Company of the Week: What IBM offers for Sales Graduates?

Yesterday we talked about Consulting by Degree program but did you know that we have own graduate program in sales as well?

Sales Graduate Program consists on learning activities, mentoring, coaching and networking enabling you to achieve your business and developmental goals. You will join IBM’s world-class Global Sales School, a sales training program where you learn about our business, tools and sales methodology to help you build long term business relationships to help clients to grow their businesses. In addition, you will join the Nordic graduate community network, which you can benefit from throughout your career in IBM and you will get on the job experience of your new skills in real sales cases. Our salespeople sell some of the world’s most innovative IT and business solutions ranging from media and manufacturing to government and finance. Your opportunities are only limited by your own imagination.

Sales Graduate recruitment takes place between March and May each year and the program itself starts September 1st.

In the last post of this week’s blog, we asked one of our recent graduates, Tea Suuronen, about the program and how it’s been working at IBM.


Why did you decided to apply for IBM Sales Graduate?

“IBM is the best business school in the world” – Statement that caught my attention immediately. This rides well as I see myself as a tech-savvy business engineer who gets excited about what we can achieve with technology, there are so many great things we can do and we are only at the beginning now. Also with my background in industrial management including both business and technology, IBM felt very natural choice for me to combine both when I started thinking where I want to continue after graduation.


How was the Graduate Program compared to your expectations?

The Graduate program has completely exceeded my expectations. Of course first weeks went in a bit of a haze since there were so many new things to learn, plenty of training sessions, etc. but I also got straight into client cases that are the best part of the job. Also every person in the house knows the Graduate program and has gone through the same path, at least in some extensions, so I felt welcomed since my first day. We also have really great team that took me in since the beginning so it was, and still is, easy for me to reach out and ask for help when needed.


What sort of training did you receive? Tell us about Global Sales School.

Part of being a Sales Graduate is participating IBM Global Sales School training program. This is a true fast-track to selling processes. There are different kind of trainings and exercises spread around the period of 9 months in Nordic level teams, which will be done as a part of your “normal work”. The range of trainings varied from presentation skills, technical workshops, how to find new business opportunities, negotiation skills, etc. including both face-to-face labs with Nordic colleagues and e-learning exercises. Selling in general is something that is not taught that much in the Universities so there were plenty of new things. I also found it highly interesting that you do not need to be born as a great seller but there are actually well defined business processes behind, and then it is applying this into real life scenarios.


What is it like to be Sales Graduate at IBM?

Selling is at least as much knowledge of the human psychology as it is the know-how of different individual solutions and products. During the Sales Graduate program there are plenty of opportunities for training necessary skills, first with trainings and then with customers. For me it has been motivating to notice that I can immediately apply the theories learned into practice and learn, sometimes through mistakes, how things work in real-life. My biggest lesson-learned has been that you should always try – sometimes it works, other times doesn’t but you will definitely learn a lot on both cases. Of course nobody gets thrown into cold water unless they want to, but straight roads do not make us good drivers either. In Sales Graduate program you will also get an experienced seller as your mentor and then your own Buddy from who you can ask anything.


How do you think you have developed since joining IBM?

Comparing to the state when I started, I have come a long way. Even though I felt I had pretty good idea what is happening on the IT-sector, I had only scratched a surface. Especially now that the digitalization is changing the way of doing business in every industry, it feels like I have a front row seat to be a part of our economy taking this leap. I am also actively following what is happening and when I wake up I first browse through TechCrunch and Mashable-sites. Learning the unique industry features and drivers gives much more concreate perspective on how and why certain actions take place than I got during my studies at the university. I also feel I have gained more confidence on discussing and bouncing new ideas with my clients as well as developed my communication and presentation skills.


What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

Variability and meeting new people. Each day is completely different than other. I can’t even say I have routine tasks but new projects and opportunities are emerging all the time and then I take action accordingly. Luckily we have a house full of great people to reach out. It is quite funny to look my calendar for the upcoming week on Monday morning and then comparing it on Friday afternoon, realizing it looks completely different. Suits well at least for me!


What hints would you give to a student who’s planning to apply for a trainee-position at IBM?

Be curious! You don’t need to know everything about IT or how the technology works but you need to be eager to learn. I can assure you, witnessing from the front-line on what we can achieve with technology gives at least to me a huge thrill and motivation for my work. There are also plenty of different kind of roles and positions in this house so you can modify your career to look like you quite easily. You just need to have courage to shout out what you want to do – there will be plenty of support and encouragement!