Portrait photograph of: Matthew Heywood

Matthew Heywood

Country Of Origin: United Kingdom

Degree: BSc Business Economics (Industry), 2017

Matthew worked around the UK with IBM as a Foundation Business Consultant for his placement year.

When starting my second year I realised that I had little to no work experience. A placement year felt like the perfect opportunity to experience a job, figure out what I wanted to do. It gave me the perfect opportunity to find my feet, and make a real difference to a company, and myself. I felt as though a summer placement wasn’t long enough to figure out my next steps, or what I wanted to do.

I have been lucky enough to work for IBM with a client during my placement, and I have experienced two different roles as part of this. Firstly, I worked in PMO (Project Management Office) in Leeds with a client, and I worked in a team that was ultimately the “back office” of the project. We were responsible for a whole host of things such as: purchase orders, contractor extension/ hiring requests, access requests to the clients systems. I also led various tasks such as communications strategy pieces to better integrate onshore and offshore, and before leaving I transferred my role to offshore.

Half way through my placement I got an exciting opportunity to move to the Digital Team. I worked in a team on a series of small projects aimed at reducing calls in our call centres, and converting them into online journeys. This meant I had to figure out the current processes, and help design, and implement new online journeys for the customer. In my latest project I’ve been working on integrating a new CMS (Content Management System), which is a big initiative designed to change both the look and feel of the website, but also the content upload methods. I had to take business requirements, and write “user stories” which in turn helps our developers create the new website.

My placement has been incredible. I was given the chance to prove myself, and once I did this I was given a lot of responsibility. My level of responsibility far exceeded what I initially expected. I was given the opportunity to do a “real” value-adding delivery job, and I am told that not many placement students get this opportunity. I often had to present to our senior leadership team, which was a fantastic experience, and has really helped me develop as a person. I was also given the opportunity to be a consultant and work directly with the client. I felt like I was given the opportunity to make a real difference, as I saw results of my work on our website. I travelled with the rest of the team Monday-Thursday and experienced living away from home. If you get the opportunity to do this, I’d definitely recommend it. It might seem a pain, but it’s a lot of fun, and a definite perk.

LUMS Careers team were a fantastic help during the placement preparation. They were always available to talk, offer advice, and help make my application that bit better than it could have been. Even during my placement, they came to visit me in the office, and made sure everything was going well. I have a lot to thank them for their time, and effort invested in me.