Developing my skills on placement at IBM

Anna Sheard
Anna Sheard
Service Management Analyst, IBM (placement year)
Physics with a Year in Industry MPhys
After talking to family and friends about placements, and undertaking some initial research into the company, Anna applied to IBM and became a Service Management Analyst.

IBM is a very large company, which provides a range of products and services to customers. This includes producing and selling computer hardware and software, providing consulting services, and researching new technologies into areas such as quantum computers. The fact that IBM has such a wide range of expertise means that there are a wide variety of roles available for internships and placements.

My role at IBM was in the Consultancy Services sector. IBM has a client contract with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and I took up a role on this account as a Service Management Analyst. I managed the delivery of service requests between IBM and the DWP. This involved raising, logging, and managing change requests with IBM developers, and then communicating updates on their progress back to the client.

To excel in this role, it has been really important for me to develop effective communication, leadership and management skills, and be proactive, adaptable and flexible. I had some experience of working with clients thanks to my third year industrial project, and my experience of working at open days and emailing lecturers helped to develop my communication skills. Thanks to my course, I could also bring excellent problem solving and Microsoft Excel skills to the role, which I developed further on the job.

IBM are very keen for placement students to develop new skills during their placements. There have been lots of opportunities for me learn about different parts of the organisation and meet lots of different people. These have included shadowing different IBM employees/teams, for example at their Research and Innovation centres, or in computer security. Other opportunities have included organising staff events, and attending external events as a placements ambassador.

I absolutely loved working in the IBM offices. Everyone was friendly, and happy to have a chat and to help. Even though I had to work from home due to COVID-19, people in my office still sent me messages – usually once a day – checking on how it was going, and asking whether I need any help, etc. It has been a really supportive place to work. 

In this role, I have been able to introduce improvements to IBMs processes, and discuss potential improvements to DWPs processes as well. I have also focused our meetings by introducing agendas and formal minutes.

I am now in the process of applying back to IBM for a graduate role as a Technical Consultant. I have really enjoyed my placement and would love to return to IBM when I finish my degree.

“Throughout Anna’s placement year she has consistently surprised us with her logical approach to day to day work. She has improved and economised our processes throughout the year, leaving her job role in excellent health when she returns to study, with several of the improvements made impressing some of the seasoned veterans on our team.

"Her scientific approach will most definitely be an asset throughout her career and she is a great advert for employers looking to hire students from a scientific background.

“Anna has paired her working style with an outgoing and warm personality, to become a well liked and respected member of the team here at IBM. No matter where Anna eventually ends up in her career, she will be a superb acquisition for any team!”

Anna's line manager


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