1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My day-to-day role varies, but essentially involves a lot of researching companies and preparing decks about them. This then goes on to assist senior members in my team in strategising and planning on what to do with the client, how to approach them, and where IBM might be able to help.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt lots of new skills. Jumping into the working experience has been great for me. I do wish that the Foundation team however were better as they are very poorly organised and I believe that an integral part of their role is to help me develop and improve these skills further. If they could fix this, then maybe my experience could have been better as a lot of it has me been developing my skills but it could have been nice if they could have helped developed them too.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoyed my Job role very much. It has been great to work in London and move to a new city I have never been to. Looking at the company as a whole, it is clear IBM has a good work ethos and treats its employees very well. The scheme lead however can be very unapproachable. If she was maybe more approachable and friendly this would have made my experience more enjoyable. Being on the programme, I expected more from Foundation and feel like I have been let down by them- they are poorly organised and there is room for a lot of improvement, especially with some of the scheme 'leads'. I think Foundation could have done more to bring us together as a group.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
My task manager has been very organised in giving me tasks and so on. In this sense, the programme is organised and you are left to your own devices. The induction was also great fun and we went over a lot of detail about IBM values, health and safety and so on. In this sense, it was great. Team hierarchy and task delegation is great, in my opinion. The programme itself I don't think is very well organised, and I think there is a lot of room for improvement which hopefully we will see in the coming years.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Lots. My employer is great and treats me with respect and truly value the work I am doing. It has been great to contribute work in my team and know that what I am doing is truly adding value to the company. I have no faults here- she has been fantastic. Going through rough patches with a heavy workload, she was very understanding. But that's just work- sometimes you will be busy, sometimes not!
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I have not worked towards any particular qualifications so I can't really comment. However, I did receive help when problems arose, but I do think the accessibility to this help could be improved. Meeting up once in every 3 months isn't frequent enough in my opinion. Regular, in person contact should be maintained over the year so that we can truly build a relationship and trust our EPM. In total, I think I have only spent about 3 hours with mine over the whole year, which is very bad.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
I can't talk for qualifications, but I have certainly developed lots of great skills which will be applicable in other areas of the business, should I move job role. I have learnt valuable skills which have definitely helped me improve working in some of the tasks I have done in the past.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
Nothing sporty that I heard of, but that would be hard in London.I know in Hursley for example they have lots of sports clubs as they have the huge fields surrounding them. There are good professional networking events, like first Wednesdays for those in GBS (open bar at Topolski), but other than that not really.
9a. Would you recommend IBM to a friend?
I would recommend IBM to an experienced professional. As an early professional, no. There is a poor support network and the scheme has lots of faults that need to be fixed. They rave about how good the Foundation network is, but truly all the EPMs are always too busy and have no time for you. This made it tough when you are going through a rough patch at work and find you have no-one to talk to about it. Speaking to my other friends on Placements, whilst IBM and Foundation has its fortes, it also has many faults and areas of improvement. Most particularly, contact with EPMs. It would also make sense to have EPMs based in offices across England, instead of most of them being in Hursley making it difficult to see them face to face. Even worse, when they don't bother to travel to your location for your reviews etc. I think they should try put themselves in the shoes of someone who has just left school and imagine what a big transition it is going from somewhere like school to a working environment. At times, those leading the scheme can come across as rude and unapproachable. This made it hard for me to settle in and get the support I needed. Some changes are definitely needed here to make them more friendly as the whole point of an EPM is that you can approach them. It is not effective to scream down at your interns as an attempt to fix it, belittle their ideas or simply not listen to them.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to IBM?
Think carefully if you want to work here and what type of job role you would want to go into. If you are not a confident individual, I wouldn't apply as you are left to your own devices with hardly any coaching/ development help. I love some of the EPMs and they are great, but some of them at times can be scary which is not nice. IBM is a great company and whilst on the whole I have enjoyed my time here, I have been let down by certain individuals who should have been supporting me. So just bear that in mind if you are somewhat dependent.
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