Spotlight 2017

Alumni of the Week - Ross O’Dwyer and Richard Barrett, Founders of Pundit Arena

16 Jan 2017
Alumni of the Week - Ross O’Dwyer and Richard Barrett

UCC alumni, Ross O’Dwyer and Richard Barrett are the founders of Pundit Arena. The ambitious pair met on the UCC IGNITE programme and went on to create Pundit Arena, a sports media website powered by articulate fans, and aspiring and experienced sports journalists.

Course/subjects studied at UCC

Ross: I studied a BComm at UCC and majored in marketing. My favourite modules were Entrepreneurship and Food Business.
Richard: 2008-2012 - BEd Sports Studies & P.E. & Irish. 2013- Ignite Business Innovation Programme

Best memory of UCC

Ross: I thought a lot about this and even discussed it with some of my best mates from college. There is simply way too many great memories to pick one. I guess that's a great thing!

Richard: Some of my best memories of UCC have to be the inter-varsity competitions all over Ireland with UCC Soccer. It was always a memorable and enjoyable affair, spending a few days away with my teammates representing the University on the national stage.
Following my degree, and moving onto the UCC Ignite Programme, my best memory is of winning the Ignite Business of The Year in 2014, and also being voted Peer of The Year by my colleagues on the same night. It was an incredible year, culminating in that fantastic night.

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?

Ross: My time at UCC taught me a lot, both in terms of education and life skills. Educationally, the BComm gave me a good all round knowledge of business. Life wise, UCC taught me to create my own opportunities and to work with others in executing those opportunities. Teamwork really is key. 
Richard: I owe a massive amount to UCC for a number of reasons. My undergraduate degree helped to mould me as a person and introduced me to a number of people with whom I am still friends today. Additionally, the Ignite Programme helped me to start my own business and provide me with a wealth of business knowledge and experience that I would have been lacking prior to starting the programme.

What is your advice to current UCC students?

Ross: Find out what you really enjoy doing in your life. Once you do that then you can turn what you enjoy doing into a career.

Richard: Degrees are a pre-requisite for most careers nowadays, so make sure you get that under your belt. After that, just get the head down, drive on and don't worry about failure; you only have to be right once.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?

Ross: Joe Bogue, Lawrence Dooley, Noel Woods and Eamon Curtin.

Richard: Without a doubt, Eamon Curtin of the Ignite Programme had (and continues to have) the most positive influence on me. Eamon introduced me to my business partner, Ross O'Dwyer, and instilled me with the confidence to run my own business and scale it internationally. Thankfully, Eamon's foresight means that Pundit Arena now has 460 writers located all over the world and 2.6 million monthly users. If you're reading this, thanks for everything Eamon.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?

Ross: I was involved in both the Soccer Club and the Commerce Society in my first couple of years at UCC.

Richard: I was heavily involved in UCC Soccer during my time in college, representing the club at every level. I'm proud to say that I remain involved today and am in my third year as Chairman of the UCC Soccer Alumni. The UCC Soccer Club is one that is very close to my heart.

Favourite UCC legend or superstition

Ross: Not walking on the quad and not walking over the crest entering the quad. I still do that whenever I'm in the college and think I always will!
Richard: It's a tough one but I think it's the "don't-walk-on-the-quad-or-you'll-fail-your-exams" superstition. I avoided it for four years and still managed to fail an exam...or two.

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