Olivia James

Tell us a little bit about you?

My name is Olivia James and I am 21 years old, from Kent. Upon leaving sixth form, I worked full time for a year and then went to study Law with Business at the University of Portsmouth. However, I didn’t enjoy the course so I came back home, worked full-time again for 9 months and then found my degree apprenticeship with IBM.

What are you studying?

BA (Hons) Business Management

Where are you working?

I work for IBM as a Strategy Consultant, currently based in Southbank in London. However, depending on what project I am doing, I have the flexibility to move locations, which is good.

Why did you choose a Degree Apprenticeship?

I chose a degree apprenticeship, as I knew that after my short stint at university previously, I still wanted to get a degree. But, I feel that the best way I learn is whilst working at the same time and being able to practically apply what I am learning about.

What have you enjoyed most about your course?

I have enjoyed getting to know so many different people throughout my work and attendance at Pearson Business School. I have also enjoyed the fact that we attend university at Pearson College London every Friday so it’s a nice balance between work and education, which I really enjoy. Also, where I have studied Business Studies at GCSE and A-Level I feel like it is building on the basic understanding I already had which has made me feel more comfortable.   

What have you learnt so far, during your work placement?

I have had many opportunities so far within my work placement, with different training courses and also the project I have been on that have allowed me to learn a lot in my first six months. It has given me a broad range of skills such as networking, project management, team management, financial skills etc.

How has your placement helped you with your studies?

My placement has definitely helped with my studies as I am able to use real-life applications and apply them to my studies whether that is in a group discussion or in my coursework. It also gives me a larger network of people to be able to draw experiences from that can ultimately help with my studies.

Do you have any advice for anyone applying for a degree apprenticeship?

I would say make sure you do the relevant research and prepare well for any interviews or assessment centres to make sure it is definitely the path that you want to go down in life. This will also make sure that you can give yourself the best chance at succeeding with your applications.

Lastly, I would say don’t panic either as it’s not as scary as you first initially might think!