PMO / Business operations support withing the Healthcare cluster.
This placement year with IBM has exceeded my expectations of the company and opportunity. I wouldn't change a thing if I were to do the year again. I have been very well looked after by the company, and have been given some fantastic opportunities and responsibilities over the year, which have give me a real working experience of a business role within IT.
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I have felt like a true member of the IBM team from the start, as a placement student you are part of a larger Foundation community which is part of IBM - you are given a lot of support through this. I was valued by my team and not just there to 'make the coffee's'!
Guidance and support was offered by multiple senior managers, I have worked very closely with (and supported) managers and partners, who have mentored me and given me valuable advice and feedback over the year, and pushed me constantly with their many requests which have tested my skills and helped me to develop further.
I was given plenty of work to keep me busy each day, and lots of opportunities to become involved in extra work where I had spare capacity. There are many opportunities to get involved in side projects outside your own role in IBM, as well as many online learning tools to take advantage of to learn new skills, and the Giveback program to offer support to external events in communities. However as with any job I am sure there are busy periods and quiet periods.
I was given a lot of responsibility from the very first month of my placement from pricing very large contracts, writing legal documents for the client, and hosting meetings with the client. I believe gave me an overall great experience and proved the amount of trust my managers had in my work.
There were some areas which I would have liked to have gained some more experience in over the year, however I didn't get the opportunity to do so. However I have also had experience in areas of the business that I didn't consider would interest me and wouldn't have otherwise picked to experience.
The office I have predominantly worked in was a client site. In the office was the client, IBM, and our subcontractor - so a big mix of friendly faces. Because it was a client site we did have to dress in smarter clothes than the IBM offices, however the atmosphere was always relaxed. There weren't however any other placement students in the office.
The placement was set up very well, you are guided through the application process step by step. You are given an induction day at the very start of your year, which is a well run two day introduction at the head office. You are then supported throughout the year by a placement manager.
There are endless online training materials, workshops, and personal development opportunities within the company to allow you to develop existing skills, and work on new ones. You gain recognition for the amount of time you spend of personal development, and can be rewarded with badges. IBM uses many different pieces of software which you can learn how to use.
My experience so far with IBM has confirmed my belief that this is a fantastic company to work for during your early career - I will therefore most definitely be hoping to secure a role after graduating from university with them to continue to develop my career path with them.
As I was on a client account away from IBM offices I very rarely go to meet up with other placement students in the company. I already knew a few other students from my university, however if I hadn't then I would have had very little interaction with the other students unfortunately.
Due to the nature of my placement I received weekly expenses for my living costs. I worked on the client site away from home, and got expenses for accommodation, fuel and food. This made the cost of living for me very cheap, however is only given when working on client sites.
I rarely went out in the are that I worked - due to the nature of my placement there were little people the same age as me in the office to go out with, and I lived at home on weekends so tended to go out then. The city is a university city though so there are plenty of nightlife spots.
There were a lot of opportunities available to placement students outside of your day to day role - these included events and conferences, volunteering in helping out at internal and external events, side projects, and even the chance to work at Wimbledon. Most of these tended to be in the London area.