How Billy Dardis combines professional rugby with consulting

15 January 2021 4 min. read
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Nobody is defined solely by their job, and consultants are no exception to this, chasing a range of different interests in their spare time. Few can boast quite as demanding a schedule as BearingPoint Intern Billy Dardis, who is not only juggling a Master’s Degree with work – but also the hopes of Ireland’s rugby 7s team, who he is captaining during a crunch campaign to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics later in the year. 

Ireland finished third at the 2019 Rugby Europe qualifying tournament to play at the Olympic Games, which were then scheduled for the summer of 2020. With this result, they failed to gain an automatic berth in Tokyo’s tournament, but gained a spot in the final inter-continental playoff tournament for the last qualifying spot. Since then, the global coronavirus pandemic has upended the sporting calendar, so that mini-tournament is still due to take place later this year.

While many athletes spent the lockdown frustrated by a lack of activity, Ireland Captain Billy Dardis treated the year-long hiatus as an opportunity to build other aspects of his CV. Studying a Master’s in Management Consultancy from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, as a part-time student, he was due to complete this module of my studies in the summer of 2021, however, the global pandemic presented me with an opportunity to gain experience in the consulting space and expose myself to some new challenges. At the same time, the postponement of the Olympics also opened a window to both study, and accrue industry experience with international consulting firm BearingPoint

Billy Dardis, People & Strategy Intern, BearingPoint

“BearingPoint was fantastic to accommodate me on such short notice,” Dardis explained on the firm’s website. “The company immediately demonstrated its technology and HR capabilities with a very efficient onboarding process. I got the chance to meet my new team, the People & Strategy team, and learn about what they did and the projects they were working on.” 

His first project entailed the re-development of a skills matrix that highlighted the necessary skills to succeed at different levels within the firm and the relevant training courses required. According to Dardis, it was “the perfect opportunity” to network, learn the many skills required to succeed in consulting, and create something of value for BearingPoint’s learning and development programme in the process. 

“I had the opportunity to work on a project that was more in line with my sporting background,” he recalled. “As BearingPoint is the Official Innovation Partner of Leinster Rugby, I was fortunate to be part of a team facilitating the ‘Fans on Screens’ initiative for Leinster’s opening games behind closed doors. We created a virtual stand for supporters using Microsoft Teams which was aired on the big screens in the Aviva Stadium and on Eir Sport. I also had the pleasure of doing some half-time punditry each weekend for the games, posing as experts to give our analysis of the games. It was great to be a part of the return of sport in Ireland and bring some excitement and joy to Leinster supporters, both young and old.”

While the internship with BearingPoint was initially supposed to conclude at the end of August, the firm allowed Dardis to continue its involvement on a part-time basis. He was keen to finish what I started, especially regarding the Digital Leaders Study. The work assessed the digital maturity of over fifty Irish companies across four dimensions: digital marketing, digital product experience, E-CRM and E-Commerce. 

“The annual report is the foundation for a lot of work that BearingPoint do and so it was brilliant for me to be able to contribute to the firm in a way that will hopefully add value in the future… I was delighted to be able to stay involved with BearingPoint as I look to balance my commitments to training, study and work over the coming months. I look forward to continually learning from all the great people in this firm and enjoying the challenges and excitement of working in such a brilliant organisation.” 

For now the coming months at least, Dardis looks set to focus on his studies and sport, though. In particular, the repechage tournament for the Tokyo Olympic Games will take place in Monaco on 19-20 June. Managed by Anthony Eddy, Ireland will contest the Men’s tournament alongside Brazil, Chile, China, France, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Mexico, Samoa, Tonga, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The make or break games promise to test Ireland to their fullest, but having also captained the team at the 2019 Hong Kong Sevens qualifier, where Ireland won the tournament to qualify to play as a “core team” on the 2019–20 World Rugby Sevens Series, Dardis will have plenty of experience to draw on to address that pressure.

Similarly, his time with BearingPoint will hopefully supply him with plenty of experience for whatever comes next. Recently he told about his studies and intern work, “As I matured, I began to realise how important it was to set yourself up for when rugby does come to an end so that you can make that transition smoother and equip yourself with the tools to attain a good job, a job that you enjoy and one that will give you the life you dream about.”