North­eastern international-​​business major Andrew Alperin is a bud­ding entrepreneur.

He also played one onstage.

The Clarks Summit, Pa., native’s dra­matic debut unfolded quite unex­pect­edly this year in Ire­land. From March through July, Alperin held a co-​​op at PayPal’s Euro­pean head­quar­ters, in Dublin, working as a project man­ager and han­dling con­tact analysis.

Then he heard that Dublin City Uni­ver­sity was plan­ning a pro­duc­tion of the rock musical “Rent,” one of his favorite plays. Although he didn’t have any acting expe­ri­ence at all, he decided on a whim to audition.

He got a part. In fact, he got a leading part, that of land­lord Ben­jamin “Benny” Coffin III. The play’s pro­ducers, he says, “saw me as the per­fect Benny,” believing “a business-​​oriented stu­dent would be the best person to play a business-​​oriented character.”

Four suc­cessful per­for­mances at the Helix, a large arts center on the Dublin City Uni­ver­sity campus, fol­lowed, including two sold-​​out nights.

And Alperin’s star con­tinued to rise. After a pro­fes­sional pro­duc­tion house learned of the troupe’s suc­cess, the show was remounted at the Olympia The­atre, a con­cert hall in Dublin. The thirty-​​strong cast sold out five nights in the 1,200-seat the­ater. “It was pretty incred­ible,” Alperin says.

Mean­while, back at the office, his super­vi­sors remained sup­portive of his the­atrical side trip.

When I told my boss about the play,” Alperin says, “he was really incred­ibly accom­mo­dating. And when we got the gig at the Olympia, I cleared it with him. The beauty of working in Europe is that you get twenty-​​five per­sonal days, so I used five to do the play.”

The bright lights and glamour haven’t side­tracked this senior’s desire for a busi­ness career, however.

He had a great expe­ri­ence at PayPal, he says. His work focused on the company’s finance and man­age­ment infor­ma­tion sys­tems. His pri­mary respon­si­bility was to ana­lyze approx­i­mately 3,000 con­tacts that had come into the PayPal call center, and offer rec­om­men­da­tions for addressing issues that were reported.

Last year, he had a co-​​op at Mer­rill Lynch’s New York City offices, where he was a busi­ness ana­lyst working on data-​​processing projects.

Even without the oppor­tu­nity to star in a play, Alperin says, he would have counted the Ire­land co-​​op as a major plus in his edu­ca­tional career.

Going abroad helps you in ways you couldn’t imagine,” he says. “It makes you really expe­ri­enced in under­standing the rest of the world.”