1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I work as a project manager on a database transformation project, managing other full time employees (onshore and offshore) as well as other graduates and apprentices as resources in order to deliver my project.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I had never worked in project management in any capacity before, so have had to develop skills in tools such as Microsoft project and excel, as well as management skills, financial forecasting, presenting, conflict handling etc. I have also done ITIL (externally recognised) and am scheduled to do Prince2 project management course next month.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The environment I work in is very enjoyable, and have developed a good social life from it. The teams I work with/manage as well are also very good, which makes the job a lot easier. Trying to fit the coursework elements in and around such a busy job can be a challenge however.
4. How valued do you feel by IBM?
I was trusted by IBM to take over my role from a very senior level employee when they let the company, which showed a massive level of trust on their behalf to do that. I feel I have been getting most of the recognition I deserve as well, and have received the occasional internal award from my manager as well.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I feel the graduate scheme is slightly better structured than the apprenticeship course with regard to role rotations, however the aspects of training course, manager reviews etc. is well structured. My position also shows that you are not limited based on the scheme you are in, as I am managing people well above myself.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I have had some issues with Highbury regarding certain courses they were making mandatory for me to take that I did not agree with, but other than that I have had little interaction with them. I will be submitting my coursework within the next 2 months so I expect to have more dealings with them then.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
There is very good levels of support available from IBM. I never had a buddy or mentor, but have not felt like I ever needed one, and I know that the option is there should I need it. I have regular goal meetings with my personal manager as well to make sure I was on track.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary is very good compared to other apprentice schemes, however as I am on a customer site I have travel expenses paid. If that was not the case I feel I would struggle more. The incremental pay rises are also a good thing to bring us up closer to the graduate salary.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
As I work on a customer site, these are slightly more limited for me, however the client does put on events that are IBM are invited to, and when I am working at my IBM base, I do have the option to take part in events that are on at the time.
9a. Would you recommend IBM to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
The opportunities I have had are far beyond what I would of expected from an apprenticeship scheme. The benefits of having a 3 year scheme as well allows you time to get settled and work on finding the position that is right for you.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to IBM? *
Sell yourself in the interviews and application, don't put yourself down or it may limit your chances. Also in assessment centers, not everyone can lead, don't put yourself in a position where you are competing for leadership midway through the task, as it will only harm your chances.
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