I enjoyed my placement reasonably well. As with all things, how I felt about the placement fluctuated in relation to what was currently occurring - it was filled with great highs and equally some lows.
I found the work I was completing to be both meaningful and its challenging nature pushed me to my limits - something I enjoyed greatly.
On the other hand, the more administrative functions can take a toll at times.
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I felt incredibly valued in regards with the individuals that I was working with - I was treated as an equal with senior management who made sure I was not only looked after but also that my insights were heard. I was at times consulted for my opinion on key issues, and had a few of my suggestions integrated into long term strategy for certain processes. Everyone is incredibly friendly and I was taken aback by the extent to which any given individual will go out of they way to help you with your tasks.
I felt like I was provided with clear guidance when working on my tasks. My manager and those I worked with made very clear that I could always ask for clarification if I had any misunderstandings. We had regular check ins to ensure that I was progressing well with my tasks. I was also given great comprehensive career guidance based on my skill set and character which was very insightful. I was introduced to individuals in a similar field to that which I am intrigued by and given every opportunity to flourish and move into my element.
My daily schedule fluctuated greatly; some days I would have few base tasks I needed to complete and a large proportion of my time, I could dedicate towards my own stretch projects I had set for myself. Other days, were highly intense and I would have to manage a multitude of different tasks on a priority basis. This could sometimes result in myself working extended hours - coming in earlier and leaving later.
I was given incredibly high levels of responsibility over the course of the placement. Much of the analysis I completed was used to inform senior management on reshaping some of of the long term corporate strategy of the business unit.
I was tasked with completing key milestones across the projects on which I was working with and many of my presentations and decks were displayed to real clients.
I believe that the skills I have learnt over the course of the year have been invaluable and will significantly make my life easier in the graduate market. I have developed dramatically better communication skills, learnt how to analyse data and also my project management skills. A large number of the skills that IBM have taught me are largely transferable
The atmosphere is the office varies massively depending on where you sit. All large organisations will have sub cultures. I found the atsmosphere quite pleasant. The flexible desk policy meant that you could generally sat where you would like. With the people that you work most with, there is a very close knit society and people generally become very good friends on projects and plan activities together outside of work. Equally, it can be quite isolating if you don't make an effort with people outside those you directly work with =.
The work placement was set up quite well. We had early professional managers who were responsible for our emotional well being and we had functional managers who would set our daily tasks. Mine was very structures and set up very well. However, much of it I felt was down to my manager than the IBM structure. I think more could be done in promoting an overally community spirit and having much more time spent with Foundation and our EPM's.
The firm invested largely in me and in other placement students. I was impressed by the number of training courses that they funded for us alongside giving us access to a communal learning portal which we could choose which skills to upgrade on. This is one of the strongest points of the placement.
Employment prospects are quite strong within the organisation; I would say that it provides a reputable path into consultancy for those who are interested and it is evident that the structure for the graduate programme is very systematic and well planned. It is also clear that the company invest largely in graduate talent and therefore makes it more appealing to apply back.
The social scene initially is excellent. However, as colleagues become more focussed on their own roles, people tend to socialize more strongly with those within their team. We did have a Christmas party, which we self organised which was excellent however the summer party fell through du eto lack of interest. As my office was situated on the Thames, it made it easy on the other hand to visit bars nearby and had excellent travel links.
The cost of living in London is incredibly high, both of food and travel. This generally meant that a large proportion of my salary was spent on those two things. Accommodation can be found for cheaper not too far away so it wasnt too difficult to get into the office quite easily without paying ridiculous prices.
I didn;t really engage with the nightlife during my stay but am told it is excellent - it is London after all.
There are unlimited opportunities within the organisation for those that are interested. Whatever your interest, you will be able to pursue this and add value somewhere within the organisation. I myself self generated projects I was passionate about and was able to pitch to senior management.