Name: Hugo MacNeill
Degree: B.A. (1981) Economic and Social Studies
What are you doing with yourself these days?
I run Goldman Sachs investment banking business in Ireland but more importantly chair The Ireland Funds (a worldwide network which raises funds worldwide and in Ireland to back great projects all across the island of Ireland. Lots of Trinity graduates are involved especially in our recently established Young Leaders programmes).
Why did you choose your current career?
After a period in Oxford I really wanted to work in an international company with diverse range of nationalities working with broad range of companies. I started with Boston Consulting Group but moved to Goldman as wanted to work more on transactions which I could see implemented.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Apart from family mostly on Ireland Funds. It’s a fantastic organisation and you meet extraordinary range of people at their best in the various projects. I get great satisfaction working with the National Institute of Intellectual Disability (NIID) in Trinity which is one of the great stories of modern Ireland in the way it has transformed the lives of its students and their families and has massive potential and also Belvedere Youth Club which does amazing work with children in inner city Dublin.
What are your strongest memories of Trinity?
- In addition to great economics lecturers spending a year with Brendan Kennelly and David Norris studying Anglo Irish Literature.
- Watching Professor Brendan Kennelly and Senator and Professor Trevor West run a 400m race at 3am in College Park.
- Getting to know people from the North and trying to understand their viewpoint.
- Touring with the rugby team to Japan and Oxford/Cambridge and then welcoming them to Trinity.
- Trying cricket in the summer.
- Commons-never got to do the Latin grace!
Are you still in touch with other alumni?
Absolutely. In fact as I write this, tonight we have a reunion of our team that toured Japan.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Definitely in Ireland. I was in UK for 18 years before coming back. Hopefully more Ireland Fund type stuff.
Have you any advice for students or fellow alumni?
Study what you really like not what you think you should do. Think for yourself - the leaving cert rote learning has done enormous damage in this regard. The brightest person I ever met in business had studied classics at university. Develop a first class mind by studying what you love - then apply that mind to business or whatever. (Obviously if you want to be a doctor or an engineer you need to study these subjects).