“I’m planning to follow a career in sales after University and my placement will help me a lot with this. A year at a company such as IBM is very valuable as I have already experienced how a multinational company operates, as well as adapted to working life.”

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Greg Cornes, IBM

BSc Economics and Finance with Industrial Experience

Greg’s industrial placement with IBM has taken him in a new career direction.

“I chose to study Economics and Finance because I liked the balance it struck between the theory of economics and the practical element of finance. The University of Exeter Business School is a top tier business school that offers a great curriculum and the opportunity to do a placement year. I also thought that Exeter was a great place to be with excellent facilities for students.

I am currently on a year-long placement with International Business Machines (IBM), where I am a Sales Analyst aligned to the financial sector. My day-to-day tasks vary but they include aiding the team in sales reporting, generating PV’s for my manager to report upwards, conducting research about clients to find potential opportunities and attending client meetings. The research skills that I have gained at Exeter have been particularly useful in my role.

I chose IBM because it is a well-renowned, international organisation and I felt there would be lots of scope to learn about many different roles. I first heard about the placement through other students at the Business School and then I applied through IBM’s online application system.

Before applying for my placement, I attended many of the careers fairs and talks organised by the Careers Team. These were really useful as they helped me to discover the types of roles that are out there and learn how to tackle the challenges of applications and interviews.

It’s been challenging to adjust to a full-time working lifestyle as it is drastically different to university life but I’ve gained a huge amount from my placement. I have learnt about myself and my future career. This year has completely changed which career I want; I thought I wanted to go into finance, but I have now come to the conclusion that I want to go into sales. I have gained an insight into how business in general works, such as how forecasts and numbers are generated. I have also learnt about client interaction and how to present myself in different situations.

I’m planning to follow a career in sales after University and my placement will help me a lot with this. A year at a company such as IBM is very valuable as I have already experienced how a multinational company operates, as well as adapted to working life.

In terms of organising placements, I would recommend that other students get organised early and focus on a few rather than many. Whilst you are in placement, hard work will be noticed and remember to use soft skills to build a network.”