The placement was enjoyable to some extent. I feel like the placement was useful for me and a great way to learn from some very experienced and competent professionals. However, a lot of the time, the work could be boring and did not test my perceived abilities - yet this, on the whole, depends on the type of work you sign up for. Depending on your base location, there tend to be lots of other interns too if you do get bored, but because I was based away from the 3 main IBM bases, this was not often the case.
At all times, I would say I felt valued by my colleagues. I was regularly consulted over decisions that were being made, and I feel like, most of the time, all of my colleagues saw the value that I brought. I was regularly given responsibility, and was often nominated for additional tasks - so at IBM, you are certainly valued by your colleagues (of course, only as long as you are trying your hardest and making a regular effort)
At IBM, there is a lot of support and guidance given to you, particularly in the first few months of your placement. My line manager has been great at checking in with me to make sure everything has been okay (particularly during the covid crisis) and I know that, if I ever need support or guidance, there is always someone I can speak to or resources to help. This is particularly true as all interns have 3 formal meeting and presentations with their line manager; after 3 months, 6 months and 12 months.
How busy I was varied regularly. A lot of the time, my work was responsive to the work of others, which is not ideal for a placement year when you want to have a consistent workload. This was particularly affected by the unforeseen covid crisis. However, one thing IBM can guarantee is that, if you want to be busy, there are always projects or opportunities for you to take on (outside of your usual work).
I was given quite a lot of responsibility on the placement, as I was placed solely in charge of our regular reporting and team call preparation - which was crucial to the function of our team. However, there were occasions where I hoped I might have had more responsibility, but on the whole, if you are competent and prove yourself to be responsible, you will be granted this responsibility.
One of IBM's best features is its training programme. Through YourLearning, there is a site dedicated completely to your self-improvement and so you can develop as many skills as you want, for example, this year I learnt how to build a chatbot. The work has also been beneficial in my uni studies, which I have continued this year, and I have had direct support when writing these essays about the workplace - so I certainly feel the work at IBM will help you to develop your skills and assist in your degree studies.
The office that I was based in was extremely quiet and to be frank, rather dull. This is because, in the office that I was at, most people worked from home and only came in rarely. There were only a couple of interns who were there on a regular basis, so the scene was not the best. However, when my team did come into the office, it was much better and I know, for sure, that when I visited Southbank's office, the atmosphere was extremely positive!
Clearly, the placement is extremely well organised. There is a clear structure in place, not just in recruitment but also in your IBM journey. As mentioned, the 3, 6 and 12 month reviews are great to monitor your progress and they are important in the intern cycle. Naturally, because of the coronavirus, organisation has been a little hectic, but given the circumstances, I feel the placement has been extremely well organised; although the apprenticeships may not be so well organised
In terms of personal training and development, they do not invest particularly in you, but rather, they invest in the intern group as a whole. By this, I mean that no one forces an intern to do additional training (bar the Think40 scheme), however, there is plenty of personal training and development for you to take advantage of, through YourLearning and other sites that IBM promote. This has been extremely useful, and it is clear there is also much more that the company does to invest in you.
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
For sure, the future employment prospects are appealing, although not easily achievable. IBM runs a very good graduate scheme, although they do not take on graduates in the area that I would hope. Because it is so competitive too, you have to go through interviews again and you will never be offered a grad job just because you were an intern (although I am sure it helps)! However, working for a company as large as IBM is certainly appealing; you just have to re-apply as a grad as everyone else does!
Not in the base that I was at, but I know that, in other locations, the social scene was very good amongst placement students. Because IBM is such a large company, there are over 100 interns working on an annual basis and naturally, this leads to an extremely good intern social scene. So good in fact that a large group of us are going on holiday together, and have already engaged in other social activities!
I do not know because I worked from home. It just so happened that my office was 15 minutes away from my family house, but I believe the cost of living is reasonable, as are the socialising costs.
In the city itself, not the greatest, however, if you are able to travel (West Mids), it is extremely good - for example, in Birmingham.
Yes, lots! IBM has its own "IBM club", which is for both former and current employees of IBM to engage in actitivies outside of work at a subsidised price. It is very cheap to be a part of yet extremely beneficial. For example, I played regular football every Tuesday and Thursday with around 40 IBMers at a price of £2 an hour on 4G - which is extremely good. You can also run other events, and set up activities yourself - you just need to make an effort to get involved!
Placement Year (10 Months+)
28th July 2020