Aisling O'Hanlon, Business Analyst, Colgate-Palmolive
What's your name, job and employer?
My name is Aisling O'Hanlon, I'm a Business Analyst at Colgate-Palmolive.
What does your job involve?
I'm a Business Analyst at Colgate's shared services organisation. The essential role of the organisation is to roll out technology to business groups across Europe and Africa. My personal role is as a go-between between the software developers in the U.S. and the actual business groups all around Europe. I meet with the business, capture their requirements, translate that back into I.T, requirements and then meet with the software developers, who would actually build out that technology. I would also help to coordinate testing and support with training. There is a lot of travel in the role and a lot of working with teams remotely.
What skills are important to be successful?
Communication skills are essential. You're working a lot of the time with people who aren't present face to face, through video and tele-conferencing, and you have to build up a relationship with those people over the phone essentially. You also need to be able to actively listen, scope out requirements from the business teams and present those requirements back to people within the I.T. groups.
What do you love about your job?
I love that every day is different. Because it's a project based role you're often working with different technologies, different countries, different people all the time, so every couple of months it's something different. It never gets boring. Alongside that there's also a lot of travel, so you actually go on site to meet with the business teams in different countries across Europe and Africa, which is really interesting.
How did you get into your job?
I studied Business Studies in DCU and part of that course was a 12 month intern-placement. I did that placement within Colgate-Palmolive and that got my foot in the door. When I returned to DCU to do my final year of studies they invited me to come back full-time and I've been there ever since. For the internship and graduate processes there is an initial assessment, which you can do online or on-site. It's essentially an aptitude test of English, Maths and reasoning. Once you pass that there is an interview, which if you pass allows you to proceed with the role.
What advice would you give a first year student?
College-wise, I would suggest either Business Studies or I.T. If you study Business Studies and have an interest in I.T, or if you study computer software or programming and you have a commercial awareness and an interest in that space, you would also be a good fit for the role. Skills-wise, I would say communication skills are critical, as are good organisational skills as you're working across multiple projects at the same time, and also presentation skills would be critical.