Day 4 Commerce Week: Hastings Hotels and Carson McDowell

The day began with a visit to the Europa Hotel, owned by the Hastings Hotel group. We were greeted by Howard Hastings  himself, who had travelled from Fermanagh to speak to us. Mr Hastings gave us an introduction to the world of hospitality as well as introducing Hastings’ Head of Human Resources who discussed the recruitment process and various jobs available within the hospitality sector. Following this, we were given a tour of the Europa Hotel, visiting the Titanic, Executive and Classic Suites. This was a genuinely interesting insight to the industry, however, a further highlight of the experience was receiving a 'mock tail' master class from Head bartender, Barry-James who taught us how to create a 'Winter-Warmer' – a non-alcoholic refreshment! A special thanks must go to Mr Hastings and his team for giving up their valuable time to talk to us and for making the session so engaging and enjoyable.

The afternoon’s experience was with leading Belfast law firm, Carson McDowell. On arrival we were greeted by Dawson McConkey, one of the firm’s partners. He gave us an insight into the life of a solicitor and the qualifications necessary to pursue a career in law. The main part of the experience was a task, much like the "Team Schools’ Cup VS Team Medallion" earlier in the week. This task involved analysing a situation where a fictional company, ‘BigBull’, was ‘cyber-attacked’ by a 'mysterious' person writing a website that was disclosing information that could seriously affect the firm. The two teams had to negotiate a deal that caused the website to be taken down in return for a large compensation fee.  After 'intense' negotiations the teams failed to reach an agreement which led to the first ever walkout during a negotiation at Carson McDowell work experience! Carson McDowell is one of the top law firms in Northern Ireland and it was an amazing opportunity to see the company. Thanks to Dawson and his team for giving their team to speak to us.

Tomorrow is the final day of the 'Best of Business' week; the group is looking forward to visiting Almac Group Limited and Moy Park.

David Mitchell 

Howard Hastings presenting to the boys at Europa Hotel 2

Howard Hastings presenting to the boys at Europa Hotel

Carson McDowell 2

Carson McDowell