Why Consulting by Degrees is the Best Starting Point for Your Consulting Career

Over the last few years, Masao Joko, a graduate of the IBM Consulting by Degrees (CbD) Program has given lots of speeches, and published multiple articles about his CbD experiences at IBM. In this article, Masao describes the many learnings and insights from his IBM Consulting by Degrees experience.

Masao is a graduate of the IBM Consulting by Degrees (CbD) program in IBM Japan. After completing the program, he was assigned to a client-facing role as Managing Consultant and was also asked to become a CbD manager. Masao’s goal is to be a role model for new CbDers. He wants to help shape their careers and provide feedback and insight from his experiences from the past five years.

 By Masao Joko

MasaoJoko_Aug27thI chose IBM because it is one of the top IT companies in the world, especially in the field of business. Before joining IBM, I was undergoing a graduate course at the University of Tokyo majoring in Aeronautics and Astronautics but I had a strong interest in Information Technology, including Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, and wanted to make the world more convenient by contributing to creating an intelligent aerospace systems.

Information Technology evolved too fast in early 2010’s, and our lives started to change drastically. I found that we’re surrounded by many businesses and I might be able to change the world more directly and speedily through business, not limiting myself to the astronautics field. IBM was already a leading company in technology at that time – Watson having just won against two of Jeopardy’s greatest champions in 2011, and IBM leading the cognitive transformation. Thus, IBM was very attractive to me.

Project experience was very worthwhile for me, but I also wanted to learn other things outside of my projects, and IBM gave me the opportunity to get all this via different communities and platforms.

During my CbD program, I joined various types of projects such as strategy, system development, and software selection. All these helped me develop a wide range of skills and competencies needed for professional growth.

One of the most impressive projects for me was a marketing support project for a famous manufacturing company because it changed my view of technology and business. In this project, IBM delivered a very innovative approach for creating persona through social media analytics. This project was overall very successful to the client and I found that the technology was a part of what the client valued. Using the innovative technology, we changed the entire business processes and its organization and led to the improvements in their business results – this was a huge success to the client’s business and for IBM.

In most cases, we can’t produce real client value with only one area of knowledge. In an analytics project, for example, it’s always hard to solve the client’s problem by analytics knowledge only; we need to have strategy planning for the client to realize the business results, we need to know system development to apply the analytical system to the client environment, etc. Of course, it depends on the business needs or the project status, but the beauty of being in the CbD program is that we can get immersed in many different projects, and thus developing a wide knowledge base.

Together with my colleagues, I started a new community called “IBM Product Lab” to learn about various IBM products and software. I also joined more than five communities such as Open Source, Chinese, etc. to enhance my knowledge in a broad array of concepts, tools, and technology. These communities were very helpful to fulfill my curiosity and also a good place to quickly find my fit in the IBM environment.

You don’t have the explicit view for your future career? No problem! What I learned is that through the IBM CbD experience, you can search and define your own future career!

No one knows what is necessary for the future, and thus we need the environment to widen our view and to challenge ourselves. As a CbD graduate, I strongly recommend CbD as a place for anyone interested in building a career in consulting. Also, I’m willing to help you get a better experience as a CbD Manager.


Are you interested in joining the IBM Consulting by Degrees program? Visit our Consulting by Degrees website www.ibm.com/consultingbydegrees where you will find more information about the program as well as links to apply to positions in any of the over 50 countries worldwide where we are running the program.

We have opportunities around the world, so if this sounds like a great way to launch your career, check our current list of opportunities and apply online

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