Postgraduate profile: Noel Hayes

“If postgraduate study is truly for you then you will step up to the mark, rather than seek excuses.”

Primary Degree: Bachelor of Business Studies, Dublin City University.

Postgrad Degree: MSc in Finance, Dublin City University.

Employer: Tote Ireland

I studied for a degree in Business Studies before progressing to the MSc in Finance at DCU. I found the final year of my undergraduate to be very absorbing. I felt I had been served a taster in econometrics, portfolio theory, and risk and I was looking for the main course. The MSc in Finance was a natural extension for me. It was current and broad-reaching, it had a good blend of coursework and project work and overall I felt it left me as a desirable candidate for any finance institution that was looking to recruit graduates.

Further Study

In terms of the progression between undergraduate and postgraduate study, I personally found the transition to be reasonably simple, though I probably benefited from being familiar with the surroundings at DCU and this helped to ease the transition. The workload and demands were greater but any sensible student has to understand that they have committed to the further year for their own benefit and professional development.

I had several motivations to choose finance. I had a strong desire to understand more about my chosen field of study but I also felt that business or finance undergrads would be ten a penny and that I needed to differentiate myself from the crowd if I was to land a desirable graduate position. I do feel that the qualification has helped me to stand out. It alone will never be enough to get you the job but I felt it would certainly help me to get noticed.


In the course of the MSc, time management and project management are skills that you develop unknowingly due to the demands of the course. There are a lot of moving parts and deadlines and if you don’t tip your hat to these skills and acknowledge their necessity then you are in danger of putting yourself under undue pressure. Additionally, I also developed my presentation skills through standing in front of the group and expressing my take on the course content. One of the greatest learning curves was the completion of my dissertation. As it is an individual project you must work to deadlines, rely on and make demands of your academic supervisors, and be your own sanity checker. These are skills that serve you well in industry.

Work experience

In terms of work experience, I had worked in the banking sector prior to undertaking the MSc, as I started my career in AIB corporate banking. For me, the experience and learning curve was second to none. I was working with smart and dynamic people and I had access to people who had progressed to the upper echelons of a large organisation. They had to have done something right and I realised that if you can’t learn from them then you are going to hit your career peak pretty quickly.

Graduate Employment

I am currently Commercial Director at Tote Ireland, and I would like to think that I am making use of all of the skills I acquired during my MSc. Postgraduate study in the business and finance sector helps you to understand true objectivity and teaches you the need for it. It also shows you the importance of data. As you progress in industry you learn that successful business is driven by the interpretation of data.

Top tip

In terms of advice for students who are considering the finance route, just do it! You will not regret your choice. Be prepared to work, and if you do you will reap the rewards.

Noel was interviewed for gradireland/postgradireland Directory 2013/14