BA (Hons) Business Studies student Stephen Moss used his placement year at international tech company IBM to take him one step closer to a high-flying career in global HR.

After attending a guest lecture by IBM’s University Attraction Manager, Stephen was so inspired by the company’s innovative outlook and investment in people that he applied for a placement with them.

He said, “There was a quote by the founder of IBM, Thomas Watson, who said that “IBM’s greatest ever invention was the IBMer” – so, as someone who is interested in a career in HR, that was really appealing for me.”

Initially Stephen began his placement in one of IBMs People Development Centre’s where he worked on staff efficiency and inductions, but with some organisational changes his role grew. In the final months of his placement Stephen was working on assisting with hiring graduates and applied a personal touch to his dealings with IBM’s applicants.

Stephen’s ambition did not go unnoticed by his managers and colleagues at IBM, who praised him for his work ethos, attitude and empathetic approach to giving difficult news.

Stephen Moss

Caroline Brooks is a Foundation Professional Development Manager at IBM and was Stephen’s direct line manager for his placement. Commenting on his passion and enthusiasm during the placement, she said:

“Early on he set himself clear targets of what he wanted to achieve throughout the year and these included being the very best he could; making a real impact to both his team and IBM.”

“Going the extra mile, never once compromised Stephen's ability to complete his work with efficiency and extremely effectively. I often received emails from executives and hiring managers, advising of Stephen's successes.”

Caroline was so impressed with his performance during his year-long placement that she put him forward for the IBM HR Speed Summer Internship which takes on just 4-6 people each year from the whole of the UK. The three-month summer placement culminated in Stephen flying to New York with his team to present its findings on a global project to IBM’s most senior HR executives.

While at IBM Stephen received several ‘Thanks’ awards in recognition of his work, but the greatest praise was the offer of a permanent position on the HR Leadership Development Programme after graduation.

Assessments throughout the summer placement and the sizeable contributions he made determined his suitability for the scheme, which aims to develop the very best candidates into the HR leaders of the future. The scheme will allow him to gain insight into different areas of HR through practical rotations, as well as an international assignment in a developing market for IBM.

Reflecting on his achievements, Stephen said: “Whether you’re doing a placement or not, it’s really important to show passion and willing for what you do, no matter how small. I don’t think I would have had the opportunities that I have if I hadn’t taken on the things that some may see as boring or tedious, and thrown everything at completing them to the best of my ability.”

His placement manager Caroline commented on Stephen’s performance excellence: “A place on the HR Leadership Development Programme is a real achievement and is testament to the exceptional performance Stephen has demonstrated throughout his placement. It has been a real pleasure to manage Stephen throughout the year. He has built strong relationships in many areas of the company and this network alongside the ethos that Stephen has, will enable him to be an absolute success in his future with IBM. He is by far one of the best placement students we have ever had.”

For now, Stephen is back at BU to finish his business degree, but it won’t be long before he is back at IBM – and winning further plaudits for the quality of his work.