Stick figures on campus; IBM at the University of Toronto

As a favor to Stephen Perelgut (one of my mentors) and because I happen to really like working with IBM, I participated in today’s campus event at the University of Toronto. We were supposed to set up tables at the atrium of the Bahen Centre, but the power outlets didn’t work, so we moved to another room. The room was a little out of the way, but Cathy Sardellitti and Sarah Weiss did a great job at diverting some of the traffic to our room.

Representatives from most of IBM’s software brands set up their laptops with demos to show. I was the only person representing IBM Global Business Services. I had originally been a bit worried about whether I could make it through the four hours, much less muster the courage to strike up conversations with everyone (or deal with the rejection of seeing everyone walk by!). I knew it would be good practice, though, so I said yes. When the students came in, I was too busy trying to draw people into conversation to worry about whether people would talk to me! <laugh>

I set up this presentation to loop on my computer:

… and I invited people to ask me about IBM’s services and about what IBM is like for new graduates. I must’ve talked to about 25 people, mostly students who were interested in either internship opportunities or in full-time employment after graduation. It was great to reassure them that yes, IBM was still hiring. In the process of describing what life is like as a new grad, I realized that I really appreciate the flexibility that working in consulting gives me. I can help clients solve problems using both IBM and non-IBM technologies. I’m always learning new things. I can explore my interest in both about business and software development. And I’m doing all of this within a support structure that means I’ve got plenty of people and resources to learn from.

I also learned a lot by talking to the other representatives. They told me what they loved about their work, and they shared ideas for making the campus event even better. I really enjoyed chatting with other IBMers who were also passionate about what they do. =)

I think it was a good event. We helped some people who hadn’t originally considered working for such a large company see the benefits of doing so, and we answered lots of people’s questions. I’d do it again. It was a good experience, and next time, I’d probably find it easier to start the conversations!