“Doing a placement also gives you an opportunity to take a step back and assess what you want to do next.”
Nigel Peart, IBM (2012/13)
BA in Business Economics with Industrial Experience
Nigel’s placement at IBM is giving him a taste of what it’s like to work for a leading consultancy firm, while also helping him work out what he wants to do next.
“IBM is the largest consultancy business in the world so when the placement with them came up, I thought it would be an excellent way to get my foot in the door and gain some practical experience.
My job in the GBS Cross Sector Support team is a back office role, which means I am supporting the teams across IBM’s different business sectors. Most of my tasks involve using Excel and data manipulation, creating spreadsheets and process management. For example, I’ve had to create and maintain a spreadsheet that includes all the information from IBM’s small deal reviews that happen on a weekly basis. Those are the deals at IBM that are worth £10 million or less. I had zero experience of Excel and data manipulation before so I’ve had to learn very quickly on the job, and I have now become the ‘go to person’ within my team for data manipulation tasks.
As well as helping you identify things you’re good at, doing a placement helps you spot your weak areas too. I have learnt that I procrastinate when I don’t feel under pressure, but if I have five pieces of work to do in a day, I will get on with it and get it done to a good standard.
After working at IBM, I’m convinced this is the industry I want to work in later, ideally in a front-office role. But I’ve also realised I’m not quite ready to go into full-time work. So I’ve decided to take a year out after my finals before I get going on my career. Doing a placement also gives you an opportunity to take a step back and assess what you want to do next.
If I could offer any advice to others thinking of doing an internship, it would be to network as much as you can. Knowing more people not only helps you to be more efficient in your job, and opens you up to different opportunities, a good network should come in useful when you’re applying for graduate jobs later.
I’m now looking forward to getting back and getting on with my finals. Having worked for a year, I now have a better understanding of why we studied certain things and how that information can be applied in the working world, which I think will make next year even more interesting.”