IBM United Kingdom Ltd - Emma Eveleigh

Name: Emma Eveleigh
Job Title: Business Consultant
Company: IBM United Kingdom Ltd
Sectors: Computing & IT, Consultancy

How did you find the application and interview process for your job?

As an English student, I felt confident in my ability to write a convincing application but was so nervous about sitting the maths part of the aptitude test. I found the test difficult but brushed up on basic maths beforehand, which certainly helped me to pass. While the two assessment centres were challenging, I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable we were made to feel. The interviewers seemed interested in what I had to say, as opposed to trying to catch me out, which made it easier to show my enthusiasm. I was convinced I hadn’t been successful in the second assessment centre as I found it more difficult to show my leadership skills in the group exercise than I had done in the first. On reflection though, IBM is looking for a range of skills from applicants, and I think I demonstrated strong teamwork and client focus.

Why did you decide to work in this industry?

Before joining IBM, I worked for a ship broking company, which was a great introduction to the business world but shipping is not particularly 'female friendly'. I knew several successful women in consulting and liked the idea of project work, which would allow me to experience working for different clients across a range of industries. Before joining IBM, I wouldn’t have considered myself to be hugely technical but I recognised the part that technology could play in transforming organisations. I wanted to improve my understanding of this, which is why I singled out IBM as a potential employer.

What do you enjoy most about working in this industry?

I particularly enjoy the diverse nature of my job. Each project offers opportunities for new clients, new roles and new technologies - I’m constantly learning and facing new challenges.

What have you struggled most with since starting you career, and do you have any advice on how to overcome it?

Developing my technical knowledge has been a huge challenge. I think it was more self-doubt rather than a lack of technical ability that was the root of the problem. Once I was able to shake off the fear and embarrassment of not knowing, I was able to develop very quickly. My advice to overcome this would be to ask plenty of questions.

Do you feel diversity is an issue in the Industry you work in?

I have felt extremely supported as a female working within the company and the wider industry. I have not encountered any barriers to my career - Ginni Rometty becoming CEO of IBM is testament to this. I appreciate that there is still a higher percentage of male employees at IBM but the company is working hard to close this gap. Certainly, women have been well represented at the consulting and technology events that I have attended.

What's the best career advice you've ever received?

I attended an event for women in IBM a few months ago at which a female sales executive delivered a really inspirational talk. She advised that we should do something that scares or challenges us every single day - sounds like simple advice, but taking chances really can get you recognised.

What advice would you give to other aspiring graduates looking to work in your field?

Be open-minded and flexible. As a graduate, you have to fulfil the need of the business so you could find yourself doing any number of roles anywhere in the country. If you are able to be these two things, consulting can be a really rewarding industry to work in.

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