Hayley Jones - BA (Hons) Business Studies Graduate

Current Employer: IBM

Current Job Title: ECM Financial Services Sector Deployment Specialist

Current Location: South Bank, London

“I couldn't recommend studying at Plymouth University highly enough as there is a high level of flexibility in the types of modules that can be chosen. This was perfect for me as I could tailor my programme of study to best fit my learning interests.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I started applying for graduate jobs during my final year of university as I was eager to stay on top of the recruitment process and not miss out on any opportunities once the deadlines had closed. I was lucky enough to have already secured my job at IBM before I had graduated. So, since graduating, I have been in my role at IBM within the software division in the analytics line of business and have already begun discussing management aspirations with my line manager.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The most difficult thing I have faced is transitioning into a role with such a high level of expectation and responsibility. IBM is a massive organisation which at times has been difficult to navigate as a new starter, particularly when having such a huge amount to learn with a lot of pressure on me to get up to speed as quickly as possible to begin moving forward in my role. I was definitely looking for a graduate job where I would be faced with this degree of responsibility and meet customers from day one; however, when this is all happens at once it can be overwhelming. A graduate role is such a big step up from an intern role and in the beginning it can be a challenge to manage. 

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

The best and most exciting thing I have done in my career so far was my placement year at SAP, in my third year at university. I learnt such a great deal and at the same time had a lot of fun. I was lucky enough to travel to destinations in Europe such as Amsterdam, attend corporate events, and I even hosted customers at Wimbledon! It set me up for where I am today so I am very grateful for the opportunities I was given.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

Whilst I feel I experienced a lot during my placement year, if I had the opportunity to complete it again I would definitely try to explore different business departments. I was solely focussed on sales at the time as it was my specified role, which has resulted in me subsequently taking a sales path. However, I do wish I had taken the time to better understand different business departments, such as procurement and marketing which would have made me aware of different opportunities that I perhaps wasn’t aware of.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

I would advise someone wishing to enter into a career in sales to firstly get as much experience as possible in that area, whether it be through placements, apprenticeships, voluntary work, telesales, retail assistant jobs etc. Secondly, ensure when interviewing for these types of roles you convey that you are passionate and driven. This is because to be successful in sales, you need to be able to cope with pressure and have the constant determination to create your own success.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Plymouth University helped me reach where I am today through all the support and advice that was afforded to me during the process searching for a placement role. In addition, I believe that the work ethic I learnt whilst studying at Plymouth – ‘the more you put into it, the more you get out of it’ – to have been invaluable throughout both my academic life and moving into my career. Of particular note, my personal tutor, Sue Kinsey, was a great support and influence throughout my entire university experience.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

I couldn’t recommend studying at Plymouth University highly enough as there is a high level of flexibility in the types of modules that can be chosen. This was perfect for me as I could tailor my programme of study to best fit my learning interests and focus on the areas of business that were of most interest to me.