Darren Hanlon

Graduate Executive, DCC plc

Name Darren Hanlon
Job Graduate Executive, DCC plc
Education BA Arts, UCD; MA Management, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

After my Leaving Cert, I enrolled in an honours Arts degree in UCD studying philosophy and English. I had wanted to be either a teacher or a journalist but eventually I changed my mind and decided to travel for a couple of years – one of the jobs I had was managing a bar in the United States.

That experience convinced me, on my return, to do the Masters in Management with the Smurfit School. Later my careers officer informed me of the Future Leaders Graduate Programme with DCC.

DCC was looking for someone a bit different with the ability to think independently. I felt that my Philosophy and English background gave me a more relaxed, rounded attitude than people whose grounding was entirely in business.

After successfully completing an online application form and passing some online ability tests, a phone interview was arranged. I had made the mistake in interviews before of trying too hard to impress but you don’t need to because at that point in the process the company already knows about you and are interested.

I was successful and am now in my 12th month with DCC. My mentor during the two-year programme is the Head of Investor Relations who has been a great support as well as somebody I can bounce ideas off.

I’m currently working in Fannin which is a Hospital Supplies and Services company in DCC’s Healthcare division. DCC has five divisions – Energy, SerCom (IT and home entertainment), Healthcare, Environmental, and Food and Beverage. I’m getting a feel for many parts of the business through three eight-month rotations; they are a great way to discover the part of the business which you are best suited to.

My personal highlight so far has been in our SerCom division, working with Microsoft on their Xbox game releases, managing the process from procurement through to the selling of the product to market.

Advice for graduates

If I were to give any advice to graduates, it would be to trust your own ability and make sure you can demonstrate on your CV/application form how your skills suit the particular company you are applying to. I would also advise students to learn how to network effectively; building relationships and using the knowledge and experience of others to help you is very important for almost any job.

Darren was interviewed for gradireland 2013