Thomas Woolford, Cloud Sales Specialist at IBM.

Ultimately everything comes down to networking and relationship building.

thomas woolford

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

Pearson College London has numerous connections with companies, but also a deep understanding of how apprentices fit into modern day companies. Therefore, not only was I given valuable preparation and development before going into my companies, I also had previously established connections which gave me a kickstart to networking. 

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

I work at IBM currently, and my role is a Cloud Sales Specialist. I cover the insurance industry for the UK, selling a wide portfolio of services to my clients. This involves building client relationships, working both internally and externally to develop complex solutions, building pipeline and creating opportunities, and ultimately helping IBM grow and develop. 

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently running a sales campaign in my industry, targeting key clients for certain solutions and presenting the value proposition to them. This includes running virtual webinars and having follow-up calls, and the way through to solutioning the right products and services for the client’s problem, working with them closely. 

What do you enjoy the most about working for IBM?

One of the things that amazed me by IBM was the incredible network of early professionals that welcome you in. IBM Foundation is filled with apprentices, graduates and interns, and the community facilitates everyone’s development, giving you that strong sense of belonging but also the forum to debate, learn and question.  

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

Having learned and developed so much, its hard to pinpoint key learnings. One thing I’ve learned is that ultimately everything comes down to networking and relationship building. It’s important not to underestimate the value of this, as new opportunities appear only if you expand your eminence both within and outside of your company. Working towards this always pays off, both directly and indirectly. 

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

By far the best part of Pearson College London was the sheer variety of attendees. The other apprentices I met and grew to knew had such diverse background, careers, goals and experiences, and every single day I would be learning from them, irrelevant of their age or experience. Having that mix of people only leads to greater growth for the whole group, and it has been invaluable to me. 

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

Growth. It may seem cliché, but I entered Pearson College London at 18 straight from secondary school, and 3 years later I look back at that as a completely different life. I have grown exponentially through my apprenticeship, developed so much through my own experiences and others, and it would be an understatement to say I have changed as a person. This is the point of apprenticeships, and the value of this process is not lost on me.  

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

Don’t focus too much on a single area. Business is wide and varied, and you won’t find your true calling or main interest without experiencing multiple areas. You will also be a more valuable asset to an employer if you deeply understand the cogs in the business machine. A lot of this comes through networking, a desire to learn, and chasing new opportunity outside of your comfort zone. 

What's your favourite brand and why?

My favourite brand is Tesla, purely because of their clear understanding of their target market and audience. This is proven by their die-hard fans and customers, and through their practices of innovation and customization, constantly demonstrating and consolidating their values, and capitalizing on their unique leadership and position in the market. 

What course did you study?

BA (Hons) Business Management