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Des O'Connor


“I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in December 2010 with an MSc in International Business. Having already completed my BSc in Business Management, the decision to continue my education has been justified as I am now employed as a graduate business developer. My MSc has given me a solid foundation for what I hope will be a long successful career in international business management.


I have been fortunate to begin my career at Mott MacDonald, a global management, engineering and development consultancy. The company employs more than 14,000 staff and we have offices in nearly 50 countries and work on various projects in over 140. I am based at the company headquarters in London. In my role I support the development director for the Europe and Africa region, providing financial analysis on how the region is performing. This includes quantitative analysis of current and future performance including contracted work, forward forecasting frameworks, key prospects and utilisation analysis of both the region and Mott MacDonald group. Furthermore, I monitor overhead and administration of business development funding applications which coincides with the annual business plan including financial forecasting.

Since I joined I have been involved in a number of exciting projects. One area I have been heavily involved in is helping the company achieve its objectives set out in the five year international development plan. The international development services taskforce at Mott MacDonald assist international financial institutions and development organisations in working towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).  

MDG look to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and ensure environmental sustainability.

Another interesting project that I have worked on was carrying out market research for the group to enter in to the Latin American market primarily into Panamá, Mexico and Brazil. The postgraduate degree obtained at Queen’s helped me significantly in this project. The modules on the course covered various topics in international business strategy such as the Fundamentals of International Business Strategy, International Marketing and Strategic Management Practice modules.


The MSc in International Business has increased my focus and perspectives on management in an international context and this has definitely given me the best prospects for future career success. I believe that the MSc has benefited me immensely and has broadened my conceptual ability, enabling me to be a real asset to any global organisation.


Students who begin this course must realise from the beginning that an MSc is demanding and there is a high requirement for reading numerous academic journals and other publications. My advice to new students would be to recommend that they work diligently throughout the year seeking advice and guidance from fellow classmates and lecturers. Begin research for the dissertation in semester one and keep reminding yourself that the postgraduate degree will be well worth it when the year is completed.


I think this course is a worthwhile pursuit in personal development and conceptual thinking. This course has many beneficial intricacies to one who wishes to begin their career in a multinational organisation. It not only taught me the fundamentals of international business strategy, it also broadened my critical knowledge, which was something I did not possess prior to commencing this course.”