Katie Woodward

Marketing Assistant

  • BA (Hons) Business Studies
  • Northumbria University
  • Placement Year (10 Months+)
  • IBM

What made you apply to IBM?

IBM is an innovative and successful company with a brilliant reputation. The industrial placement scheme is well known, highly regarded and there are lots of career opportunities available. Being a multinational company, there was also the prospect to travel to many new places. I liked the idea of working on different projects. When you research IBM you find out they’re behind a lot of things you wouldn’t expect, like the smarter planet initiatives, Watson and their involvement with Wimbledon.

“No day is the same. There are always projects going on and opportunities in which to get involved with”

How much responsibility were you given during your placement / internship?

As an industrial trainee you are filling an actual role, so you have a lot of real responsibility. My work was extremely varied. It was senior client facing, and included project management and the end-to-end management of events. My manager trusted me to make decisions and I was well supported. It sounds like a cliché but at IBM, as a student, you are seen as the future of the company and everyone is willing to help; there are no stupid questions.

What did you enjoy most about your placement / internship?

No day is the same. There are always projects going on and opportunities in which to get involved with. “Giveback” is an important part of the scheme. I volunteered on a smarter planet challenge working with children aged 14 and more recently I participated at an event with an outreach programme for 120 college girls based around women in business. I also loved being in London; it made me realise this is definitely where I want to live!

Marketing Assistant

What was the application process like?

Difficult! I spent about two weeks on the application form, but felt it paid off, as I’d put so much thought into it. I was confident with my answers, and it helped me at the interview too. At the assessment centre be yourself, don’t be too dominant but make sure you speak up. Research IBM and find an area that you’re passionate about. For the interview have examples to demonstrate the competencies and research the specific roles to understand them.

What were the highlights of your job?

There were lots! I enjoyed working with my team and networking, getting involved in every opportunity that came my way, and the responsibility I’ve had. The experience has given me a lot of confidence, opened my eyes to other career paths and made me realise that IBM isn’t just for computer geeks! The company culture is brilliant, with flexible working and a friendly professional environment, and of course the location, right on the Thames, is fantastic.

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