Career Profile: Working in International Business

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Colman Lydon is the VP, Life Sciences, at Everwise. He also serves as Chairman of the Irish International Business Network’s New York chapter. Colman previously built Fonepool, an international telecommunications services company.  The company has acquired by Tier 1 European telco.


When I submitted my CAO selection and did my Leaving Certificate in 1993, I could not have imagined that ten years later I would start a new company and move to New York. The advice I received at the time was to make my selection based on subjects and potential career paths that I would continue to find engaging throughout my undergraduate career and beyond graduation. This remains sound advice.

I attended Belvedere College in Dublin’s North City Centre, where I was taught how to learn. This may sound obvious, but we can only advance in life if we know how to learn throughout our academic and professional careers. Considering the rapid advances in technology and largely unpredictable global economic forces, the current college curriculum cannot possibly predict the future. However, it can certainly prepare you for the future. Make your course choices based on your ability to change and develop in your career. The areas of business where I have made a living, including internet retail and mobile phones, did not exist when I entered University College Dublin in 1993.


The CAO offered me courses both high and low on my preferred list. I settled on the Bachelor of Arts at UCD. This was lower on my list than other courses I was offered. However my early campus experience, along with the flexibility and array of subjects available, swayed me in favour of the UCD Arts’ experience. I selected Psychology, Italian, and Archaeology, as my three first-year subjects. There was the prospect of the Erasmus programme in Italy during my third year. This made my final degree selection of Italian and Archaeology an easy one.

These may seem unlikely subjects for someone who would go on to a career in international business. However I often draw on the knowledge and experience I gained during my undergraduate career. My college experience taught me to want to learn.

Irrespective of your career path, it is important to gain international experience early in your career. Ireland will always be an island. Therefore the best career opportunities often involve an international component. I participated in the Erasmus exchange programme, studying in Rome. I took advantage of the opportunity to work in Europe and the United States during summer breaks. Every Irish campus has international students. Socialise and study with international students to learn more about their languages, countries, and cultures.

Early Career

Upon graduating from UCD I went on to work for USIT. This was invaluable experience. I worked with a successful Irish company, while interacting regularly with international business and clients. In 2003, I started a company to provide local mobile phone service to people moving away from home for extended periods of time. Many of my customers were young Irish people going to live and work in the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Many more have been from an array of other countries around the world.

The best advice I received about going to college is to enjoy the social aspects and embrace the academic challenge. Your college experience will establish the framework for a bright future. is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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