Degree and University: I majored in Geography and studied Marketing as a minor at Lancaster. However, I realised that Geography wasn’t for me. Due to Lancaster’s great flexibility, I studied a BSc in Marketing Management, Lancaster University Management School.
Work Title: I’m currently working in the IBM Brand Marketing team and have the exciting mission of helping connect the IBM brand with the British culture, environment and people.
How did you start at IBM? I spent my placement year working for IBM UK Ltd as a Marketing Specialist. The role was based at IBM’s Hursley site near Winchester, which had the added benefit of being set in acres of beautiful parkland and had tennis courts, a cricket pitch, gym and even a clubhouse on site. My year was spent working in our worldwide marketing team, so many of my colleagues worked in the U.S. I was responsible for our internal intranet page and was lucky enough to be involved in the organisation of two high profile customer and business partner events.
Why did you decide to go into this sector? It might seem like quite an unusual career option for someone interested in a career in Marketing but that’s really not the case! Someone once told me, there are only so many different ways you can market a chocolate bar or shampoo – whereas technology is always changing. IBM’s goal is fundamentally to ‘help the world work better’ – I couldn’t think of a more exciting and innovative place to work.
What do you like most about what you do and are there any downsides? Definitely the flexible working environment that IBM provides. In one week I could be working in five different locations! I frequently get to interact with our marketing and advertising agencies and therefore two days are never alike – it’s great!
Working in a large organisation like IBM is sometimes a bit overwhelming. At first I found it quite hard to find the right people in the company to help me get done what I needed to do, however there is lots of support and tools available to help you navigate your way through. We even have an internal version of Facebook to help us communicate with each other!
What do you think are the most important skills/strengths you need to make a success of what you do? You need to be very well organised and be able to juggle various different projects at one time. Because of this, you also need to be able to prioritise what is important, and what is not! For any successful career in marketing, I think you need to have a good balance between creativity and analysis.
What are your career aspirations? I would love to be a people manager at some point in my career, and manage a team of marketing professionals.
What would be the best piece of advice for graduates wishing to come into this sector? I can’t say it enough – DO YOUR RESEARCH! IBM, like all companies recruiting graduates, wants to make sure you understand what their company does and what their objectives are. If you can demonstrate your interest and knowledge of the company, this will definitely stand you in good stead. Also, if you didn’t study a degree in Marketing, but would like to work in this area, make sure you understand what marketing actually is! Lots of people assume that it is just advertising and events… which really isn’t true!