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Technology Consulting - IBM

#1 Technology Consulting - IBM
01/01/2017 13:42


Hi Everyone,

This is my first post on the forum and I'm hoping someone will be able to help.

I am a Chemical Engineering graduate with 3.5 years experience in the Oil and Gas Industry as a safety engineering consultant. For the past 1.5 years I've slowly been coming to the realisation that engineering isn't quite for me.

I wanted to try something that's interesting, where I'll learn a lot of different skills (my current role is very niche). Since the technology industry is currently growing and there so many interesting new developments, I figured I'd give technology consulting a try.

I applied to a number of graduate schemes (since no one would hire me as an experienced professional) and made it on the IBM scheme.

Since being made an offer, I've done some research on technology consulting in general as well as IBM and have been really surprised by the volume of negative opinions on the company.

Has anyone been on the IBM CbD scheme who could share their experiences with me? From what I've read, the chance for promotion is very limited and can be slow, with pay rises small or non existent. I'd be taking a significant pay cut to join IBM but thought my salary would increase quite quickly as a junior.

Additionally, I've been reading a lot of stuff that suggests technology consulting is essentially a dead end, with no options outside technology consulting. Is this the case? I'm not sure I'd like to be stuck in a career that involved travelling forever, I'd eventually like to be based in one place, working with same company. Is this possible after doing technology consulting for a few years?

Any help / insight anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated.


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#2 RE: Technology Consulting - IBM
25/01/2017 00:13

MiguelGigante to HAnwar89 (#1)

Hi HAnwar89,

Quick background here -- Worked at IBM for almost 20 years, and with other professional services groups of various sizes for another 10.

The CbD (Consulting by degrees) program is a good "whirlwind" program to get exposed to a lot of different projects in a short amount of time. We used CbD'ers on several of my projects and they were top notch folks and really helped the project out. Tasks may be a little more administrative, but you will get exposure to people, process, and technologies. So, I would give a positive review to that.

In general and in my experience, consulting (anywhere) is a little like being a technical gypsy -- you move from project to project, and your successes come from effective and efficient projects, and being well utilized (being billable to clients as opposed to working on internal projects or being on the bench). As you move out of the CbD program, you will probably be asked to join a practice or service area which meets your qualifications and business needs. As you do, hit the ground running, and get billable.

As per company "a" vs "b", there's a lot of similarities in this field, and in my experience, the job satisfaction and quality of the experience is a little bit of a dice roll, but mostly what you make of it. The good news is that most projects that I've been on have been in the 3mo-24mo range and you get to change your venue (whether you like to or not) and move on to different clients, different projects, and different locations. Very rarely have I seen long-timers be in the same client location working on the same projects.

Personally, as IBM goes, it's an awesome company, it's not like it was "years ago" with cradle-to-grave career mentality and a pension. It's competitive, it's heartless, and it's methodical. If you're lucky you'll meet some awesomely intelligent people, work on some challenging issues, and learn a lot.

However, you are personally responsible for managing your own career path. Pick your head up after 2-5 years and personally evaluate if the business relationship between you and your employer still benefits you the way you want, and if not, move along.

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#3 RE: Technology Consulting - IBM
25/01/2017 00:34

MikeTC to HAnwar89 (#1)

Don't read too much into negative reviews IMO. A company that size is always going to have naysayers. Make your own judgement from the people you have spoken to during the process and anyone in your network who is connected etc.

If you want your break in tech consulting, I imagine it's a solid place to do it.

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