Tom Ryan

Tom Ryan

Asset Management at Grant Thornton LLP

Tom Ryan recently completed the UCD Diploma in Business Finance at Smurfit Executive Development and is about to start the Diploma in Strategy, Development & Innovation as he continues his journey towards the MSc in Business (Leadership & Management Practice).

Expanding your horizons and career prospects

Tom Ryan recently completed the UCD Diploma in Business Finance at Smurfit Executive Development and is about to start the Diploma in Strategy, Development & Innovation as he continues his journey towards the MSc in Business (Leadership & Management Practice).

The former Limerick senior hurler has covered a lot of ground in his relatively short career. Having graduated in economics and sociology from the University of Limerick in 2015 he soon found himself working for State Street in New York.

“I went to New York and was lucky enough to secure a role in State Street,” he recalls. “I worked for a year in their investor services business. It was a great experience. Exposure to the American work ethic was very good as well. The client I was dealing with was Goldman Sachs. To be working with them straight from college was great,”

He intended to stay longer than a single year, but visa complications led to him returning home to Ireland. “I went to work in the State Street Dublin office, but I was still part of the New York team.”

He switched to the Irish team after six months due to practicalities in terms of the time difference with New York and so on.

Having spent almost four years with State Street Tom decided it was time to move on and broaden his experience. “I felt I had learned as much as I could in the role,” he says. “I wanted to broaden my skillset. At the end of 2019 I moved to Royal Bank of Canada in a relationship management role. It was a bit different, but I was still dealing with clients in the investment services side of business. I did that for a year but decided to move on again to further my career.”

That led him to taking up a new role with Grant Thornton in Dublin. “I was lucky enough to get a role with Grant Thornton. GT are a professional services firm and within their Financial Services Advisory division (FSA) is an asset management and fund services advisory practice which suited my experience and skills. I am working with the Financial Services Advisory department, primarily on asset management.”

His decision to do the Diploma in Business Finance at Smurfit Executive Development was motivated by a desire to advance his career and influenced by the hard practicalities of life. “I have always been keen to upskill,” he explains. “And when you’re working in an industry like financial services just about everyone has a Masters qualification. I felt not having one could hinder my career progression. I knew I needed to do it for a while, it was just a question of waiting for the right time.”

That’s where the practicalities came in. “I knew I wasn’t going to be able to afford to take a year out of work to do a full-time Masters degree. I was living in Dublin with high rents and so on and it just wasn’t feasible from a financial point of view. That’s what led me to look at the part-time options.”

In looking at those options he was immediately drawn to the Smurfit School. “I chose Smurfit because of its excellent reputation. It is highly rated by all of the financial services employers, and I knew a qualification from there would look very well on my CV.”

But practicalities got in the way again. “I had thought of doing the Masters in Finance part-time but I would have still needed a lot of time off for that, one or two days a week. That wasn’t really an option either. I spoke to a family friend who had done a diploma in Smurfit Executive Development and that involved just two days off a month. That’s why I decided to do a diploma course.”

The Diploma in Business Finance programme has more than lived up to expectations. “I found the course brilliant,” he says. “I didn’t realise just how relevant it would be. I am currently working on a long term project with a large US Investment bank. We support them in meeting their statutory financial reporting requirements throughout the year. One of the first modules in the diploma was Corporate Financing Issues. I remember how useful the course was at the time given the work I was doing. I was learning a huge amount all of which I could relate back to my day to day work. Furthermore, the lecturers were incredibly knowledgeable, and the level of detail was great. The assignments were very beneficial as well. All the modules are really good and the faculty team are fantastic. They come from a range of backgrounds, one of our lecturers had worked with the Troika when they came into Ireland.”

He found the virtual learning experience slightly surreal. “Getting set up in the kitchen for the first module was a bit strange but Smurfit is so organised with everything it turned out very well. The IT support is great, the Zoom lectures were well set up. And even though we were not together, there was a lot of interaction between the students.”

He has no hesitation in recommending the course to others. “I would 100 per cent recommend it. I didn’t think I would learn as much as I did. I was able to relate everything back to what I was doing in work at the time. My initial intention was to do one diploma. But I found it was so good I have decided to do three to get the Masters in Business (Leadership & Management Practice). I am looking forward to starting the Strategy, Development & Innovation diploma in October. The third will probably be Corporate Governance.”


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