Overall I had a good time on placement. I feel, along with others that our jobs were miss-sold to us during the application process, ie, they made out like we had more responsibilities than we actually did. This is like most placements though. I had huge flexibility and I could work from home any days I chose with my manager's approval, every Friday everyone works from home. The flexibility allowed me to explore the company outside of my job scope and I was able to get involved in some amazing projects.
My team were not office-based and were often working from home. I found this difficult to create strong connections with my team, but I was an exception. Most interns had a good strong connection with their team. I found that when I got involved in other projects where people were around the office more I felt like I belonged more and was valued. As a large company, it is not expected that you know everyone but my network definitely grew with people that hold a genuine interest with you.
IBM has a 2 manager scheme, EPM (Early Professional Manager - Welfare essentially) and a task manager. I felt that I could always turn to one of them for help, but I often found that I was turning to them as I did not have enough work to keep me busy. My EPM was able to help me find extra projects but my manager could only offer generic online training. However, I did feel supported with whatever projects I chose to be involved in.
I was not busy at all, I often found myself asking other people and sometimes other interns for work or projects to be involved with. This is definitely an exception, lots of other interns were much busier than I was. They were not over worked, but I was underworked. If I put all of my work throughout the week I would only have enough work for about 2 and a half days. I guess this gave me ample of opportunity to do any training I wished or to find other projects and offer myself up as a free resource.
Some projects I would get huge responsibility as say others I would be doing all of the dog work, it really depended. Day to day I barely had any major responsibilities, this was a little tough in terms of motivation as I knew it did not matter if my work was completed or not. However, some client-facing roles that I got involved in I had a huge amount of responsibilities and I was able to have a large say in the message that was delivered. This was highly motivating.
I have definitely learnt how to manage multiple tasks 5 days a week for a full working day, this will help me next year not only plan out my time but to actually be able to sit and do the work. I hope that this will also allow me to get a graduate job easier as I have a full year worth of experience under my belt. I have not actually learnt any applicable skills though other than transferable soft skills. Ie, no technical training that will help me in my course.
The office was very quiet, there used to be a table tennis table for lunch breaks, but this was often busy. There are also 2 F1 simulators that are amazing to use in breaks. The office itself was usually very quiet with lots of desk space available. It was always very difficult to book rooms and often people would block book rooms and then not use the bookings that they had booked. This was annoying.
I think that the 2 manager system is very well set up and there are lots of extra opportunities for people to get involved in. They really do put a lot of thought into what you can do and what opportunities are out there. You also have a huge amount of freedom to do what you like. They have 3,6 and 12-month reviews, I don't like these but I understand why they are there, they make you understand what you have actually learnt on placement.
There are lots of online learnings to do, with placement specific channels to help develop the core skills that are required in order to progress. This is part of the IBM think 40, where all employees aim to complete 40 hours of learning each year to continue with their development and stay up to date with market trends. More opportunities are available as a graduate such as sales school that is not available as a placement year student
Working from home
I wish to receive an offer back from this employer as a financial consultant, I can see myself back there as a graduate. IBM will pay for you to do the CIMA qualification and have ties that can allow you to do an MBA in the future if you wish. I think this could be a great career starter and have received lots of awards for the graduate scheme. This is why I wish to apply back.
I have made some great friends whilst on placement, there are lots and lots of interns at IBM so finding friends is really not hard. There are many offices as well, London has the mos though, but there are times where all interns meet up. Ie, the Xmas party. There are lots of things to do and some people set up sports teams such as Netball and there are plenty of places to get food and drinks.
As I was London based mos things were above average price, pints near the office were at least £4.50. Most things that you did to socialise with workmates would only cost £20 and when getting paid that was ok. There are lots of places to eat around the south bank and lots of those places offer discount to IBM staff. When you add student discount on top this made food a lot cheaper to get.
There are lots of things to do in and around London at night. Unfortunately, most of these are expensive. But, there are plenty of bars and places to eat and drink, club nights events and concerts. As there are 5 24/7 tube lines transport is very easy to come by at night if you do not want to pay for a taxi. Also, the Xmas party is a boat cruise down the Thames at night which is pretty special.
There are lots of things to do outside of work, I was a member of a gym and there are lots of other activities that occur. Sports teams set up by people at work such as Netball, there are boxing gyms, rugby clubs football clubs all around the place. I did not find it hard to find something that I was able to enjoy. A lot of people from work are up for trying new things so often are willing to do things with you as well.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Accountancy, Financial Management
10th July 2020