From Quincy To Dublin and Beyond

From Quincy To Dublin and Beyond

Education can be achieved through different avenues. Traditionally, education is viewed to come from a formal classroom setting with instructors, desks, paper, textbooks and Powerpoint slides. Recently, education has shown up in a new arena of self-study via on-demand and online learning, which is wreaking havoc on our traditional education models and assessment.


However, education through hands-on experiences has always been hailed as a desirable form of learning. In early days, hands-on learning was achieved through apprentice arrangements. Given the global economy we now live in, there is no better way to learn about international business than to experience it by traveling abroad.
Picture Right: Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland

Culture Defined

Culture can be defined and described in textbooks, however, to truly understand the culture, you must immerse yourself in that environment. So that is exactly what we did. The ENC Business Department traveled 2,989 miles with 11 students to Ireland. This experience is part of ENC’s global travel option where students become quickly immersed in a culture, business climate and the nuances of what Ireland has to offer.

History and Business Collide

Ireland is a country rich in history and full of business potential. We had the privilege of spending time researching their major historical events, their government structure and how their laws are enacted and enforced. As our students experienced Ireland during Spring Break, they began to understand Ireland and the Irish people. They also immediately discovered that the Irish understand their reliance on tourism and as a result are extremely welcoming to travelers. Every presentation or meeting starts off with, “you are very welcome,” which echoes their national reputation of being the land of a thousand welcomes.

Risk and Change

When talking with the Irish locals, students would immediately notice their resilience. They are a proud people living in a small land of limited resources. They are heavily dependent on tourism and their European affiliation. However, they live on an island, which enables them to be separate and to do things differently. They understand their history but embrace risk and change – not as a penalty that must be paid, but as an opportunity to be exploited and welcomed.

ENC Students in boardroom of William Fry – Ireland’s leading corporate law firm

Cultural Survival

Everyone in Ireland, educated or uneducated, high, middle or low class, is acutely aware of their recent economic struggle after the Financial Crisis and their debt to the global financiers, the IMF. Their dependence on tourism was never as loudly acknowledged as when that tourism dried up due to the global crisis. They have learned, the hard way, that sustainability, and diversification in tourism are crucial for their survival. Small towns in Killarney provide an example of the way forward.

Pride and Confidence

While the Irish are rooted in history, they are equally adept at branching out into the unknown future with hope, fostering relationships abroad to entice new business to make a home in their country and building infrastructure to support the next phase in Ireland’s history. Their heritage is uniquely their own so they can tout a history unlike any other. Their castles may be in ruins but their pride and confidence in the future is rock solid.

To learn more about ENC’s Business department and the opportunities students have at ENC to engage today’s business culture, please feel free to contact Professor Kellee Birnstiel at or download the Business Department’s eBook.

Written by Kellee Birnstiel

Kellee Birnstiel is chair of the Business Department and brings over 20 years of business experience to the classroom. Kellee was a Vice President of State Street Bank and Trust Co. with roles ranging from individual contributor to manager. During her time with State Street, Kellee gained tremendous exposure and experience in project management of Y2K, in leading the business continuity team during the September 11th terrorist attack, in managing a site office for the US Securities Services division, in co-publishing a white paper on continuous operations within the Financial Services industry, in analyzing and implementing a large merger and acquisition of Deutsche Bank’s Securities Services division. After 15 years in the corporate world, Kellee left to join a startup technology and management consulting firm where she played an integral role in growing the business and building the infrastructure.

Posted by on March 26, 2015