Shauna Mc Cann – Bachelor of Business (Honours)

Name: Shauna Mc Cann

From: Sligo

School: Ursuline College

Current Job: HR Specialist with AbbVie, Sligo

I graduated in 2022 from ATU Sligo with a Bachelor of Business (Honours) degree and started as a HR Officer with Ryanair. I’ve always really enjoyed socialising and working with people. I enjoyed studying business while in secondary school and it was always a subject I could understand. The Bachelor of Business (Honours) degree appealed to me as I wasn’t exactly sure what side of business I wanted to go into. This degree gives you an insight into all sides of business from Finance, Marketing and Human Resource Management. This allowed me to pinpoint which area best suited me. In final year, you specialise in a particular area, and I chose Human Resource Management. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to specialise in one area as it broadened my HR knowledge and is impressive on your CV when applying for jobs.

Throughout the four years I really enjoyed studying accounting. It was a module that clicked for me, but I also loved any marketing modules as I liked the creative side of things. I struggled to choose which area to specialise in at first. However, once I focused on Human Resource Management my favourite module was ‘Employee Learning and Development’. I loved the practical side of this module. Our lecturer always got us involved whether it was learning how to ‘coach’ students or ‘train’ students. I found this module extremely valuable as the techniques we learned can be used in our day to day working lives.

In Year 3, students are required to complete 5 months of work placement. I completed my placement in the Medical Manpower Department (HR Department for Doctors) in Sligo University Hospital. I thoroughly enjoyed my 5 months there. I gained so much experience from assisting in the recruitment process of new doctors, supporting new and existing staff in the online application process for work permits and Garda Vetting and organising induction days. I’m so grateful that the Bachelor of Business (Honours) degree gives you the opportunity to gain these experiences. I know it is the experience and knowledge I gained through work placement that has enabled me to go on to become a HR officer with Ryanair.

As HR Officer for Ryanair, I managed the entire HR function for over 800 staff across five airports in the UK. My role involved monitoring employee absence and turnover, drafting weekly reports for management, drafting, and issuing employment contracts and references, administration, tracking payroll and attending grievance and disciplinary hearings. I also maintained HR databases to ensure all files and HR systems are up to date and travel to UK bases to meet crew.

Since leaving Ryanair in Dublin, I have moved back to Sligo and now work as a HR Specialist with AbbVie.

For new students, I would recommend immersing yourself in your work placement. Use those five months to gain as much experience and knowledge as possible in order to progress in your field of choice once you have graduated. In Year 4, you are required to complete a research dissertation. I would recommend choosing a topic you are really interested in. I researched ‘The Role a Manager Plays in Motivating Staff in the HSE’. This gave me a greater insight into the HR functions within the HSE. As I completed my placement in Sligo University Hospital, I had management contacts which enabled me to conduct qualitative research by interviewing a number of managers. I recommend building relationships with those you do with placement with as they can assist you when completing your research dissertation or with employment when you graduate.

I thoroughly enjoyed my four years studying in ATU Sligo. I made friends for life and with class groups being small, I was able to have a close relationship with all of my classmates. It’s amazing that ATU Sligo also gives you the opportunity to build relationships with your lecturers. I felt very supported by my lecturers and never felt uncomfortable asking questions or seeking guidance.

University days are some of the best of your life and they go by FAST! There are stressful times but remember to enjoy yourself and socialise as much as you can. Just don’t forget to put in the hard work at the same time!

Find out more about AU900 Bachelor of Business (Honours)

Find out more about AU800 Bachelor of Business

Find out more about AU700 Higher Certificate in Business