I thoroughly enjoyed my placement and felt there were a huge number of opportunities to get involved in outside my daily role. The work environment was friendly and the intern community was vast so making friends was very easy. There are also lots of opportunities to learn, IBM has brilliant learning tools so you can pursue almost anything you're interested in. Overall, I would say that this placement has been brilliant and I would recommend it to anybody looking for a good starting black to kickstart their career.
My immediate team were brilliant. I had a very welcoming experience when I first started and quickly built up a good rapport with the management team and the sellers I supported. We often would have team meetings and calls, which would include time for general chat and catching-up time - which was great. As an intern, I felt that you would need to produce good work in order for better opportunities to come about. However, I think this process was fair and meant you were required to earn credibility instead of being handed it.
I would have weekly catch-up meetings with my task manager to discuss all the projects and tasks I was currently working on. This would also include my wellbeing as well as what I was up to outside of work too. This level of care and mentorship allowed me to deal with challenges quickly, without letting things build up and get on top of me. I hope I receive this level of care and mentorship as I continue my career.
I would often have a few tasks to complete each day. These tasks varied in size and would often keep me occupied. However, this is because I was involved in lots of projects outside of my core tasks. On an average day, if my only responsibilities were my core tasks, I would be only occupied by my usual tasks then I would certainly find gaps in my schedule. This is often a good opportunity for online learning, which I would normally fill my time with.
A varied amount. In some cases, my work would be seen by one or two pairs of eyes before ready to be presented by a client. However, on projects where I'd previously proven myself, I would be given the opportunity to present work directly to a client. I often found the best work I produced was when I was given more responsibility, the question of which came first I can't answer, however! I would often strive for greater responsibility and rarely was declined the opportunity to do so.
I thoroughly developed my organisation skills, which has complemented my personal and professional life. As I am not yet studying at university, I have not felt the benefits of my industrial placement at IBM. However, when I start in September, I'm sure the time management, understanding of basic economics and management skills will come into use. I have felt the increased tempo of working in a corporate environment positively impact my day-to-day productivity as I find I am achieving a lot more.
The office was a fun environment. There was a work hard, play hard attitude as long and tiring projects were often rewarded with fun activities to follow. It was also an open-plan space so managers and interns would sit together (the directors would have their own office), but the flexible desk policy allowed this fluidity. As an extrovert, I found this format very well-suited, however, a more introverted person may find this more tiring with fewer spaces to recharge.
The industrial placement was well set-up with different weekly intakes of interns organised into groups of mixed base locations. This meant that you developed a country-wide network from the first day which certainly came in handy for me later down the line. The Foundation Community, who facilitate the internship programme, are very active and maintain a suitable presence throughout the placement year. I found I made use of their services more than my colleagues, but this level of involvement was entirely up to the individual and foundation matched this accordingly.
I was well invested in, in terms of personal development. I would often find myself being mentored or educated, some of which were compulsory. There was never an explicit need for technical training as my role was business-based. However, the opportunity was always there for any additional learning and was actively encouraged if it could bring benefits or improvements to my role. On the whole, I was not specifically required to do much personal training so did less of it, but if it was necessary then it would have been readily available.
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
Very appealing. I have now been given a role in the degree apprenticeship scheme at IBM, where you study for a degree which is completely paid for. There is also huge scope for flexibility within roles and around the rest of the business. Should I wish to pursue a technical role, I would only need to ask and my request will be taken into consideration - I did this for my apprenticeship role and was given exactly what I asked for!
The social scene was excellent. My immediate social group were people in my induction, but as the year progressed I met more and more interns as the community in Southbank was considerably large. On summer weekends, we would have barbecues and in the winter we would visit winter wonderland around London. A particular social highlight was when my entire office floor was flown to Dublin for a 2-day event and it was a great way to get to know my fellow interns a lot better!
Being based in London was expensive, I won't lie. However, if you budget properly and find a suitably-priced house you can enjoy yourself whilst keeping on top of your finances. I would say the bursary for London living doesn't quite cut the actual increased cost of living, but the experience was fantastic and I think is worth the price you pay. I enjoyed the experience so much that I will be still based in London as I start my apprenticeship (on the same wage).
The benefit of working in central London is that there is an abundance of events and things to do - the hard bit is deciding! Of course, you will also experience London prices too, but this is compensated by the sheer number of fun clubs and events you can go to. I was in South London, so Clapham was the destination for a typical night out. If you are more interested in techno, then North London is better suited. But the transport links are excellent so getting around isn't an issue!
Our work communication software had lots of chat channels which were dedicated to extra-curricular activities you could get involved in. I was involved in a netball and touch rugby group throughout the year, but also was aware of football, climbing and cycling teams facilitated by IBM. The large community at the office made this a lot easier to get involved in and often was a great way to build your network. I would definitely recommend getting involved in extracurricular activities.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Administration/Secretarial, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Management, Computer and Systems Engineering, Design, Economics, Energy, Environmental, Financial Management, Human Resources, Information Technology, Internet/e-Commerce/New Media, Logistics and Operations, Manufacturing, Market Research, Marketing, Mathematics/Statistics, Pharmaceutical, Physics, Politics, Product Design/Industrial Design, Psychology, Purchasing and Supply, Recruitment, Retail, Sales, Utilities
21st July 2020