From Footloose Farmer to Cultured Consultant: Why I Chose IBM

By Meredith Carter, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Ten days after my graduation from high school, I deferred my enrollment at the University of North Carolina and jumped on a plane to London with a thrift store backpack stuffed with the essentials for a six-month, self-imposed rite of passage, working for free on farms across western Europe. I stubbornly refused to tell my parents where I was going, just that they should expect to pick me up at the airport close to Christmas time. Needless to say, my parents have quite a bit of grey hair.

While marked by many impetuous decisions, my time in Europe helped me to define and explore myself. It was a formative, life-changing experience. I met hundreds of people, immersed myself in other cultures, gained a plethora of new skills, and discovered an unfortunate duck egg allergy. In short, a crazy adventure that I threw myself into made me the person I am today.

Similarly, my recent entry into the Consulting by Degrees program in July 2014 marked another rite of passage and I was drawn to this program for many of the same reasons that motivated me to board that plane to London. I am excited to be a part of the global community at IBM, to meet new teammates, and, especially, I am looking forward to the rotational aspect that the Consulting by Degrees program uniquely offers. I hope that moving around to different projects and roles will help me to hone my strengths and expand upon them to create a value-added experience for the client, in much the same way that I discovered my natural talent for goat-milking amidst my ever-changing roles on various farms.

I anticipate that my journey at IBM will include its fair share of triumph, failure, and confusion but I chose Consulting by Degrees at IBM because we are a company that will give me the space and opportunity to independently define myself as a professional.


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