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James Schofield

Career Path: Graduate Technology Consultant, IBM
Location: London, UK

Having completed a years placement with IBM in Edinburgh assisting a Programme Manager, I wanted to return to the company for their graduate scheme. The 'Consulting by Degrees' scheme takes on graduates and gives immediate exposure to clients through rotations of 6-month projects. I wanted to go into technology because of the fast paced nature of the industry, and chose IBM because I felt they were truly working on life changing projects. The process to get into IBM is somewhat difficult, but I was determined to get in as I see this as the start of a long career with them.

What are you doing now?James Schofield

I am currently working on a public sector project implementing a set of e-learning modules. My role is to manage the project internally within IBM, and liaise with the client to showcase our product and gather feedback through meetings and workshops.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

The course I elected for mixed a year of university with two years on placement, whilst still completing coursework. I liked that the course gave you real experience. I worked at the University on my first year of placement in the Events Team, and I feel that without that year experience I would not have got into IBM. The lecturers which taught me all had business experience and were able to teach from a personal perspective

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

Because I was part of a 45 person cohort, there was ample support from lecturers as they were able to dedicate time to each of us. There was a mixture of lectures and seminars, with a number of projects running throughout the year. Both peer and lecturer feedback was encouraged throughout the course.

How connected was your course with industry?

My course was very connected to industry, we were involved in projects in unison with large organisations such as the Princes Trust Charity and John Lewis. We all also completed placements, which were either provided by the university or sought out ourselves.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

I think my placement years immensely impacted my career. I have had numerous interviews in which I have been asked 'Please tell me a time when you have shown...'  and without my placement years I would have struggled to answer these and show my true potential.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

The placement schemes helped to set me apart, as well as gaining a first class honours degree.

What was the best thing about your course?

The lecturers really understood the industry and had worked in the areas they were teaching about, as oppose to teaching from a purely academic perspective.

Which skills/ knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

The skills learnt on my placement such as professionalism and how to conduct yourself in a corporate environment allowed me to start my role ready to excel. The academic knowledge of how teams work and leadership attributes have allowed me to analyse my current role and determine a best course of action.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

The people - both the lecturers and my fellow students ensured that I enjoyed studying and now have a solid network of professionals to depend upon.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Its a great university and I would certainly advise it for anybody who wants to gain real life skills and experience, preparing them for a successful future.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words? 

Engaging, vocational and rewarding.

For more information about me see:

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