BBA Finance Alum Full-Time Experience: IBM

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October 12, 2015 by texasbbacareerservices

hannahblackimb 2 (2)Hannah Black
Major: finance
Graduated: 2012
Current Role: Middleware Software Specialist at IBM

Please tell us about your career path and how you found your way to IBM

Even though I was a finance major at UT, I knew I always wanted to work in the technology sector. During my time at McCombs, I did two internships for IBM – a finance rotational program in Raleigh the summer before my senior year, and a Global Operations role working remotely in Austin during my senior year. Throughout my internships, I worked directly with Vice Presidents, General Managers, and Directors at the age of 21, which was an incredible learning experience. The executive exposure so early on in my career has really helped me and is a big reason why I enjoy working for IBM today. After graduation, I joined IBM’s Summit Program, which is the elite sales training program IBM offers top undergrads and MBAs. As part of Summit, I was in extensive training for 9 months and got to travel all over the country – just one of the many perks of joining Summit. The training that Summiters receive as part of the program is truly unparalleled. Because you are mainly training for the first year or so out of college, it is a great transition from university to working full-time as an IBMer.

What do you like about working for IBM?

Learn more and apply for IBM's FT-Summit Solution Specialist - 2016 (RC) position via OCR. Deadline: November 30.

Learn more and apply for IBM’s FT-Summit Solution Specialist – 2016 (RC) position via OCR. Deadline: November 30.

There are four main things that I love about working at IBM. First, the company values young talent and invests in you. I have had three incredible managers since I’ve worked here – people that truly care about seeing you succeed. Second, one of the most important things to me is work/life balance. The benefits (including time off) are very good at IBM, and vacation time is respected and used. Third, this job allows me to be fairly autonomous. Lastly, IBM values women in the workplace. Our CEO, Ginni Rometty, is a woman, and there are women throughout the ranks, including at the senior levels. This is one of the most important things to me in choosing the company I work for.

This is a great place to highlight benefits such as professional development, training, career path options, fun social activities, etc.

The great thing about IBM is that we are truly an international company. Whether you want to stay in Austin after graduation or move across the world, there is a job for you at IBM. My best friends at IBM whom I worked with in Raleigh during college all moved to Austin after graduation, and we’re all heavily involved with the Austin IBM New Hire group which gets together for social, philanthropic, and networking events in and around Austin. Many of my best work friends were also made in the Summit Program. Because you’re going through training together for almost a year, you get very close to your colleagues. In fact, I just got back from Chicago a couple weeks ago to visit two friends from Summit. I travel quite a bit for my job, so I use airline miles to travel across the country.

What does this job/internship entail?

For my current role, I live in Austin but cover the Dallas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas territories for the Systems Middleware software portfolio. My job is to run the entire sales process for my IBM software brand from end-to-end. Many times, that starts with identifying an opportunity/need at a given client, working with their technical and business stakeholders on an implementation plan for the given technology, then making sure everything runs smoothly after the software is purchased from a services perspective. The great thing about this job is that I have an entire technical and management team behind me to ensure the client’s success. I travel to customers almost every week which really excites me, and the airline miles are a great perk as well!

What skills make a person successful in this position?

What makes someone successful as a Summit hire or software sales specialist within IBM is that “go-getter” attitude and a willingness to get your hands dirty early on – even if it goes beyond your job duties. Working well as part of a team is also an imperative. One thing that has helped me is that I bring a human element to my work. I go out of my way to get to know colleagues and clients on a personal level which brings a lot of meaning to the work I do. I truly care about my teammates and the clients I work for.

Please share your general career advice?

The #1 piece of advice I can give is to be your own biggest advocate. No one will rally for you like yourself. Whether it’s asking for a raise, pushing for a promotion, or resolving an issue, you must speak up to get the outcome you want. The second piece of advice is to stay humble and go out of your way to assist your teammates (within reason). I am always the first person to volunteer to help someone on the team. Management and colleagues recognize this, and it’s helped me many times over when I was the one needing a favor!


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