Think you’re a good fit?
My name is S M Tadmir Bin Chisti, but many choose to keep it just a “tad” bit shorter and call me Tad. I graduated from the University of Waterloo’s Nanotechnology Engineering program in May 2015. Unlike many of my peers, I chose to start my career at the client site instead of the research lab. In June 2015, I interviewed and began my journey as a consultant in IBM Interactive Experience (they also like to keep it a “tad” bit shorter and call themselves IBM iX). It was meant to be!
During my interview for the Entry Level Consultants position, I was asked why I wanted to join IBM. My answer was and still remains the same – IBM cultivates personal growth, learning and professional development. That is the reason why I am excited to be a part of the Entry Level Consultants community.
IBM is now hiring entry-level consultants
IBM was founded in 1911 and has a rich history of ingenuity, deep convictions, premier research and development, and trend setting. IBM touts its sustainability and relevance as a global services leader by pointing to historical times the firm re-invented itself as a company. It should be no surprise since it has been the birthplace of many technological advances, was one of the founders of the entire personal computer industrial revolution, and is now a leader in new software platforms, hardware infrastructure and workplace equality.
1992, IBM unveiled another service called IBM Consulting Group. This department had 1,500 consultants worldwide servicing companies and organizations in 30 countries. These services focused on business management and information technology.
2004 was the next major shift towards a services focus for IBM. IBM sold off its consumer-focused computing systems and PC hardware side of the business to Chinese manufacturer, Lenovo, for a historic sale of USD $1.75B. This reinforced the prominent vision and future of the Global Services division. The only IBM desktops or laptops that you can purchase from IBM today are previously owned and refurbished systems. In the mid-2000s at Bain, McKinsey and BCG, you couldn’t find a laptop that wasn’t IBM issued – it was a consultant trademark.
Here’s a quick overview of IBM’s service offerings’ path to become IBM Global Services:
IBM CONSULTING KEY STATS
Obviously, IBM’s service sector worldwide was booming, which led to unrestrained and completely disorganized growth. Their total services revenue by 1993 was $17B – not a bad growth rate. However, amazingly, IBM didn’t make a profit on services until it consolidated all the worldwide business services into a single global team branded IBM Global Services in 1995. Dennie M. Welsh was named General Manager, Global Services. Just goes to show you that revenue growth isn’t the only name of the consulting game.
Never fear – the transition didn’t stop. However, the name remained the same – but IBM began to absorb other services companies with unique services offerings over the following 10 years.
In 2002, many large accounting firms were selling off their management and technology consulting segments. Pricewaterhouse Coopers was one of them. IBM GBS jumped at the opportunity to purchase PwC for the great price of approximately USD$3.9B in cash and stock. This about doubled the number of consultants within IGS, adding 30,000 Consultants in 52 countries.
Firm Profile Overview (click to jump to section):
Fast forward to today. IBM’s target market for consulting services became the clients who were willing to pay for higher-value corporate services packages of research, software and services. The firm has landed on a high-price, high-value service offering specializing in providing the best skills – the firm has become more discriminating on client selection.
As the next installment in our popular Firm Profile series, we take a look at the evolution, reinvention, and current interview tactics of one of the world’s premier firms – IBM Consulting. Enjoy the ride!
If you’re applying for a technical scheme, such as IBM’s software developer graduate programme, you can structure your CV especially to showcase your specific technical skills. A technical CV is a CV that foregrounds your technical skills and qualifications, as well as your level of ability, before backing them up with details about your work experience and your transferable skills.
Lastly, successful candidates will be invited to attend an assessment centre and a final interview. You can find advice about what’s involved in the assessment centre and interviews here.
This is then followed by a number of online assessments, which includes a ‘learning agility assessment’ , which looks at your way of learning, and a cognitive ability game , which assesses your problem-solving skills.
Answering IBM’s application form questions
NB: Not all of IBM’s graduate schemes have exactly the same application process. The details of the questions on the application forms and the online tests are likely to differ between programmes. It’s important to look closely at the job listings for each responsibility, so you know what IBM’s recruiters are looking for.
Ideally, you should use an example where you decided to do something independently that needed effort, time commitment and discipline to succeed at it. This could include a whole range of things, such as fundraising work, self-driven learning, or sporting achievements.
TOP TIP: Show you’re a STAR
The final stage of the application process before the assessment centre is a second application form. This is a lot more expansive than your initial application and you are expected to write considered, longer answers to questions about your motivations for applying to IBM and to the particular role.
Passion is a key factor that all technology recruiters look for – they want to see that you, not only want the job, but will be excited and engaged once you start working for IBM. One way to show through your application that you have this passion is by having done your research in advance and being able to write in specific terms about what IBM. Recruiters will be impressed if you can speak genuinely about your interest in a project or product of IBM, or about an element of its culture (such as a particular corporate social responsibility initiative).