Lauren O’Sullivan, BSc (Hons) in Medical Biotechnology
Name: Lauren O’Sullivan
School: Coola Post Primary School
What key skills did you learn while studying at IT Sligo that have influenced your career?
The modules that made up my degree in Medical Biotechnology at IT Sligo were extremely industry-based, and I have without a doubt found great use for the skills I acquired during my four years there. Some skills I have taken with me include that of being able to work as part of a team; my degree provided me with many opportunities to work within a team in both laboratory and desk-based settings. I also received more than adequate training in Microsoft Excel, which I am getting much use out of every day in my current role, as well as data & statistics analysis. Another imperative skill that I use every day that I took with me from college was that of time management; I am very conscious of meeting deadlines and prioritizing tasks/projects in line with those deadlines.
Can you share some detail of your career path to date?
During the final year of my degree, I was accepted into the Abbott Professional Development Program (PDP), as an Operations PDP, starting in July 2020 after completing my degree at IT Sligo. This program involves three 12-month rotations across three different divisions of the business, giving the candidate an adequately thorough experience of leadership and management in the Abbott business overall. I am in my first rotation of this program, where I am part of the Abbott Nutrition Supply Chain division, based in Co. Sligo.
What does your current role involve?
My current role is Operations PDP with Third Party Manufacturing (TPM) with Abbott Nutrition Supply Chain. We manage our global third parties, from an operational perspective, who manufacture Abbott nutritional products on behalf of Abbott. In my role specifically, I manage a small UK-based TPM and support packaging projects and other operational activity for other large TPMs. The role has very much taken me far outside of my comfort zone and is always presenting me with new opportunities to better myself as a future leader with Abbott.
What advice would you share with our current students considering a career in your field?
I would encourage current students to throw themselves into any workshops, work placement and team exercises/tasks that are available to them throughout their four years at IT Sligo, because while the module content is important, skills such as being able to communicate and work within a team are ultimately essential to your success in this field. Try to get yourself into the habit of self-discipline when it comes to assignment and submission deadlines. Also, build yourself a solid foundation in your ability to use Microsoft Excel, because not one week has passed where I haven’t had to use a formula of some sort or some complex feature within this tool!
What did you like best about your course?
I loved the bountiful time we spent in the labs during my four years at IT Sligo, which we were so fortunate to be able to avail of in small groups, or even individually. We always had at least 4-8 hours of lab time throughout each week, where we participated in very hands-on procedure. With my experience from the labs at IT Sligo, I’d feel very confident and competent if I ever find myself in a lab-based role in future.
What did you like best about IT Sligo?
You can’t beat the social aspect of college; there’s always a great atmosphere about the college and the lecturers are so friendly and approachable. I also liked that the campus wasn’t very spread out and that lecture sizes were usually small especially in the later years of my degree, which made me feel closer to the IT Sligo community and everything happening on campus, and made asking a question much easier.
What advice would you give a first year student starting in IT Sligo?
My advice would be to put yourself out there in terms of things happening outside of the lecture room, like the mentoring program which is a great opportunity to speak to students in the year ahead in your course. Open days and career events are also always a good way of introducing yourself to companies/businesses you are interested in, and for putting out feelers for what’s available to you in the industry after your time at IT Sligo. Most importantly – enjoy those three or four years to their full extent!
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Katie Haran, BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Science with Drug Development
Megan Creegan, Higher Cert in Health and Exercise Science
Dearbhla Neenan, Higher Cert in Health and Exercise Science
Niall Carr, BSc Hons) in Health Science and Physical Activity