Wednesday 17 January 2018

I was always streetwise, but a messer and a tearaway

Classroom Confidential

Bobby Kerr
Bobby Kerr

John Costello

He sucked at maths and accountancy, but ended up being one of the country's most recognisable businessman. Radio host, Dragon's Den star and entrepreneur Bobby Kerr spills the beans on his school.

Where were you schooled?

Castleknock College. I was a boarder.

Was your entrepreneurial spirit alive and kicking ?

I was always streetwise, but I definitely was not selling fireworks or Playboy in the schoolyard [laughs]. I was a bit of a messer, a joker and tearaway.

As a tearaway what type of stuff did you do?

We did all sorts of mad stuff [laughs]. We put fireworks under the teacher's car and played a lot of practical jokes.

And how was the academic side of things?

I liked history, geography, Irish and English. But that was it. I hated accounting, biology and all other languages. I struggled with maths. So when you only like four subjects it narrows down your chances of academic success.

The arrival of your report card must have been fun?

I remember the fear of sitting in front of my father with the report on his desk and lots of red circles highlighted. I am filled with dread just thinking about it!

And if your accounting teacher was told you would go on to be a successful businessman what would he have thought?

I think he would have cringed at the idea [laughs].

Were there any teachers that made a big impact?

A few. One was Mr Duckworth. I passed maths thanks to him. He was able to simplify the theorems for people like me.

What would you change if you were made Minister of Education for a day?

I think there should be a more practical business subject. It would have an element of marketing, sales, law and some accounting. I don't think children in school get a proper understanding of what to expect when it comes to business.

As a child of the '70s there must have been a plethora of fashion disasters?

In the '70s everyone was wearing elephant flares and platform shoes. We were fans of the Horslips and Rory Gallagher. So we wore the red and white cheesecloth shirts. My mother bought me a pair of straight-legged jeans. People looked at me like I had two heads!

Bobby Kerr hosts Down To Business on Newstalk every Saturday.

Irish Independent

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