From Michelin Star Restauranteur to iheed Education Advisor. We look at the career journey of James, one of iheed's leading Student Advisors.
Before working at iheed my background was in hospitality. Having worked in bars and restaurants for many years since my early student days; in 2015, along with my best friend, we opened a restaurant in the remote fishing village of Baltimore, on the South West coast of Ireland. After 3 years, the restaurant was awarded a Michelin Star. However, having spent 4 years living in one of the remotest parts of the country; in 2019, I resigned from the business to return to my hometown of Dublin.
Leaving the business was a difficult decision to take; it was made in part due to the struggle of adapting to rural living and a strong desire to return to an urban environment, not to mention friends and family in Dublin. A love for travel and adventure had brought me to Baltimore. So when, on returning to Dublin, an opportunity presented itself to spend two months in India as an Education Consultant, advising 3rd level students on opportunities to study in Ireland, I jumped at the chance. This opportunity gave me my first insight into the education industry.
Following the closure of the application window for the 2019/2020 Academic Year in Ireland, I became aware of iheed, an online medical education organisation at an exciting stage of its growth cycle that was hiring as part of a rapid expansion into new markets. I was eager to continue my development into a new industry, having only ever worked in the hospitality sector. When the role as an Education Advisor at iheed presented itself, I immediately applied. With my recent experience of the third-level education industry, I was excited by iheed’s niche position in the growing online education sector. iheed ticked a lot of boxes for me; it is an education technology organisation at an exciting stage in its evolution, with a truly global market. One of iheed’s core missions, to help healthcare professionals make a greater impact and improve patient outcomes globally for rising chronic and non-communicable diseases, greatly appealed to me.
I started at iheed in August 2019. As an Education Advisor, I am the person who gives guidance to doctors and other health care workers, interested in our postgraduate education programmes; advising them on what to expect from each programme, methods of delivery and assessment, learning outcomes, global accreditation, application process and enrolment. In the course of any given day, I can talk to doctors, by phone, at each corner of the globe, from Kuwait to Malaysia, Australia, India, Japan, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and even the tiny island of Ascension in the Southern Atlantic ocean to mention a just a few countries.
Having now spent over half of my time with iheed, working from my dining table at home, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I am amazed at how well the organisation can continue to build and deliver, to the very highest standards, world-beating education opportunities to a global audience of healthcare workers, while nurturing and building on partnerships with world-class medical schools.
Prior to moving from the office to work from my dining table during the coronavirus age, the first thing that stood out to me most at iheed was the warm atmosphere generated by my high-performing and extremely affable colleagues. Having had the chance to steer the relentless challenges of running and growing a business, I know that a company is only as good as its people. The atmosphere, support, encouragement, and guidance start from the top and is implemented by design at iheed. There is a true team spirit alive at iheed and while I look up to and take direction from the senior management team, I have always felt fully involved; trusted and encouraged to share ideas and show initiative.
Admittedly, I was nervous moving to a new industry, with a fear that perhaps I lacked transferrable skills and that the skills I had were too specific to the hospitality industry. I quickly learned that this was not the case. From the moment I walked through the front door of iheed, I felt welcomed, supported and inspired by the product and opportunity for growth.
I believe that this same warmth and enthusiasm is extended fully to each and every student that undertakes an iheed education programme. They are nurtured by a great team of people at iheed and the exemplary word of mouth and high level of student referrals speaks volumes about their positive study experience.