By Claire Quinn, Communications and PR Officer SETU
SETU Master’s Degree: With Waterford already securely in his pocket, Paul Dower, owner of Waterford In Your Pocket, now proudly holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Digital Marketing Practice degree from South East Technological University (SETU).
Conferring ceremonies, hosted at the SETU Arena in Waterford on Wednesday afternoon, saw Paul join a cohort of over 2,100 graduates celebrating their academic achievements at SETU in Waterford and Carlow this week.
With his hard-earned degree in hand, Paul, a devoted Déise man, said, “Getting your final results is an amazing feeling, but there is nothing like graduation day and that feeling of achievement that you can celebrate with your peers.”
Reflecting on his unconventional educational journey, Paul shared how after facing setbacks in his Leaving Certificate, he relocated to Munich, Germany, where he worked as an industrial painter for over 14 years.
“When I returned home with my wife and two kids the opportunity arose to start a business course at the Adult Education Centre then based in College Street. From there I went to WIT, now SETU, where I successfully completed a BA(H) in International Business,” Paul explained.
Graduating with a BA(H) in International Business in 2009 was one of Paul’s most defining moments in life. “Here was a 36-year-old who failed his Leaving Cert and yet I was walking out the door with a degree. It changed my life. It changed the way I looked at things, how I tried to understand things and most of all taught me that what you are looking for is out there just go get it,” said Paul.
Subsequently, he began an MBS in Internationalisation in 2009 but faced health issues that prevented its completion.
Paul holds Waterford and SETU Master’s Degree in his Pocket
Undeterred, Paul attained various post-graduate certs before establishing Waterford In Your Pocket in 2013, which has gone from strength to strength. His dedication to self-improvement led him to embrace the emerging trend of social media.
“I started using social media when it was in its infancy, writing articles on the subject and giving workshops through the LEOs of Waterford and further afield,” Paul explained.
However, at this time there were no formal accreditations in the subject. “Slowly courses became available and when the MSc In Digital Marketing Practice became available, I jumped on board,” he said.
The SETU Waterford MSc in Digital Marketing Practice is an innovative postgraduate programme that offers existing undergraduate students, graduates currently in the workplace, and international students, the opportunity to advance their specialist knowledge and develop their competencies in the growing domain of digital marketing. Paul was particularly attracted to the postgraduate programme given the benefits for his business.
While balancing the demands of study and self-employment, Paul also works with the local Lions Club and remains active as chair of the board of a local Credit Union.
Reflecting on his time at SETU, Paul said, “Everyone at SETU was just amazing. Even at the time I was having health issues, they were all approachable and understanding. Every lecturer was so kind with their time and their patience.
“I’ve met so many new people in my time at SETU for which I am grateful. It is network building that has been the most rewarding and is such an important part of life.”
Offering advice to current students, Paul stressed the significance of using knowledge to read between the lines. “Education gives you knowledge, which is something special, but it is how you use that knowledge that is the important part.
“My business has grown over the past few years and that is the trajectory that I want to keep going on. I often used to get asked in my workshops what my qualifications were, and I could only say marketing and experience but now I can say a lot more than that,” reflected Paul.