Author Archives: Demilade

Demi’s Basic Business Questions: What Has Been The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Trinity?

We are back to college, after a whirlwind semester of online exams, “No Detriment” campaigns, and a heavy load of correspondence from the Provost, the library, and everyone in between. Students recognize the impact of COVID 19 and how it has affected student learning at Trinity. However, COVID 19 has had an economic impact on Trinity too and it continues to have one.

Firstly, the Book of Kells. Access to the Book of Kells is free for Trinity students, this may lead us to forget the value of it. According to Trinity’s Chief Operating Officer, the Book of Kells makes Trinity on average €12 million per year. This includes the gift shop and ticket admission. Not only this but there are indirect Trinity beneficiaries to this tourism that the Book of Kells attracts. Every Arts student can attest that there is at least a 2:10 tourist to student ratio on the queue to Perch café. The same is for tourists purchasing lunch at the Buttery. Trinity Tours also operates on campus and a large part of the income from these is given to Trinity.

As well as this, the inevitability of the reduction in international students will have a significant economic impact on Trinity. Currently, international students pay fees of almost €19,000 per year. International students may be discouraged from coming abroad due to fears of contracting the virus through their travels or because of a lack of exposure to the college over the course of the last academic year. Even prospective students may have intended to visit Trinity and get a deeper understanding of the culture on campus, but COVID 19 disrupted this. A point was made by the University Times about the competitiveness of Irish universities, including Trinity being impacted by online learning. They reference the fact that the chair of Science Foundation Ireland argues that online learning is not as strong in Ireland as it is elsewhere. With this continued emphasis on online teaching all around the world, if Trinity is not seen as a world leader from that vantage point, Trinity will lose admission from international students who saw themselves at Trinity due to its world-class teaching, as they are no longer world leaders in that area.

Lastly, the effect on accommodation is another economic impact of COVID 19 on Trinity. Students were instructed last semester before the summer break to vacate student accommodation unless they had to stay on due to the risk of homelessness or for critical research. This measure lost Trinity revenue as residents of Trinity Halls and Trinity campus rooms were given a lump sum to compensate for this. Trinity earns revenue through renting out its accommodation to young people visiting Ireland to learn Irish. For example, students of ATC Language school were due to be housed in Trinity Halls for their summer English-learning program, with Trinity earning income from this venture.

To conclude, not only has COVID 19 had an academic impact on Trinity, it has had an economic impact soon. In the coming months, let us hope that the situation improves.

If you have any basic business questions you are interested in me tackling, please do not hesitate to send me an email: dadenira@tcd.ie

Yours in Learning,

Demilade

Demi’s Basic Business Questions: What is Economics?

Welcome back to college and the first of “Demi’s Basic Business Questions” for this academic year. This week we’re going to be taking a look at uncovering one of the various “business” subjects and make them a mystery no more. Who knows? Maybe knowing the difference between all of them will encourage you to join me in my Intermediate Economics module this semester or go for that Big 4 Assurance internship position.

The textbook definition for Economics is the study of how society uses its scarce resources. What are our scarce resources you may ask? Our money is scarce. Our time is scarce. Land is scarce. So much is scarce. Economics, in studying our choices, is studying human behaviour; Economics is a social science and therefore it is unpredictable. 

Economics is split into two parts – macroeconomics and microeconomics. 

Macroeconomics concerns the big players. That’s our government, that’s the European Union, the World Trade Organisation. Macroeconomics looks at how these big players make decisions in relation to their money. It studies the benefits of international trade, it suggests metrics for measuring how well the economy in a country is doing (GDP, GNP etc. etc. ) and reminds us that the solution is not to print more money. Microeconomics looks at how businesses make decisions in relation to money and how they interact with consumers. 

Microeconomics has a very strong focus on individual behaviour. It makes you open your eyes a bit too. Take for example the law of diminishing marginal utility. It tells us that when you eat several chocolate bars in a certain period of time, let’s say an hour, it gets to the point where eating subsequent bars is less satisfying. Practically, it gives us a textbook evidence for why we instinctively know when to “save it for later”. It also talks us through how hand sanitisers could cost up to 16 euro at the start of lockdown. Supply and demand. As demand increases, price increases. Prices are rarely based solely on the worth of a good. Microeconomics teaches us about perfect competition and how if you increase the price of your oranges on your Moore Street stand, you’re in trouble.

Working as an economist can mean so much. It can mean devoting yourself to academia and producing memorable work like “The Economics of Happiness”. It can mean working within a tech company and advising on how the company can work best to maximise their profits while in competition with other sellers. Economists can work in economic think tanks, predict trends such as unemployment and recession. Economists can advise the government on their spending (Budget 2021 anyone?). In short, economists can do a lot. 

To conclude, Economics is quite cool.

If you have any basic business questions you are interested in me tackling, please do not hesitate to send me on an email: dadenira@tcd.ie

Yours in Learning,

Demilade

Demi’s Basic Business Questions: What is Commercial Awareness?

This week instead of looking to myself for the answer to your questions, I looked to you for the answer to the meaning of Commercial Awareness. Commercial awareness is a phrase I’ve been seeing lately all over commercial law applications and all over financial and professional services sectors too. My idea of commercial awareness has always been wishy-washy and recently I’ve wanted to gain a more succinct definition.

To achieve my objective, I asked a few students from Trinity and UCD how they would define commercial awareness. 

I spoke to students from business backgrounds who gave exhaustive responses:

 “Being cognisant of the way businesses operate and affect our lives and how we affect businesses” (1st Year BESS), 

“..being able to tack together different current affair stories and making real sense of them for your industry,” (2nd Year Law and Business)

“..understanding the external environment that impacts the specific industry, i.e the Political. Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental factors (PESTLE)..” (1st Year Global Business)

I also spoke to law students like myself, who kept things short and simple:

“..an understanding of how businesses work”

“Knowledge of a business or company, which is important if you want to get recruited by that company!”

I spoke to older students whose responses were.. interesting, to say the least:

“It means being aware, commercially of course.” (3rd Year Biomedical Sciences)

“Being able to tell the difference between all the ads or commercials on TV” (3rd Year Children’s and General Nursing)

Not only was I able to get student insight, I was able to get some industry perspective on commercial awareness too. My application for Legal Cheek’s Commercial Awareness Question Time with Matheson, Barbri, Pinsent Masons and Arthur Cox was successful so I was invited to attend the event at the Law Society.

The Commercial Awareness Question Time taught me the wide range of issues that commercial awareness encompasses. It ranges from having an in-depth knowledge of what the implications of Brexit are on the legal sector to knowing that a company is a brand that has to sell and distinguish itself from competitors. 

Nearing the end of my search for “commercial awareness”, I’ve come to the realization that commercial awareness is as broad or as succinct a definition as we want it to be. It really is as simple as taking a little time out of your week to become “..aware, commercially of course” by following some financial institutions, newspapers or even keeping up with my Basic Business Questions.

If you have any more Basic Business Questions you are interested in me tackling, please do not hesitate to email me at dadenira@tcd.ie

Yours in Learning,

Demilade

Demi’s Basic Business Questions: What is Corporation Tax?

We often see headlines about Ireland’s low corporation tax – some are critical, others ecstatic about it. A pretty common question people have is what exactly is corporation tax, and how does the tax big corporations like Google and Facebook pay affect someone like me, the average college student. The aim of the following article is to give a bite-sized introduction to corporation tax and give some guidance on whether it is to be loved or hated.

Firstly, a definition. Corporation tax is the tax companies pay in countries they are resident in on the profit they earn from their business. In Ireland, the tax is at 12.5%, significantly lower than other countries. The average corporation tax rate in Europe is 25.3%, for example. 

Similarly to when we looked at why it is not feasible to print more money in order to combat financial crises, we are brought back to one of the fundamentals of economics – the law of demand. Generally, when something costs more money, less people want it. When something costs less, more people want it. Pretty reasonable, right?

The law of demand can easily be applied to our low corporation tax scenario. If it costs less money to make profits in Ireland (due to the low corporation tax), more corporations will want to set up here. It is argued that this is a positive phenomenon as it leads to Ireland becoming an international hub for multinational companies. Where there are increased companies, there are increased jobs. This reduces the number of skilled young people, university graduates etc. emigrating in search of work. Increased employment boosts the Irish economy and is often something to smile about. 

However, on the other side of the coin, those who are against our competitively low corporation tax level make strong arguments. They point to the profits that corporations such as Twitter and Facebook make and suggest better use for those profits, such as contributing to social welfare schemes. It is also argued that we are putting ourselves at an advantage at the expense of fellow European countries. The discrepancy between corporation tax rates is so high that it is a significant challenge for them to compete. This can be seen as unethical. 

There are numerous points to be made on either side of the debate but it is up to you decide where your opinions lie. 

If you have any more Basic Business Questions you are interested in me tackling, please do not hesitate to email me at dadenira@tcd.ie

Yours in Learning,

Demilade

Demi’s Basic Business Questions: Why Can’t We Just Print More Money?

Money makes the world go round. The converse is also true. Lack of money can make the world stop. This is the reality for many – their worlds are at a standstill because of a lack of money. Because of poverty.

Ending poverty is one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030. According to the UN, 700 million people live in extreme poverty. Sometimes, grave situations like these cause business newbies like myself to ask the question, “Why can’t we just print more money?”. Unfortunately the solution is not that simple.

Printing more money may be a possible quick fix, but it is only sustainable temporarily. Printing more money can make poor countries even poorer in the long run.

Money is worth the value we give it. If people didn’t believe money to be valuable and accept it in exchange for goods and services, it would simply be like another piece of paper.

Inflation refers to a general increase in the price level of goods and services. This can be caused by increased money in circulation or by people’s incomes rising. The more money readily available, the easier it is to buy things and the more people will want to buy things. Businesses are profit driven and will increase their prices as people can now afford to pay more while not increasing their supply . This is the law of demand – as price increases, demand decreases. More money does not mean less problems, more money simply translates to higher prices. 

We are not the only ones who have flirted with this idea of printing more money in order to increase the standard of living. In order to fulfill the payment of reparations after the war that had made them poor, Germany in 1922 printed money. On the surface it seemed like an excellent idea. In reality, however, they could not have been more wrong. This led to hyper inflation, meaning prices were so inconceivably high that money became next to worthless. It was not uncommon for people to use their money to burn fires. 

Poverty is a pressing issue and it is imperative that we continue to generate solutions on how to tackle it. Unfortunately, money printing is not the one for us today. 

If you have any more Basic Business Questions you are interested in me tackling, please do not hesitate to email me at dadenira@tcd.ie

Yours in Learning,

Demilade