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A day in the life of Sean Keating

Sean Keating Vilicom Interview Telecom Jobs

A big thank you to Vilicom CEO, Sean Keating, for taking time to take part of our “A day in the life of” series.  Sean tells us how he came into his role, the advice he has for those in the industry and some insights to him as a leader.

  1. Where are you from?

I’m from Dublin, born and reared.


  1. Did you go to College and if so what did you study?

I’ve been to college a few times.  First time round was to do Electronics Engineering in DCU, a great place to study.  Ten years later I went to UCD to complete my MBA, where I learned that there’s a causal link between study and results.  A few years ago I was lucky to get onto a leadership programme in IMD in Lausanne.


  1. Favourite holiday destination and sport?

Hands down, the best family holiday we’ve had was in Venice.  It’s a beautiful city with wonderful culture, food and people.

For my favourite sport, it would be a toss-up between hurling and cycling.  Hurling because it’s such a beautiful sport when it’s played skilfully.  Cycling because participation is easy once you have a bike, I never quite made it as hurler.


  1. What’s still on your ‘bucket list’?

I love to do the Marmotte, a cycling event in the Alps, and travel in South America.


  1. What is your favourite movie?

I really like The Deer Hunter.  Besides the incredible performances by the cast, the portrayal of how ordinary people find the strength to carry on in extraordinary circumstances is very moving.


  1. Describe your personality in three words:

Friendly, impatient and industrious.


  1. What is your favourite App on your smartphone?

I love Sport-Tracker.  It’s a very old app that was created by former Nokia staff back in the day.  It’s still going on my Android phone after 12 years.


  1. Where was you first job?

Although I had half a dozen part time jobs through school and college, my first “proper” job was as an RF Engineer with Esat Digifone.  It was an incredible time to work with great people and we achieved a tremendous amount.  I was only there for three years, but I made some life-long friendships and learned so much.


  1. What are your thoughts on work / life balance?

It’s such an important thing.  With the right balance, work and performance life can mutually support and enhance each other.  It’s important to have the right amount of give and take between the two.


  1. Can you describe in one sentence what your company does?

We unleash the power of mobile connectivity to improve our customers’ lives and businesses.


  1. Can you describe in one sentence what it is you do?

I lead a team of skilled and diligent people to use the best technology to deliver our clients’ requirements.


  1. What is the best part of your job?

Without doubt it’s working with people; both customers and staff.  The people in Vilicom are fantastic.  It’s great to see young graduates join and develop to achieve their maximum potential.  It’s always rewarding to spend time with customers too.  Engineering is about solving challenges, and spending time with customers is a big part of that.


  1. What was the best career lesson that you have learned?

It’s important to be brave and take on new challenges.


  1. Any thoughts on the current health of the Irish telecoms sector?

Telecoms has been through a tough few years.  Revenues have fallen steeply and around 10,000 jobs, roughly 35% of the total, have been lost.

However, recent developments have been positive.  Operating margins have improved and the average return on capital has increased from zero to 6%.  The cost of a GB of mobile data has fallen by 95% since 2011, a remarkable achievement.  The story in fixed broadband is similar.

This has the potential to open up whole new markets.  5G will allow mobile operators tailor new solutions for industry and consumers.  The National Broadband Plan will see significant investment in our sector to eliminate the digital divide.  It’s an exciting time.


  1. What is your favourite saying or piece of advice for life in general?

“The world is only a blue bag. Knock a squeeze out of it when you can”.


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