Co-ordinating Talent Marketing/ Employer Branding activities covering UKI & Western Europe
My placement at IBM this year has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I've been able to explore areas of a business I didn't know existed, while building skills and sharing knowledge, and discovering my passion which has shaped my future career journey.
RateMyPlacement is currently advertising 7 roles at IBMView jobs now →
During my year, I was given a lot of responsibility, including being trusted to take on an extra role as a stretch exercise. This role meant that I was hosting team meetings, advising of budget allocation and providing important updates and advise on future strategies, which really showed me that I could lead as well as collaborate, and that my team supported and believed in my ideas!
My managers were always there to offer support, both my task managers who I reported to and my EPM (Early Professional Manager) who supported my development throughout the placement year. A challenge for me at the start of the year was managing the workload as it was my first professional role, but after conversations and support from my managers, I worked out how to prioritise tasks, and I didn't have to say no to anything - I was able to take part in everything I had volunteered for on top of my role, and in doing so I got so much out of my year!
As I took it upon myself to say YES to anything that my placement had to offer, I was busy, but it was tremendously rewarding. However, I never let this get on top of me, and soon got the hang of prioritising tasks - so I'd say I was somewhere in-between being very busy and having the perfect balance. If I had one piece of advice for someone on placement, I'd recommend where possible, say YES!
With my role came a lot of responsibility. I never felt like 'just an intern' - I really felt like I had a seat at the table, taking part in strategy meetings and sharing my ideas with the rest of my international team. From the beginning, myself and the other interns in my team were responsible for managing our own deadlines and tasks, and soon we were taking responsibility for much bigger things, including some very impactful global projects. I've learnt that at IBM, if you're interested in something, there's guaranteed to be some experience you can gain in this area! It's just about taking responsibility to find the opportunities for yourself - if you can do this, the opportunities are truly endless.
I've been able to build on a whole host of hard and soft skills this year. Some that I have found extremely valuable include using design software to develop my creative skills, where I've gone from doubting my flair to trusting my own ideas and design skills. Throughout the year, I've been able to build on my communication skills, tailoring my communication when working with senior IBMers and presenting to large cohorts of stakeholders. This is something that at the start of the year, I NEVER saw myself doing! When I think about how much I've learnt over the past year, its almost unbelievable!
I'd describe the office as fun but professional. The office had a mixture of interns and managers, and we'd often take tea breaks and lunch together. Being based in Hursley, once or twice on a lunch break, I took advantage of the tennis courts and picturesque walks around the site!
I felt very prepared before I started, receiving regular communication from the onboarding team. When we started, we had time to get familiar with other interns as well as IBM's policies and tools, and then the handover process began which lasted 2 weeks for me to get up to speed with my new role. I always knew who to go to with questions too!
Every IBMer is encouraged to spend 40 hrs of their year on learning, and more if they like! On top of this, there were many opportunities to build and relflect on skills within my role, receive mentoring sessions to strengthen this, and even branch out to learn something that wasn't related to my role. Sharing knowledge was one of the most valuable things about my year at IBM!
A great benefit about a placement at IBM is that it's meant I'm one step ahead of the rest in securing a graduate role. I've already applied back to one of IBM's many graduate opportunities, and I'm looking forward to hearing back! I can really see myself in IBM for the long term.
I'd say my placement had the perfect balance of social activities. Within my team, I was able to get to know colleagues better through social activities, and events were also organised between interns to ensure that everyone knew each other better. Being based in Hursley, we also had access to a games room called the hub, where we could meet other interns at lunch.
Being based in the south, the cost of living and socialising was much cheaper than London. I moved away for the year, renting in Hursley to be close to work, but the outer area of Winchester was cheaper, making socialising reasonable in cost. Being a central location, some of the interns chose to commute, and this worked really well too!
Hursley itself is a fairly quiet area, but being fairly close and a cheap taxi ride away from Winchester, Southampton and even a short train ride away from London, there were plenty of opportunities for fairly cheap nights out and a variety of social activities to do with other interns, which was great!
I was able to visit my university a few times throughout the year, among other out-of-work activities, to present to students looking for a placement about IBM's placement opportunities. This was really fun to do, especially as this is why I applied for a placement at IBM the year before! This is one example of what IBM call Giveback, which is really encouraged on your placement year.