1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Very varied and flexible work, a lot of focus on the organisational admin of a large team, but requires me to be disposable to the team for any possible requirements (including organising meetings, learning new software to brief the team etc.).
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Yes, I have become very proficient at Microsoft office as well as basic knowledge of many IBM-internal software. I attended a consulting course and have learned a lot about working in the business world as part of a team.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have thoroughly enjoyed my programme: I have found the work interesting, I have made some very close friendships, I feel like I have fitted into the company well and it has met and surpassed my expectations. My only possible criticism is an occasional lack of immediate work, but that is mainly due to the nature of my role.
4. How valued do you feel by IBM?
I feel like an integral part of my team, with specialised knowledge in a couple of fields. All of my feedback thus far has been extremely positive and I have been sought out from people across the company for my help with certain software.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
While the course organising body takes a relatively laissez-faire approach to the organisation of the gap years, I feel like there is always help should I need it. I occasionally feel that the organising body could have a little more involvement in my day-to-day job, however, as I rarely have any interaction with them. They do ensure that there are monthly "all hands" conference calls and quarterly meetings in which all of the gap years come together.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Generally, the training providers are not provided by the gap year scheme, but by the gap year's team. I did, however get an extremely valuable chance to attend a highly over-subscribed consulting course through the scheme's organising body.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Whilst my team generally leaves me to do most of my work by myself, I feel that, should I need help, there is always somebody I can contact. Very often I will have an interim call with whoever I am producing work for to update them on what I have achieved, and inform them on how it is going. This is where I receive most of my support.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Generally speaking, living in London I cannot really meet my costs on the current salary. I have been able to pay through my savings thus far, but I would really value a little bit more funding, as rent and general prices in London are extremely high.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Most opportunities outside of work are social events with my team, or the other people on my scheme, which we organise amongst ourselves. We do, however, get the occasional opportunity directly from IBM, such as the recent opportunity to get 4 tickets to watch a rugby match at Twickenham.
9a. Would you recommend IBM to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
I think it is a really enjoyable and fulfilling year, which provides a good break from academics and an invaluable experience when it comes to job applications in the future. It also provides and excellent insight into the working world, and gives many possibilities to broaden your skills.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to IBM? *
The company values personality more than academics, so I would encourage the applicants to feel relaxed and be themselves through the interviews and assessment centres. I would also encourage them to strongly consider where they want to be based and make a request specifically for that location as it is a very important aspect of your experience as a whole.
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