Maureen Riolo (class of 2020) is a senior sales lead at GoStudent, a billion-dollar education platform. Here, she reflects on her time as a student of Trinity’s MSc in Entrepreneurship and how the course equipped her with the skills required to make the jump to such a high-growth, cutting-edge company.
If I had to pick my favourite aspect of Trinity Business School’s MSc in Entrepreneurship programme, I would have to say it was the speaker series. It allowed us direct access to successful entrepreneurs who had overcome the challenges of building a thriving business, and their insights were really useful.
Much of the course is very hands-on and practical in this way; I would say it’s a 50/50 split between traditional classroom learning and interacting with successful business people and asking them questions. The assignments too were anchored to real-world experiences and had real-world applications; it meant that when I finished the programme, I felt confident I could apply all the knowledge I had gained and forge my own path with specific entrepreneurial thinking.
There is only so much you can learn from books when it comes to being a success, and fortunately, the course was built with that in mind. When I joined the programme, I was young -- and to be honest, that was a little daunting at times! The people around me were older and had lots of industry experience. It was a bit intimidating, but it meant I also learned from my peers, not just the lecturers. People come from all around the world and from all walks of life to learn at Trinity. I feel like masters programmes in Ireland tend to attract more people with robust career experience, or at least that’s how it seemed when I compared my educational experience at Trinity to my friends who learned in other countries.
Trinity Business School is something of a melting pot of cultures, which in itself helps broaden your perspective, and helps you learn how to navigate interactions with people from different cultures, which is a really useful skill to have. The Trinity environment itself is a great place to network too -- there are lots of societies to attend that are related to entrepreneurship. I’m from Lyon originally but I lived in Dublin for five years. I had intended to stay in Ireland after my masters, but the pandemic made everything very uncertain.
So, when I got the offer to join the French arm of GoStudent, an Austrian edtech start-up, I packed up my things and returned to France for the next phase of the adventure, so to speak. GoStudent was founded in 2016 and has grown rapidly since then. There were less than 100 employees when I started, and I was part of the first employees opening the French market. France was one of the first markets GoStudent expanded into. Since then, it has expanded in 23 countries and more than 1,800 employees worldwide.
In fact, last year, it officially gained unicorn status and beginning of 2022 and hit the position of the highest valued K12 edtech company in Europe with a €3bn valuation. It’s a very exciting and agile environment to work in. Joining a scale-up requires tons of commitment, focus and teamwork, but seeing the fruits of your work as the organisation grows and grows is thrilling.
I’m a senior sales team leader at the company overseeing account managers here. It’s my job to help them achieve key goals and performance indicators, but also to ensure they approach their work at GoStudent with a growth mindset at all times and reach their full potential. I also help them engage with both the students and the parents of the students who use our service, which provides one-on-one virtual tutoring for primary and secondary students across a range of subjects.
I’ve applied many elements of my course learnings here at GoStudent, and the personal development that the masters helped me achieve has really stood to me. It taught me to be resilient and an innovative, entrepreneurial thinker, and also to take initiative. These are all traits that have served me well at GoStudent. The masters gave me the confidence to enter this world and I’m glad to be in it.