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Ulster and Ireland's Tommy Bowe means business off the field too, as he picks up management diploma

By Bairbre Power

Published 11/11/2015

Tommy has a footwear and fashion brand
Tommy has a footwear and fashion brand

You can tell that Ireland and Ulster winger, Tommy Bowe, has sound business acumen.

This afternoon, he collects his latest academic qualification at the RDS - a post-graduate diploma in business management, from Hibernia College and the University of London.

Donning a mortarboard and gown in the colours of Ulster University, Tommy knows only too well after three years of studying business and marketing that he should line out wearing his own business kit - so that will mean shoes from his Lloyd & Pryce range and a blazer from his XV Kings clothing brand.

"I'll be hobbling up with my crutches to collect the diploma," said Tommy, who was wearing a leg brace after surgery for posterior cruciate ligament and meniscal injuries to his right knee sustained during the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Argentina.

"It's just very frustrating to have got myself up to that level of fitness and playing-wise during the World Cup and then to be injured again," admitted Tommy, who already has an honours degree in construction engineering and management from Ulster University.

"The first two weeks after my operation were difficult, because I wasn't allowed to do anything, I was literally just lying up on the sofa and in bed watching TV.

"I was going out of my mind, but the last couple of days, I've been able to get into training and while I've not been able to do a whole pile, just being around everybody is really good."

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Tommy said he doesn't have a game plan to continue in the world of academia.

"No, I think that's the end of the studying for me now. I was never much of a bookworm at the best of times and between the degree and now this post-grad, that will be the end of it. Business-wise, I just want to get more involved with the lads," he said - referring to Jim and Barry McArdle from Buddha Brand Industry, who run his footwear and fashion brand.

When it comes to business expansion plans, Tommy didn't rule out moving into womenswear.

"We have a women's shoe collection which has gone really well for us.

"We'd obviously look to get into womenswear and there is a huge market out there, but we want to do the job right, there is no point in expanding for the sake of it."

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