Mind Map: One Student’s Story of Getting Into IBM

The people who are most successful at IBM share a distinct set of characteristics. These begin with energy and creativity, along with a clear focus on delivering exceptional customer service.

If you’d like to work with us, this is the best place to begin: by identifying how you’ve already used these skills. What have you done that shows you have demonstrated these competencies in your university life, your work experience, or your personal interests? That’s what will make us think “we must find out more about this person at an interview or assessment centre!”

Why should you read this?

Bored of using the same examples on every application? Finding that many applications you submit are rejected almost immediately? No formal work experience and worried about how you compare to those that do? Then read on to find out how a 3 year Business Studies student with no formal work experience got onto a top Graduate programme at a world leading organisation.

Gwenyth Moore
Gwenyth Moore


Name: Gwenyth Moore

Job Title: Schools & Universities
Attraction Manager, IBM UK
Date joined: September 2006

I graduated Lancaster University with a 2.1 in BSc (Hons) Business Studies.I joined IBM in September 2006 on the Business Specialist Graduate Scheme where I rotated every 6 months for the first 2 years of my IBM career, to experience the different areas of Strategic Outsourcing. I’ve had experiences in Service Delivery, Commercial Management, Sales, Relationship Management to name just a few; I have worked with clients in the Telecommunications industry, local Government and Insurance.

In my own time (as part of what we call ‘giveback’ at IBM) I went back to Lancaster University to find ‘the next generation of talent’ by presenting at Open Days, delivering employability workshops and attending the Careers Fairs. I loved that part of my job, so when the opportunity came up to do that as my day job, I jumped at it immediately! I therefore had a complete career change and I now work in HR Recruitment. I love what I do and haven’t looked back since!

I did a three year Business Studies degree without a placement year as I was keen to get started in the world of work quickly. I knew that when it came to applying to graduate jobs, my peers who had completed a placement year or lengthy internship(s), may have had a competitive advantage over myself, primarily as they could use many work related examples to support evidences of the competencies that employers like IBM look for. However, I knew through other experiences that I possessed the skills and competencies that companies like IBM were looking for, I just had to articulate them in a way that demonstrated value to an organisation.

I sat down and I drew a mind map of all the core competencies IBM look for (teamwork, communication, problem solving etc.) and I thought of 2 or 3 examples from different parts of my life that clearly demonstrated the competency in question.

I looked at experiences I had at University, both academic and extra curricular; I looked at the part time jobs I held over the vacation periods; I also looked at my personal life and how certain experiences helped shape me as a person and thus developed skills that were key to everyday work. The completed result gave me the confidence I needed to fill out graduate application forms easily and enabled me to have a bank of examples in my back pocket when going into interviews.

By sharing my mind map with you, I hope it inspires you to use examples from all parts of your life and give you the confidence to apply for roles which perhaps in the past, you felt you couldn’t.

Best of luck, Gwenyth

Click here to see the mind map on PDF (scroll down to the second page)

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