Case study: 'We all had different qualities and that made us a good group'
Hamaad Sajid, Orlaith Keys, Keith McCabe and Shaun Spelman | DIT
Fate played its hand when Keith McCabe and Hamaad Sajid both missed out on their CAO honours degree programmes in the year they left school.
Keith (22) from Ratoath, Co Meath and Hamaad, from Cavan town, met when they took the alternative route of a Level 6 certificate course in marketing - and therein lay the seeds of a winning team.
Ultimately, the compatible duo grew into a successful four-member partnership of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) BSc Marketing students, with Orlaith Keys, Navan, Co Meath and Shaun Spelman, a former pupil of Coláiste Choilm, Swords, Co Dublin completing the quartet.
In a first for Ireland, their final year project won the Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) International Case Study Competition, in Guatemala last spring. DIT is the first European business school to win since 2000.
Marketing was always Keith's career choice, and when he didn't get his honours degree course, he was happy to be guided to a Level 6 higher certificate course in DIT. Hamaad (22) says they forged an early bond in first year. "One thing led to another, we were performing well, while having fun at the same time," he says.
The two-year course allows for advanced entry to second or third year of degree programmes and Hamaad and Keith progressed to second year, where, Hamaad says, "we got to know everyone".
Having entered second year, they were given the option in third year of doing a work placement or going on an Erasmus+, and they both chose the work placement.
In third year, they met Orlaith who had also parachuted in from a higher certificate course.
While she had had her CAO hopes pinned on an honours business degree, her mother insisted that she also complete the Level 7/6 list "just in case".
"I was debating whether I should repeat the Leaving, but when I saw you could jump into Level 8 courses, I said 'I will do it'."
When groups were forming for a final year project, Shaun was onboard - and they went on to conquer the world.
"We all had different qualities and that made us into a good group," says Hamaad.
Keith passed on sage advice to students in his former school Ratoath College recently: "If you don't get your first choice, there is always another way."