1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I was a technical placement student and I did various technical tasks as well as some front-end web development.
On a day-to-day basis, I worked on various projects for my team which included automating processes in excel as well as Python. I had the opportunity to work on a registration system for an event that was taking place in Chicago and even got to travel there for it!
I also got involved in a variety of Giveback and other opportunities that IBM offers, to improve my own skills as well as give me extra and varied experiences in other areas of the business. This ability is a huge reason to choose IBM in my opinion.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have been doing a number of courses over the year and receiving Open Badges for them. I also was able to do an accredited coursera course from UC Irvine on finance. I learnt new skills the whole time when necessary for my job, such as VBA (for excel macros) and Python, which I didn't know before hand. In addition, I improved my skills though the various Giveback projects that I participated in.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The programme is fantastic. My location was South Bank, which means that I got to enjoy the London life. In addition, my team was global which meant that I was able to experience different cultures, particularly American and German. I would say that the programme exceeded my expectations in this regards.
4. How valued do you feel by IBM?
I was greatly appreciated by my manager and colleagues. When you put in hard work, it is acknowledged, which to me is really important. At IBM we have an ACE feedback tool which I used after each project or task to get an answer to how I performed and how I can improve. This meant that I always felt valued, but also that I knew the path to even greater appreciation.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The IBM Placement scheme starts with a two day induction where you are taught the basics about the company and the processes involved. You are assigned an early professional manager, separate to your task manager who is always available for help should it be needed. You also have periodic reviews with them and they grade you. I was assigned a mentor, but I didn't really use them as I made my own mentors from people that I met.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My university provided some basic help, but most was from the company. I had to also write a weekly journal, and complete a couple of goal reviews throughout the year. In addition to the final presentation and report I had one visit from the careers placement manager at the university. This is not worth the £1850 in student fees I now owe.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
IBM provide an Early Professionals Manager who is available for non-task related support. In addition there is a thriving support system within the intern community and we have a Slack workspace where we can ask each other questions. In addition, you can ask for help from almost any IBMer in the world by using the chat options and the company phone book (called BluePages).
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I earn £19000 for the year, which covers living costs (if you live with others), travel costs and other daily and social costs. The South Bank office is in Zone 1 and therefore travel is more expensive, but that's to be expected. For the work that I do I am certainly underpaid, but for the experience that I have, I am not.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There is the IBM club id you like sports and the ability to join the corporate games teams. In addition, I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago to experience a conference that I helped run. I also volunteered to help on a Giveback project and I am also running a summer scheme for first year students at IBM.
9. Would you recommend IBM to a friend?
For all the reasons outlined above. The amazing people in the company, the passion employees have for the work, the huge array of opportunities that offered to placement students, the fantastic learning opportunities and the ability to grow as a productive person.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to IBM?
Be passionate when applying. Make sure to use the STAR framework in the various competencies and use appropriate examples. If you can get across your passion for the technology that IBM provides and that you enjoy working in teams and problem solving, then it won't be too difficult. Remember that in group exercises, the key is to be a team player not a genius!
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