IBM Startwise Graduate Program treated us to an amazing three-day experience

Watching the Australian Open live, attending a leadership symposium, having face time with IBM’s top execs, sightseeing in Melbourne – these are some of the highlights of the Inferno Recognition event in IBM Australia and New Zealand.

This blog is part of the IBM Startwise Program for Graduates in Australia and New Zealand.

By Elinor Swery

I have had the privilege of having been selected to participate in Inferno 2016, an annual event recognizing top Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) graduates in their first year at IBM. Attending a leadership symposium, watching the Australian Open, meeting IBM’s top execs, sightseeing, and lots of fine dining in between – there is no doubt that I would encourage all new graduates to apply for the IBM Startwise Program.

We kicked things off with an amazing lunch at the Waterfront (with views of the Yarra river) where we met a host of IBM Leaders who hosted us for the entire Inferno experience. After introductions and getting to know each other, we went over the plan for the next few days. Following this, we strolled down the river to go on a river cruise. After an afternoon break, we talked 2017 career goals with the IBM Leaders and shared our aspirations while taking in the spectacular city views.

The next day, we headed to the IBM Southgate office for a session with Lisa Poulton, a coach at the IBM Leadership Academy. Lisa took us through a leadership workshop, focusing on defining what drives us and how this should link to everything we do both within and outside of work; how to ensure we maintain a healthy life-work balance; how to navigate business using Emotional Intelligence; and most importantly how to get to where we want to during our careers. This workshop was certainly one of the highlights for me and I have already used some of the tools we gained from that session.

Once the afternoon came
 around, we got ready to 
head off to the tennis! We 
arrived on the water taxi
 and explored the grounds.
We headed to the IBM tent
– the “cognitive court”
where we enjoyed some food and cognitive cocktails
 designed by Watson. The tent showcased many exciting applications of cognitive capabilities, all based around the tennis. We were treated 
to a behind the
 scenes tour of Rod Laver Arena, and got to see where the players get ready, and how all the game data is captured and analysed by IBMers. We saw the trophy cabinet (full of the cups!) and even got to spot a few famous people!


The game itself was spectacular, so it was a bonus to get prime seats! It was fantastic watching the men’s quarter finals live, with Roger Federer vs. Mischa Zvere, and the France vs. Australia women’s doubles. What made it more special is that while watching, we got to use the Australian Open app developed by IBM which gives live stats on each of the player’s performance during the game. The technology was truly impressive and I felt proud using this IBM tool. We headed back to our hotels using the water taxi and had a much needed rest in preparation for day three.


Wednesday, our third and final day started off with a nice breakfast and we then went to the IBM Melbourne Research Lab. Chris Butler, the lab’s Cognitive Analytics leader gave us an overview of past and current projects and how the lab operates alongside IBM’s other business groups. We got to see a 3D model of the heart being applied drugs through a simulation, and tested a social media analytics software developed by the team.

Our final event was the Executive Lunch held at Rosetta. It was an amazing opportunity to get to know some of our top leaders at IBM – Joanna Batstone, VP and Lab Director for IBM Research, and Wes McDonald, VP for Enterprise. It was great hearing about their current roles and their IBM careers, and they shared with us their insight into the business, how the machine operates, and what to look forward to in the future.

These three days was truly an amazing experience – having a great time, learning about the business, and getting to meet some truly inspirational people within IBM.

This has been a huge honour and I am particularly grateful to all those who made my first year at IBM such a successful one. Not only have I learnt so much and contributed to some incredible projects. I have also had a blast!


Do you find Elinor’s story interesting and would love to get the chance to experience this? Why not take some time to check out the IBM Startwise Program.

Applications for IBM’s 2018 AUS/NZ Graduate Program are now open. Check out IBM Careers for more information or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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