I have absolutely loved my job at IBM. Although the job role wasn't what I expected (the job description was a bit vague), I have managed to learn so many new things, learn about different parts of the business and mold the role to become my role. I am so glad I have spent my year at IBM. It has been hard in places but it's been satisfying to know that my work is 'real' work and that it helps the business.
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My colleagues have been extremely friendly and welcoming to me. They made me feel welcome and valued from day one. Once I became accustomed to the role, I quickly earnt their trust as a respected member of the team. At IBM we are encouraged to ask for and provide regular feedback through an online tool, here I was able to see any suggested improvements for my work and the praise given to me by my team.
At IBM as a placement student you have 2 managers, your Early Professional Manager (EPM) who looks after you as an intern and your Task Manager who provides you your tasks day to day. My EPM has been very supportive, able to answer questions I have had and has helped support soft skills such as presentation work, managing stress, careers. My Task Manager has also been fantastic, she provides me clear instructions for task and is there to help whenever I need it. She always offers me advice and supports me.
At the start of my placement I was quite bored. I picked up tasks very quickly and managed to finish them quickly and to a high standard. During these slower times I took advantage of IBM's education resources and was able to do some self-learning which was good. Soon however, my worked picked up as colleagues saw my can do attitude and I was inundated with work. I was then busy but at a good level as I enjoy being busy. I occasionally worked over time to finish an urgent task when it was required but this was rare.
I was given a lot of responsibility during my placement. I was given important tasks from day one that affected payments, reviews and sales. I was responsible to running calls and covering should members of my team be away on holiday. I would often be given tasks that would be urgent as I was trusted to do them well and on time. I also ran design thinking sessions and brought ideas to the table during team meetings.
My Excel skills are now very advanced, having started my placement with only knowing the basics. Although my placement didn't have a lot to do with my degree in terms of content (I do a Maths degree and this was a business placement), the soft skills I learnt are definitely transferable. I was also able to learn skills and information using IBM's education resources which will put me in good stead for finding a job in the area I want.
My office was fantastic; it was friendly, vibrant and dynamic. Everyone enjoyed their work and was able to have a laugh whilst also getting their work done to a good standard. The office contained a mixture of roles from sellers to sales execution to developers so we always helped each other when needed. I enjoyed working in the busy office as it meant I could gain a wider knowledge from hearing sellers on client calls, and hearing developers discuss code. We occasionally had outside of work socials too. Working from home was a hard transition from the busy office however an effort was made for regular quizzes, coffee chats and discussion.
As a program the IBM placements seems well established yet ever growing. The induction was a good introduction to the company. I liked having 2 managers as it allowed support both work wise and development wise. A lot of development stuff however was only introduced in the second half of my placement, however I felt ready to learn more early on so I felt a bit frustrated at being told it was coming when I was curious about it way before the events.
The placement team (EPM's) offered learning, badges and shadowing through online and offline resources. Within my team, there was always courses and learning to do. I was also encouraged to do a lot of independent learning. I reached out to a lot of people that I didn't know to ask questions about different roles/careers and was always welcomed and offered guidance. Development events were created such as careers academy and shadowme ( a shadowing tool to learn about graduate roles) however I felt that before these I was told to wait with some questions as they would be answered then and then they never were. I also felt that if you didn't know what you wanted to do after graduating that it was a tad difficult to explore options.
There is a program for placement students to apply to graduate roles as a fast track type system. Most roles are unknown however there is a strong lean towards consulting. My placement was in Portsmouth and IBM had many locations however most graduate roles are within London. I have applied back and would love to see what roles are available that would suit me. We won't find out about the outcome until at least start of the next academic year however we are given an interview whilst still at IBM for ease.
Yes. Across the UK there were over 100 placement students and also apprentices and futures. Within Portsmouth there were 20 students. In Portsmouth, most placement students lived with each other and socialised a lot. There were also many opportunities to network with students outside of your base location and there was a Christmas party for all UK interns.
I was lucky enough to be able to live at home during my placement so I saved a lot of money. I know that the interns that rented in Portsmouth didn't find it too expensive and were able to save and socialise alongside living costs. There is a subsidized bus into work should people need it and parking was free on site. Socialising wasn't too expensive either as it was a student area so lots of good student clubs, pubs and bars. Portsmouth is a seaside city too which is nice for socialising especially in the summer.
Nightlife was good for those that wanted it. Clubs aren't my thing but those in Portsmouth are cheap and cheerful as it is a student city. The bars and pubs were nice with Gunwharf nearby so lots of choices and suitable for different price ranges. Very much a student city.
Yes. You were able to do giveback which included volunteering at assessment centers, bring your kid to work day and more. You were also able to shadow other IBMers to see what they do in their day to day job. I was also able to help with client events that weren't directly part of my role as well as Hackathons.