Seven seniors were studying Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Ireland this summer in the midst of Great Britain’s vote to exit the European Union. The class was taught by associate professor of management Russell Crook, who says the vote provided a rich learning environment for his class.
“We talked about Brexit quite a bit,” Crook said. “The global markets reacted badly to it, but the jury is still out on Ireland.”
Patrick King, head of public affairs for the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, put Brexit into context for students during a tour of his offices, explaining that while Great Britain’s exit from the EU will strain business with Ireland’s largest trading partner, it might also drive more FDI to Ireland.
“Ireland will now be the only official English-speaking country in the EU,” Crook elaborates. “A lot of companies make their first moves to the UK because it is a larger domestic market, but Ireland might now be the recipient of new jobs from firms looking to expand into the EU that want to start in a place with language and other cultural similarities.”
On a trip to Ireland’s Industrial Development Authority, Niamh Breslin, the organization’s vice president, told students that attracting FDI has been a great job creation tool for Ireland and that he expects it to continue after Brexit.
Breslin’s talk taught senior Max Gavin the value of EU membership for Ireland in retaining FDI.
“The tax system was a good incentive, but what really made companies want to come to Ireland was the easy access to the EU and the highly educated workforce,” Gavin said.
In addition, students toured Olytico, a social media monitoring firm, and Kendlebell, a corporate telecommunications company, speaking with executives of both. The class also included cultural experiences such as a trip to the Cliffs of Moher and an overnight stay in Galway.