Family affair for Derry business graduate duo

Celebrating Ulster University's winter graduation ceremonies 2017 at the Coleraine campus recently Father & Son Paul (left)  & Tony Ward graduating with an MBA. Picture John Murphy Aurora PA.
Celebrating Ulster University's winter graduation ceremonies 2017 at the Coleraine campus recently Father & Son Paul (left) & Tony Ward graduating with an MBA. Picture John Murphy Aurora PA.

It was a double celebration for a Derry man and his son as they both graduated recently with business degrees from Ulster University.

Paul Ward, a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years experience in the food industry, was encouraged by his two sons to consider third level education as they were exploring their own options.

When Tony, his eldest son, who currently works for Danske Bank, enrolled on the MBA course at Magee in order to gain a competitive edge in financial services, Paul signed up alongside him and has never looked back.

Paul, who is originally from Campsie but now based in Longford, said: “I have worked in the food industry most of my life – sourcing artisan breads from across Europe and adapting them for the Irish and UK markets.

“Although I run a successful business I never had the opportunity to progress to third level education and when I saw my sons considering an MBA I thought how well it would complement my own working life while giving me the chance to help support them at the same time.

“My second eldest son Ciaran ultimately ended up moving to study in England, but for Tony and I, Magee was the best option and we have never looked back.

“It was great being able to study alongside my son – I spent a lot of my career working away from home and this gave me the opportunity to do something great with Tony. There was a bit of competition between us and if I got a higher mark that him (which didn’t’ happen very often) I would really rub it in!”

Paul admits that balancing work, study and family life wasn’t always easy, but the sense of achievement made it worthwhile: “I feel very proud to be graduating from Ulster University. I nearly gave up after the first economics lecture because I thought I would never be able to do it but the MBA has given me a broader vision of business.”

Ulster University’s Executive MBA is open for applications for January 2018.

Further details can be found at:  www.ulster.ac.uk/campaigns/executive-mba or by emailing: e.griffin@ulster.ac.uk.