We previously shared an article about Exciting Work that Provides Opportunities to Expand Your Creativity. We continue the series featuring Julian Villarreal, a Summer Financial Analyst in Worldwide IT Financial Consolidation who attends The University of Texas and majors in Finance. Julian will graduate in 2017.

How did you find out about this Co-op/internship opportunity In IBM?

I found out about this internship opportunity through a corporate diversity program known as Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO). During my recruitment process with SEO they matched me with potential firms to interview with for a finance internship and as soon as I heard IBM was an option, my decision was made.

What was your application and interview process like?

I applied for SEO and once I went through their half of the recruitment process (phone screening and two interviews) I was selected to interview with IBM. At that point, I applied to the Summer Financial Analyst position on the IBM career website and had a 30 minutes phone interview with the IBM Program Executive.  I received my offer a week after the interview and the entire process took three weeks.

What kind of work do you do in your role?

My team finances internal IT at IBM globally. In my specific role, I work with financial models to track certain areas of spending and ensure we are on track to hit our budget quarter to quarter. I also do one-off requests to dig into discrepancies in spending and highlight complications.

Describe a typical day in the office?

A typical day at the office consists of grabbing a coffee with a teammate in the morning, checking emails, catching up with my manager, working with financial models, ensuring my deliverables are being completed, and running in out of meetings with my team.

What is your best memory or experience working for IBM?

My best experience came from a meeting with an executive who became my mentor. We were introduced at lunch with some team members of mine and afterward, we connected for a more formal meeting. We have since connected a few times throughout my internship and he has shared career insights with me that I will carry throughout my career. IBM truly cares about its people and it reflects in the leadership’s will to develop employees.

What was the hardest challenge you faced in your role?

Getting accustomed to the analytics tools and beefing up my Excel skills were the hardest challenges I faced during my internship. I am a finance major and worked on another internship prior to my role at IBM, but this is the first time I was required to be technically sound. I am actually applying what I learned in school and working with large sums of cash. Errors in my internship could lead to dollars lost for the company as opposed to points off of my grade.

What is one thing you found out during your time here that you didn’t expect?

I wasn’t aware of IBM’s Agile culture prior to my first day of work. My team finances IT at IBM and therefore we work closely with those in the Chief Information Officer (CIO) team and work within the Agile space. It is a very collaborative culture and refreshing work area. I don’t feel boxed in and it ultimately boosts my productivity.

Anything else you want to share about your experience?

IBM is a technology company that offers opportunities like no other. At IBM you can truly switch careers without switching companies.

IBM offers opportunities in finance, consulting, HR, compliance, computer science, supply chain, marketing, and sales just to give a broad overview of possible career tracks available. Within each of these areas, there are a variety of roles that could keep an employee engaged for a lifetime, which is why you meet IBMers who have been with the company for 40 years. After working for IBM, it is not a surprise to me when I meet a “lifer.”

If you think you have got what it takes to succeed in Finance and other internships and co-op opportunities at IBM, you should definitely check out IBM EPIC pages in the US and Canada.

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