IBM From a New CbDer Eye (Turkey)

The 21 new hires to Consulting by Degree (CbD) program including me recently participated in the CbD Induction Training for two weeks in Dubai. I extended my stay in Dubai by one more week to shadow a project in Abu Dhabi and also to participate in the Design Thinking camp. It was a very fast and exciting start for me!

Looking at the overall experience, I feel very proud of being an IBMer and a CbDer, and I am very grateful to all the people I met who were very helpful and approachable independent of their position in the company, who contributed to our induction with their precious inputs and who spared their personal time to us.

With this post, I want to share my Consulting by Degree program induction training experience and my first impression of IBM as a new graduate.

Even before our first day at IBM, we had many welcoming and what-to-do-in-first-days e-mails from Pascale (the MEA CbD Program Manager), and they guided us to get the most out of our days before the training. The 2015 Turkish CbDers’ people manager and another CbDer from two previous batches, contacted us before we started and arranged everything for us to onboard successfully.

After we were busy for 3 weeks completing our onboarding activities and getting settled down at IBM Turkey, we flew to Dubai on September 27th for 12-days induction training. It was my first time in Dubai and I was very happy because Dubai was one of the cities I had in my to-see list. The tall and ultramodern buildings made me feel like I stepped into the future. Also the weather was so hot that I could see global warming in my own eyes J

The first part of the induction training took place at Arenco Tower in Dubai Internet City. Pascale was arranging all the training and was with us throughout the training. She is one of the most inspirational and energetic people I have ever known.  I could see how passionate she was for her job and how she genuinely cared for us. I think “Mother of CbDers” is very well said for her J.

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I met other 2015 CbD batch from MEA (from UAE, Pakistan and South Africa other than Turkey). All of them were very friendly and just as excited as I was; we got along very well with each other, so being with them for 12 days was very enjoyable. Being with an international group, working with people of similar age from different cultures and backgrounds was so much fun.

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We met the fellow CbDers from previous batches and former CbDers. They were also very friendly. At the same time, they were very professional, they had great presentation skills and it was clear that they had a comprehensive knowledge of their projects. Seeing my future self in two years that knowledgeable and successful made me feel very proud and motivated.

This part of training held in Arenco was to understand IBM’s culture, core values and practices, growth strategy and organization structure. We met former GBS MEA Leader (Sreeram) and the new Leader (Asif). We had sessions with leaders of each business line and industries in GBS MEA, learned their businesses and discussed their part in overall GBS and IBM strategy. We got familiar with CAMSS, Watson, and working Agile.

The leaders gave us very important hints and tips for growing our career in IBM. I want to share some of them with you:

-Follow the trends, look how the world is changing and reinvent yourself accordingly

-Never stop developing and learning

-Make connections with people, leaders and grow through networking

-Collaborate with people, be a people’s person

-Put the client first (look at their perspectives and build trust)

-Do even little things very well

-Be ahead of the game: be confident in what you can bring and add value

-If you start to feel comfortable, change your role/project

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The second part of our training was called “Foundational Consulting Skills” and it held at the Chelsea Garden Hotel Apartments where we stayed. That was a three-day training in which we divided as teams, role played experienced consultants, and tried to solve a complex business case. It was very stressful since time was limited and client (our tutors) was very challenging, but at the same time very entertaining. In these three days, I learned even more than I had expected. I learned daily tasks of a consultant; importance of approaching each person from client side in a customized way, asking right questions to them and listening effectively while interviewing the client; and how to conduct a workshop.

I am very thankful to all the tutors for giving this extra intense course in a very enjoyable way. We learned a lot from them and all of this knowledge will help us tremendously in our consulting lives.

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It was great for me to know what being a consultant at IBM is like and what kinds of projects we are doing; so that I was able have an idea of my interest areas and prospective roles. That motivated me to contact people and learn more about specific projects. For example, I contacted a leader who was managing a very interesting campaign management project. With his help, I experienced working in that project for a week and grew my network.

After that, I stayed for a 3-day Design Thinking camp, which was another eye opener.

After all the experience, I feel that I am part of IBM even though it is a very big and complex organization. I feel very valuable and empowered. IBM believes and invests in us; that gives great responsibility and ownership. I will try my best to give value for all of it!

Nazlı Ece Usta

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