What is it really like working at IBM?

In our latest blog post Hannah Guile, BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance, details her experience of the IBM application process and tells us what she’s gaining from her time on placement. 

Placement student, Hannah Guile

Hi I’m Hannah, I am an accounting and finance student and I am currently a Finance intern based in Portsmouth at IBM.

I got my placement at IBM by applying through their website.  I attended a lot of IBM CV workshops which MMU provided and I can honestly say these helped a lot.  At first I thought I wouldn’t get past the CV stage as I did not play sport and I felt like I was lacking in a lot of the skills they were looking for.  However throughout the workshops I found that I had the skills they were looking for from things I’d never expected for example a school trip to Africa and my part time waitressing job.  After the CV stage there is an online test which I highly recommend you practice for as it is quite difficult.  The assessment centre is easily the most daunting part of the whole process and the trick to passing it is to relax.  The more relaxed you are the more confident you are and the more you take part and that is exactly what they are looking for.

I started my placement in the middle of June and I was amazed at the amount of responsibility I was given. I had two weeks where I worked alongside the intern who did my role the previous year and then I was on my own.  I had a very supportive team behind me so I never felt like I was under too much pressure and after a few months I felt completely confident in my role.  IBM has a huge intern community in Portsmouth so the social life is just like being at university although you obviously have to work 9-5, I have made a lot of new friends and have built strong relationships with the people I work with.

I have definitely matured a lot on my placement and I think this will benefit me when I come back to study for my final year as I am more focused and a lot more productive with what I do with my time.  The added benefit is the network you build which would just not be possible whilst at university, you can learn so much from the people you work with that you can take forward into all types of roles even if it is not within the same industry as your placement.

My biggest tip would be to prioritise your applications as you want to make each one the best it can be.  You are better submitting 3 amazing applications that you’re really proud of rather than 10 you’ve rushed through.  I would definitely recommend a placement and looking back I know I would have regretted not taking this opportunity.


IBM are currently recruiting for UK (non Scotland) based placements in Business, Information Technology, HR, Software Development and “Leading” to Africa.  The closing date for applications is 31st March 2015. Full details can be found on their website

The closing date for applications to their Scotland based positions (Business Operations or Information Technology) is 30th April 2015.

Good luck!

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