Country Bloke to Big Smoke: A Consulting By Degrees Journey

Thom Roberts, London

Thom Roberts, GBS Strategy Consultant: Business Analyst
Thom Roberts, GBS Strategy Consultant: Business Analyst

Hi readers, Thom here!

Like many of my colleagues, I seemed to unexpectedly fall head first into the corporate world of IBM and I thought I’d share my journey with all you lucky readers.

As the title suggests, I grew up in a relatively rural area of Northern Ireland with fields and cows and the likes. From a young age, I developed a passion for music (as there was literally nothing else to do!) and moved from the totally cool cello to the slightly less cool acoustic guitar. I started writing songs and playing in bands, pursuing the dream of becoming the next Ed Sheeran. Recording music and posting YouTube videos took up way too much of my time to be socially acceptable and I took a hands on approach to digitally market myself.

So where does the consulting fit in? Well I didn’t give up on music, but the rational side to me knew I needed more realistic job prospects (boo!). Conveniently, I somehow managed to get accepted into the University of Edinburgh to study Innovation with Entrepreneurship. A nice compromise on the creativity side, I thought. I was right. It was great! I ended up incorporating guitar playing into presentations, creating ideas of starting a music café business and experimenting with digital marketing on a business level.

FunI’m not one to blow my own trumpet, but I’ve always considered myself to be pretty lucky (luck o’ the Irish anyone?). I applied to study abroad in Melbourne and got to go! 36 hours of travel later and I’m on St Kilda beach, studying business in a completely new environment. The travel bug got me. Off I went, all across Oz, Asia, America and Europe; guitar in hand. From this point on I knew I wanted, no, I NEEDED a career that would allow me to travel.

And that’s where IBM comes in. I actually applied while I was visiting friends in North Carolina, one of whom was also studying business and we applied together (she got the job too!). I never expected to get an interview, but now I realize that I’m probably a prime example of one of those “wild ducks” we keep hearing about in IBM.

I’m proud to say that I work for a company who promotes diversity and allows you to express an element of creativity and innovation in every day work. I have joined the Technology and Data team in Southbank, London and I’m looking forward to directing my career towards social media and interactive experience. I still play guitar when I can and I will never lose that, but the opportunities that will continue to present themselves at IBM are limitless. So watch this space, this globetrotting wild duck is ready to bring a bit of crazy and creativity to the mad world of consulting!


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Thom Roberts IBMThom Roberts is part of the UKI Consulting by Degrees team based in South Bank London. Born in Northern Ireland, with Italian and Welsh heritage; travelling is in his blood! This was further fuelled by studying abroad in Melbourne whilst at University in Edinburgh. As an aspiring digital marketer, he is hoping to dive into a variety of interactive experience roles with IBM and expand his experience in the field. Outside of work, he can be found at the local open mic nights, jetting off on weekend city breaks, drowning in a vat of coffee or hanging out with cats at home (crazy cat man!).Twitter: @acousthomatic


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