Sophie Hawkins, Business Consultant at IBM

Your network is so important to your progression.

sophie hawkins

How did studying at Pearson College London help you get into the world of business?

Giving me independence in my learning, provided connections and visibility of and insight into the working world. Our assignments were real life business problems and I have used some of the frameworks we studied in my current role with IBM.  

Where have you gone on to work and what is your role?

I joined the IBM business consulting graduate scheme after I left PCL in 2017 which I have now completed and I’m now in my fourth year with IBM. I am based in the Cloud Application Services sector of their Global Business Services area. My current role is the Scrum Master for the Architecture team on the project I am working on. I manage the team’s backlog of work, keep the team focused on the programme priorities and deal with any issues that arise. I’m also responsible for all the architectural documentation and the process for making technical decisions.  

What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve spent the last 2 years on a major Public Sector project where my role has evolved over this time from assisting with creating and maintaining the Programme’s High Level Technical Roadmap to taking on more responsibility and managing various processes and meetings and finally to managing the architect team and moving them into an Agile way of working.  Over lockdown I was also working towards my next promotion which I successfully achieved in October. 

Alongside my client project I am involved in various internal projects in IBM such as mentoring and buddying schemes for graduates and partners.  

What do you enjoy most about working for IBM?

The people. In a company as large as IBM it is very easy to feel like a small cog in the big machine but I have been so supported and encouraged by the people I have met and work with it is one of the reasons why I have wanted to stay in IBM. There are so many interesting people and always someone to learn from or to coach. 

What lessons have you learnt during your time studying and your time working in business?

Network, Eminence, Positive Attitude, Willingness to get involved.  PCL taught me so much about just giving something a go and working well with others. I’ve had to work with all sorts of people since I’ve joined IBM and have gained that initial confidence during studying has only made this easier. Your network is so important to your progression in IBM. Building your eminence is something that I am continually working on working out what I want to be famous for. Getting experience of presenting, group work, networking while studying was vital to my progression in IBM. 

What was your favourite part of studying at Pearson College London?

The freedom to try new ideas. PCL was a safe space to be innovative and put into practice some of what we were learning. I loved the Industry involvement and the breadth of experience that our lecturers brought to the class. 

If you had to sum up your time at Pearson College London in one word, what would it be and why?

Innovation – PCL is a new approach to Higher Education, giving students a platform to be creative and entrepreneurial and I loved being part of shaping that.   

What advice would you give to students looking to start a career within the business industry?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions; challenge why something is done a certain way and network, network, network! 

What's your favourite brand and why?

The Royal Family – the way they have evolved over time to be more current and accessible to the public, the social causes they support and the awareness of issues they are raising.  

What course did you study?

Business and Enterprise (Accredited by Royal Holloway)