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A group of students standing outdoors, with wind turbines visible in the background

A Close-Up Look at Both Modern Business and Ancient Spectacles

BY DAVID ALLEN

January 25, 2023

Amid the modern, globalized business world, the roots of a distant-seeming past can be visible.

This notion was among the lessons from fall’s term International Business Consulting (MGMT 380), organized by LeBow’s Dornsife Office for Experiential Learning, in which 24 undergraduate students engaged with a corporate client based in Ireland for a term-length consulting project centering on renewable energy.

As the students conducted analysis of the both the U.S. and Irish markets and turned their findings into a report and presentation for their client, they discovered that even some of the most modern and innovative happenings in the country are built on a much more ancient foundation.

Accompanied by adjunct professor Kelly Betchyk and Dornsife Office program coordinator Nora Barry, the students traveled to Ireland to present their recommendations to Bord na Móna , a climate solutions provider headquartered in Newbridge, outside of Dublin. The company was originally the Peat Board, managing Ireland’s peat fields and the harvesting of turf to be burned for heat. Established in 1946, the company ceased its peat operations in 2020-21 and shifted focus to renewable energy.

Bookending this final presentation were corporate presentations by KPMG Sustainable Futures and Oracle, both of which reinforced the course’s emphasis on climate adaptation and sustainability, while also supplying examples of the trend, over the last several decades, of major multinational firms making their global or European headquarters in Dublin.

For Lauren Smith, a third-year student majoring in international business and marketing, this was her first consulting course, and she took a leading role in her group’s areas of focus during the project.

“I found it so fascinating being able to fully immerse myself in research and to learn about how companies operate overseas,” she says.

The final client presentation included a visit to the Mountlucas Wind Farm, operated by Bord na Móna and built on a former peat harvesting site about an hour from Dublin, providing students with exposure to a portion of Ireland’s natural landscape — with a distinctly contemporary technological touch.

This dual theme of the ancient alongside the modern continued at Croke Park, the Dublin stadium that’s home to traditional Gaelic sporting events with centuries-old roots like hurling and Gaelic football. Students met with both stadium management and representatives of the Gaelic Athletic Association, who presented on topics relating to sustainability and energy efficiency in managing and maintaining a century-old, large-scale structure in the midst of a major city.

Zach Dowhower, a fifth-year student, enjoyed the economic, environmental and international components of the course; in addition to his economics major, he’s minoring in environmental studies.

“It couldn’t have fit my educational puzzle any cleaner,” he said. “On top of that, I think getting the opportunity to consult in a real-world setting, having to meet crucial deadlines and have a deliverable that you’re proud of, provides a really unique opportunity for students.”

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Program Coordinator, Office for Experiential Learning