Associate Consultant; Junior Architect

IBM Consulting

I joined the IBM Graduate Scheme as a fresh Linguistics graduate from the University of Cambridge, where I focused specifically on Computational Linguistics and machine learning techniques for text classification. Although, like many final year students, I found the vast array of graduate schemes and employers daunting, I was sure of two things: firstly, that I wanted to make the most of and develop the technical skills I’d learnt so far, and secondly that I wasn’t ready to stop learning any time soon. The IBM Consulting Graduate Scheme fitted both criteria perfectly. IBM prides itself on a company-wide passion for learning and growth. This is evidenced by the remarkable number of patents filed (more than any other company for 29 straight years), and more recently by the launch of WatsonX, IBM’s AI and analytics platform for business.

Joining IBM Consulting has allowed me access to a huge range of roles on projects across the wide scope of IBM’s clients. I joined IBM in August 2022 and jumped on to a critical government infrastructure project as a junior architect almost immediately. I’ve been able to move around the project working in different roles which is an opportunity I really value as I’ve been able to build and maintain my relationship with the client whilst working towards becoming a more well-rounded consultant and architect.

One of my favourite things about consulting is that no two days are the same (though that said, I’ll be the first to admit I’m one of those people that has a favourite desk and I often find myself in the office bright and early to ensure I secure my favourite view). My project and client are set up to run remotely wherever needed, but I enjoy spending time with my team face-to-face and have found that often we can work through problems more efficiently this way. In classic consulting fashion, we can regularly be found in front of a whiteboard covered in post-it notes. I try to make it into the IBM London office about 3 times a week and to the client office at least once. One of the best parts about consulting is the varied relationships I’ve been able to build with new people; at a rough count I’d guess I speak to between 20 and 40 people every day, which feels like a luxury after a lockdown university experience!

Although my formal role title is ‘junior architect’, as a flexible resource I tend to end up jumping in to help out with whatever technical problem needs resolving next. As a result, my work tends to vary massively from week to week; last week I was concentrating on working with developer groups to identify high priority defect fixes, whereas this week I’ve largely been focussing on architectural design work for new requirements and lending a hand with component test approaches. It can be a challenge pivoting between tasks so often, but I love having the opportunity to learn and it’s rewarding to look back on how far I’ve come each week and the confidence I’ve gained with previously unfamiliar skills.

For me, my career in consulting so far has been defined by an exciting and fast paced environment and a constant development of new skills. I’d recommend a career in consulting to graduates who enjoy making new connections with a diverse range of people and getting stuck into new challenges.