Padraig Mac Phaidin – BBs (Hons) in Marketing and MSc in Marketing
School: Pobal Scoil Gaoth Dobhair
FE College: Sligo College of Further Education
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to choosing your studies ATU Sligo?
My name is Padraig Mac Phaidin, hailing from Gweedore, a quaint Gaeltacht town in Donegal where Irish fluency is second nature to me. My passion is football and content creation, encompassing various aspects such as playing, watching, and working in social media and content creation world related to the sport. Football is an integral part of me that’s why the Marketing course at ATU Sligo was perfect for me.
You may recognise me as the “media guy” from ATU Sligo Soccer, a role that resonates deeply within me due to my unwavering passion for beautiful game. I have been described as a dream chaser persevering, particularly when it comes to realizing my visions and pursuing my dreams.
The reason I chose my current programme of study is rooted in the opportunity it presents to merge my passions with the field of digital marketing, social media marketing and marketing. I firmly believe in actively pursuing dreams, and the modules offered in this programme align perfectly with the career path I aspire to embark upon. Each module provides valuable skills and knowledge relevant to the world of football.
What Further Education programme did you study before joining ATU Sligo and was the transition to ATU Sligo an easy one?
I enrolled in a PLC course in Sligo College of Further Education focused on Tourism and Event Management after not passing my maths exam in the leaving certificate. I don’t feel ashamed about it because I believe that people and things come into our lives for a reason. Instead of retaking the leaving certificate, I chose to explore other options. The transition to ATU Sligo was easy for me because I had already experienced doing assignments, taking exams, and the overall college atmosphere. I joined ATU Sligo with a good understanding of how assignments and deadlines work, and I had already covered some of the modules before, so I just had to complete them at a higher level. It was a great way to get a taste of academic life and experience living away from home.
What specifically about your degree in ATU Sligo did you particularly enjoy?
I found it difficult to choose just one aspect that I was passionate about in the social media and creative modules, which included programs like photoshop, Illustrator and video editing. Every lecturer I had was amazing and supportive. They were always there to help me, both during and after class, and they even went the extra mile to meet with me outside of regular hours. They motivated me when I felt discouraged or uncertain. They ensured that I reached my full potential in every module, even the ones I struggled with. I also want to mention the positive environment created by the lecturers, which made the whole experience enjoyable. They understood not only the academic side but also what it’s like to be a student, making the classes interesting and fun. I’m also grateful for my classmates, who were always there for each other inside and outside the classroom. We supported one another whenever someone was stuck or unsure about something.
What is the best thing about the degree in ATU Sligo that you think new applicants should know?
The field of marketing offers a wide range of possibilities, allowing individuals to explore various areas and unlock numerous opportunities. The modules encompass diverse aspects, including accounting, marketing strategies, and digital marketing. An added benefit is the exceptional support from the lecturers, who demonstrate great patience, understanding, and a willingness to assist students until they grasp challenging concepts.
Can you share some detail of your career path or further studies to date?
I graduated from a Level 7 in Marketing, then a level 8 in Marketing and I currently finishing up in an MSc in Marketing. These studies have benefited my career thus far with having the opportunities at working with a charity known as the Bertie Auld Legacy which is dedicated to Bertie Auld a European cup winner with Celtic FC in 1967 as he was a hero of mine and good friend. To be asked by his Son Robert and Martin McHugh to be head social media for this organizations was amazing. I have also done work with originations and music artists such as St. Johnstone FC, Internship at Inter Miami (due to covid was a few online sessions), ATU Sligo Soccer as well as working with music artist such as Tinie Tempah, Dean Lewis, Chasing Abbey and many more.
Between learning all the fundamentals academically and being given platforms such as ATU Sligo Soccer and Bertie Auld Legacy, it really allows me to showcase my graphic design, social media skills and content creation, which have landed me these opportunities. I am delighted to be continuing with ATU Sligo Soccer next season, as it is going to get even bigger and better. I will be testing and challenging myself with different ideas, benefiting from heavy investment and a plan for next season. This is my favourite role, and I am grateful for the environment created by coaches, players, and Colm Jink’s for ensuring that everything runs smoothly.
My career path has allowed me to combine my passion for football and content creation, including graphic design, video editing, and now delving into photography as well. This road wasn’t easy and still presents challenges at times, but it’s about believing in yourself. I have struggled with mental health over the years, but with help from professionals, as well as support from classmates and lecturers, I have been able to showcase my capabilities and lift myself up.
What does your current role involve?
My current role involves creating a social media planner and content strategy, determining what to post and when to post it to increase various metrics. I have learned about these metrics, such as reach, engagement, click-through rates, impressions, and analytics through my studies. Additionally, the role includes assessing which posts are working, what’s not working and what’s currently trending. My responsibilities also encompass video editing, creating promotional content, designing graphics and photos, and occasionally managing social media accounts. Each module in my studies has been important and relevant in understanding social media marketing and content creation. This is the beauty of the Marketing degrees in ATU Sligo, as it has opened numerous paths for me. It has allowed me to turn my passion and hobby into a job, as I strongly believe in doing something you love. ATU Sligo Soccer has given me the opportunity to pursue this dream.
What advice would you share with our current students considering a career in your field?
Embrace continuous learning: Marketing is a dynamic field that constantly evolves with advancements in technology and changes in consumer behavior. Stay curious and commit to lifelong learning. Attend workshops, conferences and webinars. Seek out online resources, podcasts and industry blogs to stay informed and adapt to new trends.
Develop a diverse skill set: Marketing encompasses a wide range of skills. While specialisation is valuable, it’s important to develop a broad skill set. This includes areas such as market research, data analysis, content creation, social media management, SEO, advertising and project management. Being well-rounded will make you adaptable and increase your career opportunities.
Gain practical experience: Theory is important, but hands-on experience is invaluable. Seek internships, part-time jobs or volunteer opportunities in marketing roles to gain practical experience. This will provide you with real-world exposure, help you understand industry dynamics and allow you to apply your knowledge in a practical setting.
Network strategically: Building a strong professional network is crucial in marketing. Attend industry events, join marketing associations, and engage with professionals in your field. Networking can open doors to job opportunities, mentorship, and valuable connections. Remember to maintain relationships and offer assistance to others as well.
Develop analytical skills: Marketing decisions are increasingly data driven. Develop your analytical skills to effectively interpret data, extract insights, and make data-backed recommendations. Familiarise yourself with tools like Google Analytics, social media analytics platforms, and data visualization tools. Being comfortable with data analysis will enhance your decision-making abilities.
Cultivate creativity: Marketing requires innovative thinking and creative problem-solving. Cultivate your creativity by exploring different art forms, reading diverse literature and engaging in activities that inspire you. The ability to think outside the box and generate unique ideas will make you a valuable asset in the marketing field.
Be adaptable and resilient: Marketing is an ever-changing industry and setbacks are inevitable. Embrace change, be flexible and adapt to new technologies and strategies. Develop resilience to bounce back from failures,
What advice would you give a first-year student starting in ATU Sligo?
Just enjoy, cherish and appreciate every moment, challenge yourself, believe in yourself and work hard. It will be the best 3 to 5 years of your life. Talk to everyone, network and don’t hesitate to ask your lecturers/supervisors for help or any issues you may be having as they understand and care. Take part in clubs and societies. These memories will stay with you forever. Personally, speaking ATU Sligo has helped grow and develop as a person while helping me up my skillset.
Dónal Ó Loideáin – BBs in Applied Sport with Business
Liam Cleary – BBs in International Tourism and Event Management
Leah O’Hara – BBs in Marketing
Anita Conefrey – BBs (Hons) in Tourism with Event Management
Jessica Sheehan – BBs (Hons) in Marketing
Luke Jennings – BBs (Hons) in Sport with Business