Terenure PPU – Alumni in Focus – Mark Hamilton (Class of 2003)

  • Years attending Terenure College?

I was extremely lucky to have attended Terenure College from 1997 – 2003!

  • Current company and position?

I recently joined Korn Ferry Ireland as a Managing Consultant specialising in search. Before joining Korn Ferry, I worked in BDO for 12 fantastic years, where I trained as a Chartered Accountant in Corporate Finance & Recovery, before progressing to my most recent role as Head of Business Development.

  • Tell us about your business/company…

Korn Ferry is the world’s largest organisational consulting firm with over 8,500 employees across 54 countries. Korn Ferry was established in Ireland in 2017 and now has over 50 full time employees offering a full suite of organisational solutions to the market.

  1. Organisation Strategy
  2. Assessment & Succession
  3. Talent Acquisition – Executive Search
  4. Leadership & Professional Development
  5. Rewards & Benefits
  • Company Employees – What led you to join the company and what issues does the company look to solve?

After a successful career and experience with BDO, under the guidance of Michael Costello, Stewart Dunne, Ciaran Medlar and all my former colleagues, it was time for a new challenge, and the opportunity to join a firm of the stature of Korn Ferry and challenge myself in a relatively new field, appealed to me greatly.

Under the leadership of Bob Casey, I have been tasked with contributing to the continued growth of the Irish business and supporting clients in finding the best talent across a broad range of industries, with a specialism in financial and professional services.

As I mention above, Korn Ferry is a global firm that enables people and organisations to exceed their potential. We work with our clients to design optimal organisation structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward and motivate their workforce, while developing professionals as they navigate and advance their careers.

I joined Korn Ferry in the summer, and I am continuing to familiarise myself with my new environment – I could not be happier! I am very lucky to work with some extremely intelligent / commercial people across multiple sectors internationally, providing fantastic talent solutions to amazing businesses (and powerful global brands). Despite moving into ‘Search’ being a career pivot for myself, the fundamentals, and behaviours needed for this position remained very aligned to what I feel are my key strengths. I am very client focused and I am passionate about their success and development.

  • Favourite Terenure College memory?

My time at Terenure College is filled with happy memories, but how can I look past winning the Leinster Schools Senior Cup in 2003! I started as loose head prop in a very close knit (and extremely talented) team who beat our rivals St. Marys College in the final on St. Patricks Day.

We also went unbeaten in Leinster the whole season which was fantastic for us. The final was such a special occasion! The feeling at the final whistle in the Old Lansdowne Road is something I will never forget. It is hard to believe it is 18 years ago. Roll on the 20-year reunion!

The rugby tour to New Zealand was also very special!

  • Have you found the Terenure College community was a benefit to you inyour career? Example?

The simple answer is YES! The Terenure College community has been a huge benefit to my career but also to my personal life. There is a huge sense of community amongst the past pupils, and I personally have really benefited from that. In business or socially, meeting an alumnus of Terenure College means that the barrier is broken immediately. There is always a friendly face and something to talk about!

I would urge anyone considering getting involved in the Terenure College PPU or reconnecting to the Terenure College Community to do so; the rewards are much greater than the efforts involved! Just pick up the phone to a past pupil, contact the PPU to volunteer, support the PPU events or just wander down to Terenure College RFC for a game, you will not regret it!

  • If you were Minister for Finance for a day, what change would you make?

That is a tough one. In my opinion, the government should be doing more to encourage start-up businesses in Ireland. I’d allocate more capital to the existing funds and incentives – that money will pay itself back in the future in terms of jobs and taxes.

On a personal level, I’d simplify the various benefits, reliefs etc. available to parents. As a new parent myself and notwithstanding my background, its not easy to figure out what’s available and how to get it.

  • What’s an interesting fact people may not know about you?

I had no clue what to say here and when I sought my family’s opinion, nothing interesting came back, just embarrassing stories!

I guess something that not many people know about me is that I sit on the board of a NASDAQ listed PLC, Nutriband Inc. (NTRB), who are primarily engaged in the development of a portfolio of transdermal pharmaceutical products. It is a far cry from Terenure College, but my involvement actually originated via a Terenure College past pupil and current CEO Gareth Sheridan who asked me to get involved several years ago. The experience is invaluable, and I look forward to the continued success of the company. I also look forward to further developing my own board involvements into the future.

Aside from the above, and some people may find it hard to believe, but I actually used to have a head of hair….and a very curly head of hair at that! I’ll save the photos for another time.

  • If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Tough question. In my personal life, I unfortunately lost a close friend to cancer in 2013 (aged 29) and it jolted me into realising how short life is. Treat people the way you want to be treated, with honesty, empathy, respect and integrity. Separately, never forget to make time for family, friends, and yourself. Some people forget the last one.

In my professional career, two lessons that have really stuck are:

  1. Be resilient. You will inevitably encounter setbacks throughout your career; but I honestly believe that if you maintain the core values of honesty, respect, empathy, integrity and combine them with a positive work ethic, you can never go too far wrong. Do not forget to ask for help when needed.
  2. The next lesson (and again linked to the above) is knowing the value and importance of your own personal brand. Your own brand and profile (online and otherwise) will stick with you the whole of your career. I suppose the lesson is just to keep mindful of that. Ireland is small and the world continues to get smaller; there is a good chance that you will come across people you are dealing with today at some point again in the future. How do you want to be remembered? We have all heard it before, but it is true that “people will forget what you said, people may forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
  • How can people best access you and your business?

Take a look at www.kornferry.com and please just give me a call on 087 6432 684 (or pop me an e-mail to mark.hamilton@kornferry.com). I genuinely welcome all and any connections and am always open to a chat, a coffee or even something stronger! Otherwise, pop down to Terenure College RFC for a match and we will certainly run into each other.

With my Terenure College RFC hat on, 1ST XV Assistant Captain Harrison Brewer has launched his fantastic new coffee venture UP@Brews at Lakelands which has been the spot of many a coffee catch-up with Terenure College Alumni. I would urge you to get down and visit, there is always a friendly face to catch up with.