Having taken a self-described “circuitous” route to his current role as Director at Bank of America, Mark Greville today runs global risk analytics technology for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
However, he is not the stereotypical banker. Mark is a vocal advocate for hiring graduates who bring diverse perspectives, skills and experiences—and he hires accordingly.
“Sometimes taking that circuitous route is helpful, because a lot of what is successful in business is brought about by diversity—diversity of thought, diversity of background and lots of other things,” says Mark. “We hire people who have studied, art, geography, Irish but who ended up working in banking. The roundabout route can end up enriching you and the business you work for."
Mark’s own pathway includes studying Maths and Economics at Maynooth, jobs in software engineering writing code, start-ups including a building a social network, singing and songwriting (for a living!), and working in tech at BT in the UK before landing at Bank of America.
Today, he’s a globetrotting fin-techie whose role involves using cutting-edge tech to calculate the risk on big portfolios, particularly US retail businesses.
“My background in maths and economics from Maynooth helped, and I had a lot of experience in technology. The crossover of technology and financial knowledge allowed me to move there and that’s how I ended up in banking—however unintentional it was.”
As an asylum seeker who came to Ireland from Malawi, Vimbai found herself in an Irish Direct Provision Centre. Today, she is a college graduate and Master's student who recently spoke up in a very public way on behalf of individuals living in direct provision.
After hearing negative comments from a caller on Joe Duffy’s radio programme LiveLine, she phoned in to give a first-person account of the system—attracting national attention to the conditions asylum seekers find themselves. Being in Direct Provision, Vimbai says, "requires a form of resilience because you’re stuck, you don’t have another option."
In telling her story, Vimbai also shed light on the contributions asylum seekers can make to Irish society. After all, Vimbai is in the process of earning her Master's in Social Science (Rights and Social Policy) at Maynooth, with the goal to use what she’s learning to influence decision-makers and ultimately, improve the integration process for the immigrant while also improving acceptance of immigrants across Irish society.
"I want to give back to Ireland. This place has given me so much. Apart from the Direct Provision and the processes of asylum that are grueling, I've gained a lot here and it would only make sense to give back," said Vimbai.
The Maynooth University alumnus today works at one of the most exciting companies in Dublin, Nuritas, which combines artificial intelligence and genomics to “unlock the hidden health benefits in food. It’s food as medicine,” Holton says.
Dublin-based Nuritas is mining peptides found in food and plants to tap their potential to treat disease and chronic illness.
"What's different about Nuritas is that we're pioneering the use of science and data in the food space. Right now, it's quite random how functional ingredients are discovered, and more often than not the active component is not known. At Nuritas we are combining the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to inform ingredient discovery. It’s fascinating work and I love it. My role is to collate all of our research activity and scientific outputs and communicate them to the world."
Therese, who completed her BSc in 2007 and a 2011 PhD in Genetics and Bioinformatics, credits Maynooth with helping her get where she is today.
"The Biology Department really instilled the importance of basic research, along with encouraging us to take education further – that I really could do a PhD afterwards. It's fantastic to promote that belief in yourself. I don’t know if it’s the same at other universities, but I really got that sense from Biology Department at Maynooth."
An expert in privacy and surveillance, Dr Murphy is on the legal frontlines of technology and data protection. When she’s not teaching information privacy law to Master's students or civil liberties law and media law to undergraduates in the MU Law Department, she's busy probing the latest questions facing EU lawmakers around the intersection of privacy law and technology.
In fact, she's working on a book titled, Language, Power, and Surveillance, which questions how the language used to describe surveillance measures to the public – through (deliberately?) ambiguous and complex legal language – can allow politicians, companies and governments to "facilitate the quiet appropriation of power."
"I'm particularly interested in thi ntersection between law and technology, and what role human rights might play in that interaction," Maria says. "Technology offers us many, many benefits, but also risks, so we need to calculate those in a way that best helps the core golas of democratic society."
Graduates from her classes, meanwhile, are taking what they’ve learned to law firms like Matheson's, to newly created corporate posts as data protection officers, and to governments.
Master's student Clíodhna Duffy, prepping for a career in broadcasting and journalism, is committed to showing how the Irish language is alive and well – and how it can flourish – in the age of Twitter and Instagram. Her thesis, "New Technology as an instrument in the Current Revival of the Irish Language," is part of her Master's in Nua Ghaeilge coursework. She came to the programme having completed her undergraduate degree at MU in Media Studies and Nua Ghaeilge and with support from a Maynooth Taught Master’s Alumni Scholarship. The course, she said, is giving her the skills and confidence to be ready for the camera and to think on her feet.
Dr Sarah Arnold of the MU Department of Media Studies is pushing to make sure new technologies—whether they be video games or streaming service algorithms—aren’t designed for men alone. Whether it’s VR (virtual reality) headsets being made to fit only male heads, or the proliferation of maledecision-makers in the tech companies designing such products, or content pushing based on the consumer’s gender, Sarah’s research is challenging the media and tech industries to think differently.
Professor Browne is a world-leading scholar in the geographies of sexualities and genders. Recently awarded a European Research Council grant, Kath is seeking to understand the experiences of rapid changes to sexual and gender rights in the 21st century, including an exploration of groups and organisations that resist sexual and gendered equalities. It is a ground-breaking, five-year investigation that aims to effect positive social change.
A native of India, Dr Abhinay Puvvala came to Maynooth after finishing his PhD to take the EU-funded role of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow in one of the most cutting-edge research groups in Ireland (and, indeed, internationally).
The Maynooth University Technology Adoption Group, led by Professor Brian Donnellan and based in the Innovation Value Institute and the Maynooth University School of Business, is pioneering new approaches to the adoption of technology. Outdated approaches that don’t take into account how humans interact with technology, how a business model might actually seize or market the technology, or the ethical challenges it may pose mean poor adoption of the technology and unrealised value for the organisation, full stop.
"It feels like technological innovation is overrated," Abhinay says. "Companies focus on it but it’s often the business model that gets the value out of it, or doesn’t. You can always reverse engineer the technology."
Abhinay is working directly with a multinational semiconductor company Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) on just this challenge--helping guide it through a business model transition by looking at the processes and competencies needed to capture value from technological innovation.
"It’s not something a researcher typically gets to see from such close quarters. I can see the evolution of where they (ADI) were 12 months ago and where they are today. You don’t get access like that very often.” Other projects the group is taking on relate to Autonomous Vehicles, Organicity – Living Lab, and Smart Cities.