Conor ‘Rummy’ McCullagh – BBs (Hons) in Tourism and Event Management

Name: Conor ‘Rummy’ McCullagh

School: Summerhill College, Sligo

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to choose your course:
I’ve always been enamored with all types of events ever since I first got involved in theatre production when I was 16. From there I always wanted to get involved in any event and in any capacity. It became clear to me fairly fast that I was more interested in the production and management of events than any of the other areas. My parents were also both self-employed in their businesses since I can remember, and it has always been a goal of mine to have my own business someday. When I decided to go to college as a mature student it just seemed logical to do a course that included both business and event management. The course provides a more broad education rather than specialised, and that suited me as my versatility is my strength and key to what I do daily.

What specifically about the course did you particularly enjoy?
The broad versatility of the course is what interested me daily. For example, our time learning about building websites, creating digital assets in photoshop and management accounting became very useful when I was left to develop a business website right after college, and that led to managing an entirely new wing of the business which was an active and busy e-commerce store.

What is the best thing about the course that you think new applicants should know?
The wide variety of modules will make you a well-rounded business person. Perfect for entrepreneurs, project and event managers, and modern digital marketers. The modern workforce needs to be multi-skilled, and in my experience, those who had a flexible skill-set were higher valued by employers.

Any favourite modules during your time studying?
Anything that James Hanrahan taught! Aside from that, it would be our time spent in practical modules, such as when we were creating websites or using photoshop. The hands-on experience was more invaluable than anything else we did.

What key skills did you learn while studying at ATU Sligo that have influenced your career?
Website building and design, photoshop and creative design, report writing, research skills, business analysis, accounting and more. Plenty of very useful skills. Just taking report writing for example. I use that daily when applying to project tenders, writing project briefs, and especially writing grant funding applications. My success rate with them is quite high, and I put it down to a wide variety of skills I learned from my time in ATU Sligo.

Can you share some detail of your career path to date?
During my time when I was still a student at ATU Sligo, the best decision I made was also join the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps. People with a bit of drive can easily get involved in managing one of many aspects of a voluntary ambulance service, which for me was mine was managing grant funding and managing medical teams and resources at events. The biggest being Deputy Duty Manager at Body and Soul, leaving me the 3rd most responsible person for medical teams and resources at a 10,000 person event. I used my time at ATU Sligo to get onto that team. The next major career step after ATU Sligo was joining The White Hag Irish Brewing Company for three years. Started as an Event Executive before moving into Marketing & Communication, and finally becoming a manager at the brewery with core responsibility for all in-house events (Hagstravaganza International Brewery Festival, Boxtravaganza, TapRoom Series etc.) outgoing sales and logistics from selling a case of beer on our e-commerce store to working with Chinese customs to move a container full of beer through their strict import regulations. Finally, I set up my own business in January 2021 with a long term friend as co-owner and co-founder. TemperHound Productions is a video and film production company which is bringing modern techniques and global standards to the North West of Ireland. I went full time with TemperHound in February 2021 due to the demand for our services, and while I have to be versatile like any entrepreneur, I mainly identify myself as a Producer.

What does your current role involve?
I typically deal with the general day to day business needs along with searching for funding and support for our projects and business development plans. In larger jobs, I also take on the role of producer and use a lot of my skills from the events industry to plan and manage our internal and external projects. As with any SME, we have to be versatile and so it is common enough to see me working a camera or setting up lights on some of our smaller projects!

What advice would you share with our current students considering a career in your field?
You never know where you’ll end up after college, and so you need to consider that any or all of the modules you learn may one day become very useful. Get stuck into external projects and organisations outside of college. It helps you to gain real-world experience, learn new skills and build contacts. Don’t burn bridges. I’m still in contact with a lot of my old employers and managers, even the ones who used to make life stressful! Now they are all either good clients or a good source of advice and helping hand when needed! Don’t hold yourself back from doing anything just because you don’t have enough experience. You learn quicker in the deep end!

What did you like best about studying at ATU Sligo?
The vast majority of the faculty are easy going and very approachable. It made it very easy to be personable with them and to engage with their modules.

What advice would you give a first-year student starting in ATU Sligo?
Get into the habit of turning up for your lectures, even the morning ones! Everyone who showed up on my course all passed college. Those who didn’t show up to lectures all either had to repeat or dropped out. Simple.

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