquarters in Ireland, and these companies are always searching for new talent with language skills.