From College to Consulting – Satisfying my Curiosity

Students and Graduate Program Series:

The Students and Graduates Programs series is a collection of blog articles that focuses on the wide range of internship and graduate programs that IBM offers across the globe.

IBM Consulting by Degrees Program: Satisfying My Curiosity

By Zuzana Giertlova

CbDers Cheering at Cycle for Survival

Between final projects and looking for a job, senior year of college can be incredibly busy. I remember well my own late nights, studying for classes and prepping for job interviews. That was before my dreams came true with a dual offer from IBM and another big organization. In the end, I did not have to choose: IBM welcomes diversity of experience and actively encourages its employees to take on learning opportunities in and outside of the company.

Starting Out in Consulting by Degrees

I came to IBM as someone with very little technical or business background, having almost no prior training in business. As a new consultant in CbD, I attended 2-week training to learn essential skills, such as working in teams, communicating effectively and presenting. More than just enhancing skills, this training grows new consultants’ professional networks within the company and enables shared learning and growth opportunities. Similar training happens at key points during the 2-year program to ensure adequate professional progress. Having recently attended my second training workshop, focused on improving communication skills, I feel even more grounded and confident in my role.

What is my role?

I am currently working internally as a Business Analyst with IBM’s Cloud Business Solutions team. At a high level, this project is intellectually fascinating. IBM, like many other tech companies, must continuously reinvent itself to keep up with the brisk pace of tech development. Simultaneously, IBM also has to retain its over 100-year-old legacy. As a result, IBM differs from small tech start ups and must employ unique methods to address these challenges. Being a part of the Cloud Business Solutions, which works with the sales teams, researchers and business leaders, has shown me IBM’s brilliance in solving these issues. Whether talking to a seller in Netherlands or a business lead in Japan, I understood the cohesion of IBM’s teams behind one mission: innovation. On day-to-day basis, this translates to conducting interviews with our sales teams, finding appropriate materials for market research or collaborating with our Learning & Knowledge teams on creating appropriate workshops to showcase our newest strategies. Working in this environment gives me a great sense of work satisfaction and fulfillment.

Stepping Outside of the Big Blue

Besides a stronger network and professional development, the CbD program offers a sense of community within the large corporate structure of IBM. It is easy to feel lost in a company that employs over 400,000 employees in over 170 countries around the globe. This is where being a part of CbD makes a real difference. Whether meeting with fellow millennial consultants during our “Office Fridays” or ice skating after work on the Frog Pond, it is always a great time to socialize with other CbDers. If anything, CbD is a community of young consultants, passionate about helping their clients and expanding their own minds in the process.

skating CbDers
CbDers Skating on the Frog Pond, Boston Commons

Give Back, Mentoring and Serving the Community

Since I had experienced the value of personal guidance firsthand from my mentor at IBM, I was eager to create similar opportunities for others. In Cambridge, Netpals aims to augment STEM education by facilitating a mentoring relationship between IBM-ers and 7th graders. The pair exchange weekly emails and meet for monthly group activities, where the students gain additional exposure to STEM careers. My direct involvement is in planning and leading the group events and it has been very rewarding.

Six months into my career, I feel like I have only scraped the surface of IBM. Researching market strategy, interacting with partners, learning new skills, socializing with other CbDers, making difference in my community are all examples of life at IBM that I have discovered thus far. With so many exciting opportunities, I cannot wait to see what the next 6 months brings!

Are you interested in joining the CbD program, start with our global website – there 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

Zuzana Giertlova is a Business Analytics and Strategy Consultant with IBM Global Business Services.

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