“Which of these do you agree with?”
- Intelligence is fixed at birth.
- Some people are creative, others aren’t.
- You can become a world-class expert through enough practice, whatever your starting point.
- You can change your personality.
“If you agreed with the first two statements, you’re coming from a fixed mindset. If you agreed with the second two, you’ve got a growth mindset.”
Welcome to another edition of the graduate blogs! Just wanted to stimulate your thinking with the opening pop quiz.
I will tell you a little about myself. My first name Arolape is from the Yoruba culture in Nigeria. Proud as I am to bear the name, I prefer to be called Rolape. I come from a Royal family in a village called EPE. I moved to the UK in 2011 to start my A levels in Bristol. Thereafter, I moved to Kent, where I attended the University of Kent and graduated with a First class Honours degree in Computing with Consultancy.
Subsequently, I decided to take a few months off from the academic/career side of things to travel as there is so little you can do with a 23-day travel allowance. I went to Barcelona, Dubai, Miami, Nigeria, Philadelphia, Singapore and Washington. It was truly a remarkable experience meeting new people and embracing new cultures. I came back refreshed and ready to start at Computacenter.
I remember my first day in Hatfield; my assessment day. Driving through the business park and looking at how big the CC Estate was, walking through the glass doors filled with so many people, it was where I wanted to be. When I got the call that I was one of the 8 selected from the over 700 candidates who applied I was ecstatic!
It’s fascinating how quickly time flies when you’re occupied with things to do. We started here just over 3 months ago. I remember my first 3 weeks, meeting so many people all from different streams in the business, people who had been here before I was even born. Being the traveller that I am, I get bored from just staying in one place for such a long period of time. I remember thinking don’t they get bored? But every day, every new person I meet, attributes to the fundamental principles that CC is built on: “Understanding that people matter”. It’s been an interesting journey so far and I anticipate that the remaining 15 months of our 18 month scheme will be as great if not greater!
As Alex and Laura said, we have had an induction for 3 weeks, meeting people in Projects Practice such as Andy Moffitt, Zam Kaderkutty, Project leads and a couple of Senior Project managers. We then went to the CPO, scheduling, BECS, Practice leads, Sales, PPO’s and are currently with the Consultancy Practice, gaining good insight as to how they work closely with Project managers and engage with clients. We will be moving on to spend a week with GIO. My time at the Hays PPO has exceeded all rotations and been the best experience for me. It was a good time to actually engage in live, active projects and get a taste of what life as a Project Manager really is. The team I was working with were so supportive, the PPO Lead Tanya Hayes, was so supportive and encouraging. She literally allowed me “get down into the mud”. By Day 2, I was already handling my first project, with my buddy, Fahad who coincidentally was on the Hays account! He explained all the templates, took me through raising my first MARs request and so much more.
The biggest project I did on the Hays account comprised of decommissioning servers. I had to facilitate the initiation of this project and communicate with over 10 ISPs. It was a very interesting challenge but very good experience in seeing how, as a PM engaging with ISPs differ and is not just a standard process. The Hays PPO team were fantastic and I thank them all and really enjoyed the experience. It was sad to say goodbye but who knows I might be back sooner than I know it!
My future at CC is looking bright! I anticipate that the upcoming rotations to be intellectually stimulating as the first few have been. There are still so many fantastic people to meet and great minds to collaborate with. I hope to increase my network over time. Do tune in next time to read a fantastic blog written by Thomas Weston!
I decided to leave you with a riddle. Think outside the box, and feel free to let me know what you come up with! Do have a great week and hope you have enjoyed my blog!
I’m Laura Springall and welcome to the second edition of the Project Management Graduates blog update. Many thanks to Alex for an excellent update about the whirlwind of our first two months at Computacenter.
To give some background about myself, I am from St. Albans and I graduated this year with 1st class honours in Sociology from The University of Manchester. My biggest misconception of joining Computacenter was that everyone who works at Computacenter comes from an IT background. With applications open for the next year of graduates, I encourage anyone without an IT related degree to not be deterred from applying to the Project Management Graduate programme. A top tip I can give for anyone applying is to not focus on promoting your technical skills, but instead focus on promoting your soft skills. These soft skills are so very critical to the Project Manager role, such as excellent communication, proactivity and leadership.
Computacenter is fantastic for personal development and this has been recognised by The Job Crowd for being a top company for early careers. If you haven’t already, I recommend seeing if Computacenter is visiting your University’s Graduate Fair for some extra hints and tips about the application process and what to expect.
A personal highlight of the Graduate programme so far has been our rotation with the Practice Leads. Over a week we covered many grounds, discussing from the future of the digital workplace to why the Service Operating Model (SOM) emerged, to the Practice Leads’ own career journeys and lessons learned which they kindly passed onto us. The rotation also got pretty intense when a competition was introduced on one of days, all about Digital Me hosted by Steve Hyde, Faizal Ali and Amit Mistry. Unexpectedly it brought out all our competitive sides! Congratulations to James Gale, the (lucky) winner. Thanks again to the Practice Leads for taking time out of your schedules.
The sales rotation also sticks out in my mind as a high point. This was a one week period where we gained an understanding of the different divisions within sales, both the Account Manager and Solutions Specialist role, and a sales perspective of what makes a good Project Manager. A key take away from the rotation was how by only being transparent with customers, gaining their trust and putting them first we can do business. Towards the end of the week, we were also introduced to Basement Jacks, which was a great opportunity to network with the sales team and hear about their journeys into sales.
More recently, over the last two weeks us Graduates have begun our Projects Portfolio Office (PPO) rotation. I am currently on the Post Office PPO and based up in Manchester. I’ve loved being back in Manchester and it’s been great getting to work with the team. It’s also nice to see some familiar friendly faces from Central Projects Office (CPO) who we met a few months before on our rotation. As much as us Graduates are missing each other, we are all thoroughly enjoying this new experience. This rotation allows us to get hands on with smaller projects where we can see them from the beginning of their life cycle right to the end. The rotation further offers the opportunity to put into practice what we have learnt so far, for instance SOM is no longer just theoretical! I have seen first-hand how it fits into the customer request process and the benefits it brings to Computacenter’s projects. I look forward to seeing what the next two weeks of the PPO rotation will bring!
Finally, I like to set a new motivational quote as my iPhone’s background each week, so I thought I would end my blog post by sharing this week’s quote which I felt has been relevant to me starting the PPO rotation and Graduate scheme as a whole.
As cliché as it sounds, I think it’s something all us Graduates believe and we are very grateful for the time and energy that has been invested in us since we joined in August.
Thank you very much for reading my first blog post. The next update will be brought to you by Arolape Adebowale.
Welcome to the first edition of the 2017 Projects Practice Graduate Blog. My name is Alex and I’ll be the first of eight to be updating everyone on the graduate scheme and what we’ve been getting up to over the coming months.
To first give a background of myself; I graduated from the University of Exeter back in 2016 having studied a bachelors in Mining Engineering – yes mining, nothing at all to do with computers! Having completed my degree, my first proper job was as a graduate civil engineer working in Cornwall before switching tact entirely and opting for a career in project management. So, not your usual route into IT! I must say however, having worked in a different industry and in the public sector gives to some very useful perspective!
Civil engineering is a very busy and prosperous industry within the UK and a fantastic thing to get into. However, as with many industries, the higher up you go, the less technical you become and the more people management begins to dominate your day-to-day working life. So if the end goal was to be a project manager, why not start now? And why not dip my toes into a different industry while I’m at it? Well here I am!
What is becoming increasingly apparent to me, is the wealth of tools and support that Computacenter makes available in order for you to reach your potential. Having briefly worked in the public sector, I was in a much more stagnant environment operating on a very much ‘dead man’s shoes’ principal. Now, maybe that was because I was working in Cornwall and I must say the pace of life is a lot more laid back there, but it’s certainly not what a lot of young people want in their early careers and this inevitably added to the reasons why I decided to move.
In our brief 9 weeks with Computacenter, the grads have had dinner with the Group Professional Services Director- Andy Moffitt, we’ve met the Head of Projects Practice- Zameer Kaderkutty and the Head of Consultancy- Martin Provoost to name but a few. All these hugely important and influential people in the company and they are able to spare the time to meet us and welcome us. I am overwhelmingly impressed; the only time I ever spoke to and shook the hand of the office manager in my previous job was to say “Cheerio, I’m leaving for London!” That was after six months in the job which you’d think is enough time to rub shoulders with your office manager; it wasn’t even a big office! What I’m trying to say is that I did not expect such important people to be concerned with or interested in graduates because my previous superiors certainly weren’t! I’m delighted to have been proved wrong in this assumption.
Aside from socialising with ‘big wigs’ of the Computacenter society, we have started our rotations where we delve into some of the core divisions of Computacenter. We have spent two weeks with the Central Projects Office which appears to be a very successful and rapidly growing section of Computacenter. It’s probably easier for me to tell you what they don’t do rather than what they actually do as it seems to me as nearly everything. This epiphany led to the development of our new graduate strategy going forward: “If you don’t know where to go, contact CPO!”
After the Central Projects Office, we spent a week with scheduling followed by a week with BECS. Scheduling provided a very useful insight and it’s great to know where all those iRequests that project coordinators raise actually go! The following week with BECS provided us with a grounding in the pre-sales process and all the work required to win a bid. We were also given a task of developing a background study and a tailored sales campaign for several potential clients entering the market in the future. So who knows? Our background studies may contribute in some small way to a few future bids!
That brings us nearly up to the present. I just want to reiterate how impressed I am with CC- and how well I’ve been received into the company. The guys on Glassdoor weren’t kidding about the level of praise the company deserves! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I’ve added a photo of us all on our first day, all trying to look as professional as possible! From the left: Tom D, myself, James, Issie, Laura, Rollie, Tom W and Nick (who seems to have lost interest in looking at the camera!).
The next entry will be by Laura Springall in the upcoming weeks.
It looks like I’m last up to write the final projects practice gradate blog. Best to last I guess! Thank you to all my graduate colleagues for their previous blogs and hearing how we have all progressed and settled into the company so well. This is my first EVER blog because I don’t really do writing, I’m a talker. However before I begin here is a little about me: I studied Information Technology Management for Business at the University of Hertfordshire and graduated last year with a First Class honours. I have 3 family businesses and I like food. Anyone who wants to win me over, food is your answer! I used to Box and reached a National level, however food took over my life. After 12 months at O2 as UK audio manager and my final academic year at University, I find myself within a growing company with endless opportunities, CC.
So believe it or not, it’s been a year since we started. I think it’s fair to say, it has not felt like it. It means another 8 months of the Graduate programme remain before we “graduate”. It’s crazy thinking this time last year I was at University doing what most University students do. I’ll leave that to your imagination but I was studying!
So before I get carried away, it’s right to begin by saying a huge thank you to everyone who has sponsored and supported the programme and a farewell to Martin Jones who without, the projects grads would not be here. Furthermore a huge welcome to Zameer Kaderkutty (Zam) and the new 2017 intake of Projects Practice graduates. I wish you all the best within CC.
So this week I had the opportunity to meet the new intake of grads and ease them into the world of CC. However it was odd knowing this time last year, I was sat there all ‘suited and booted’ thinking I don’t understand any of these acronyms. And there I was bellowing, “GIO, TRG, ISP” and so on… it’s now just second nature. The best advice I suggested was that it takes time to understand a complex organisation and how everything amalgamates therefore if it takes time to grasp, it really does not matter. Everyone in CC is welcoming and is willing to help so never be shy to ask questions or for any support/advice.
As my colleagues have previously mentioned, “Rotations” are up and we are now knee deep into project work. Customer sites, the travelling, the underground and dealing with customers is all part of the job and I am relishing every moment of it. I have learnt tremendous amounts by working on fluctuating accounts and projects which vary in size, risk and category but one key aspect I’ve learnt is that projects do not always go to plan but the transparency and commitment we deliver to keep customers as happy as possible is second to none. This is one of many reasons why I love working for Computacenter.
Other than my day to day job, I have been fortunate enough to be a Brand ambassador for the University of Hertfordshire. Attending many careers fairs has been a wonderful experience and there is nothing better to share how successful the programme and company has been especially to students my age. This has recently been certified as Computacenter has been ranked in the Top 100 Graduate Employers for second year running. This is a huge achievement!!!
For me there has been so many memories throughout the first 12 months but the one which comes to mind first is the Practice Wide Meeting held on the 5th May in Leicester. It was an insightful day hearing presentations from Chris Webb, Andy Moffitt and Martin Jones around key aspects of the company and how current and future progress looks. Other than being forced to dance to Mamma Mia in the competition in which Hatfield came third so well done all who participated (clearly thanks to my dance moves), it was a lovely evening to network and enjoy ‘down time’ with colleagues you spend a lot of time with day to day in a “working” environment. However, there was nothing better than seeing Martin Jones and all my colleagues on the dance door “attempting” Bhangra to Punjabi MC. I will leave it on that note.
Thank you for reading my first ever blog. It has been an amazing 12 months at the start of my career and I look forward to all the opportunities and challenges my role brings. It’s now onto the completion of the programme and hopefully promotion. For now, it’s been a pleasure!
Oh and here is me in fighting action (I’m in the black vest):
Hi all, I’m Shivani Mistry and welcome to the fourth edition of the Project Management Graduates blog update. First of all, thank you Meg for the insight into the graduate programme assessment centre and for the hints and tips. It certainly helped the candidates for their assessment centres the following week. We look forward to welcoming to new Projects Graduates later this summer!
As the Projects Graduates we each had the opportunity to facilitate the assessment centres and it was a great experience to see the other side of the recruitment process. It also brought back memories from my assessment centre, for the Projects Graduate Programme and my GIO Industrial Placement year that I completed in 2014/15. I truly am very pleased to be back at Computacenter.
The Projects Graduates have officially completed eight months at Computacenter and as cliché as it sounds, time literally has flown by. Our last rotation was with Service Management. Each graduate was aligned to a Service Director/Customer account. Whilst on my rotation I was aligned to a Service Manager as well as a Buddy, current Service Management Associate, Hollie Cousins. It is always great to meet people that have been through the same process as you. The extra tips and knowledge is always useful. As well as learning about Service Management, I had the opportunity to gain exposure of the Project Management Office (PMO) and Professional Services side of the customer account. It allowed me to see an overall view of how various work streams within Computacenter function together onsite and how we co-ordinate across these work streams to deliver the best services to our customers – one team!
With Service Management rotation finishing in January, it meant that our six months of rotations were officially over. By this point we were really looking forward to our first real project that we were going to be assigned to. We were finally going to start our role as Project Coordinators/Junior Project Managers and start testing our knowledge gained through the rotations and use our invaluable skills gained throughout our training. It’s always different when you’re shown how to do something and when you actually do it yourself. End of rotations also meant that the graduates were now parting ways into our new regions. We were all Hatfield based for the first six months. Whilst Will and Gaurav are still Hatfield based, Meg and I are now part of Midlands region and Oliver is now Manchester based.
Since joining Computacenter everyone that we met has mentioned the fantastic opportunities there are, and how everyone is willing to help you develop your skills. I certainly agree with this and so do the other Projects Graduates. Whilst on my Service Management rotation I was given the opportunity to remain on the customer account and was allocated my first project. As well as being a Project Co-ordinator, for my development, I have been given the opportunity to complete a project as a Junior Project Manager. Although it was quite daunting to start with, I am now well settled into the account and I am enjoying it. The support that I have had since joining has been incredible!
Thank you for taking a moment to read my blog. My Computacenter journey has been great so far and I look forward to the new experiences and challenges ahead. Stay tuned for the next Projects Practice Graduates blog update from Gaurav Saroye.
Hello everyone. I’m Meg Roberts and welcome to the third instalment of the Project Management Graduate Blog. This instalment was due to be written by Angela Vane, however she has found another role within Computacenter and we all wish her the best of luck!
The last blog was brought to you by Oliver Lamont when we were nearing the end of our rotations. We have now finished them, and we are Project Co-ordinators! It is scary how quickly the time has gone, but now we are in the role we can see how priceless the connections we made during our rotations really are.
I know the assessment centres are coming up for next year’s project management graduates so I thought I’d take the time to give you a few hints and tips about what the day has in store.
There are two group exercises in the morning, both of these aren’t really to catch you out. It’s important within this role to work well as a team and show that you are able to listen to the ideas and opinions of others. However, it is key you can articulate your own ideas and push for them if you really believe your idea is the best to achieve the end goal.
On my assessment day, the other candidates and I really helped each other and this made us all calmer and I believe improved our chances. When Computacenter tell you these days aren’t a competition, they’re right – the company are only looking for the best candidates for the role. You aren’t in direct competition for a set amount of roles; so work together!
Also there will be a one-on-one interview. This is to get to know you better and to learn how you have dealt with situations in the past. Single interviews will always be nerve-racking but remember you aren’t on a time limit so if you need to pause, do so! One of my best feedback comments from the day was that I personalised my answers with examples not only from previous employment but also day-to-day situations with friends and family. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Project management is all about people skills, therefore demonstrate that you have them. While some candidates are being interviewed, the rest of the group will have the time to ask current and previous graduates, and experienced Project Managers, questions. This isn’t scored, or put against your chances of being offered the role. So use the time to ask the real questions!
Finally, you will have your presentation. The best piece of advice I can offer you is to choose a topic you feel comfortable with and know like the back of your hand. It will make you feel more relaxed, and more prepared to answer any questions. Preparation is key for this part of the day so use your time wisely, and practice. The questions aren’t designed to catch you out – they are just to see how prepared you are, and if you know about the topic you’re presenting.
It seems like a lifetime ago since we had our own assessment days, as time goes so quickly. Overall just thoroughly prepare for the day, and try to enjoy it as weird as that sounds! Oliver and Shivani were both on my assessment day, so remember you never know who is going to be offered the role so ensure you work together.
Good luck to you all!
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I have really enjoyed my time at Computacenter so far and I know this is a company has many opportunities for us all. I look forward to what the future brings with Computacenter! The next instalment of the Project Management Graduate Blog will be bought to you by Shivani Mistry.
Welcome to the 2nd edition of the Projects Practice Graduate Blog. A big thank you to Will for sharing his experience of his first few weeks at Computacenter along with many of the useful tips he gave us regarding how best to utilise our time here at Computacenter. The rest of the Graduates are now coming to the end of their rotations and the time has certainly flown by. I think we would all agree a lot of information has been taken in (usually in the form of a slide deck). Nonetheless it is fascinating how far we have all come since starting four months ago and scary that in just over 2 months we will become fully fledged Project Co-ordinators.
Looking back it seems as though we’ve been to almost every area of the company now. When Will last posted we had just completed our two week rotation with members of the Solution Sales team. Since then we have been exposed to many other divisions within the business. Given that our time rotating around the organisation is coming to an end, and Christmas is fast approaching, I’d like to take a look back and highlight some of the most valuable experiences I’ve come across so far. I have undoubtedly grown my knowledge of the company, have a understanding of how we deliver IT services using the Tempo methodology and have built up a network of very helpful people to make my transition into working life that bit smoother.
Firstly I have to mention our Technical Resource Group (TRG) rotation. This was a really enjoyable experience where we got to take apart a laptop, visit customer sites and present our findings in the form of a gameshow. However taking a key board off a laptop proved a step too far for one of the Graduates as the keyboard lost some keys in the process…
Nevertheless it was great to get some hands on experience and feel what it’s like for the CC engineers who are constantly fixing and repairing products under increasing pressure from customers. Furthermore visiting customer sites was very impressive. I got to visit the likes of Eversheds and UBS to get a real feel for the projects that were going on there. To give a bit of background on myself I’m from a small village in the heart of Northern Ireland and am used to waking up to an array of fields and cows, so seeing some of these offices really was remarkable and I look forward to working alongside different customers in the future. Finally Bhupendra Hirani decided to keep things interesting by setting us the task of presenting TRG BrowzaPlus collateral in the form of a game show. This was definitely a twist on the end of rotation task but one that was clearly welcomed as some of the ideas were very creative, including the ‘Million Coin Drop’ and a mash up from one team including ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’, ‘Countdown’ and ‘Split or Steal’. Unfortunately no real money was to be won but chocolate made for a good substitute prize.
Another highlight of the programme was the Consultancy rotation where each day we were introduced to a new technology tower. During this week we all put our technical hats on and attempted to digest some of the information regarding the technologies CC are currently delivering. I feel we all coped well with the technical detail and as a result have an understanding of how these technologies are changing the way we work. It has highlighted the movement towards a digital workplace and workforce. From Cloud computing to virtualization we had our brains stretched but we came out the other end better for it and wait with anticipation to get involved in managing the delivery of some of these technologies in the future.
At present all the graduates are currently on their PPO rotations. I can speak on behalf of all to say this is something we have each been looking forward to. It presents a wonderful opportunity to start to apply some of the invaluable skills and tips we’ve learnt from moving around the business to a real life situation. I’m currently on the Hays PPO account where it’s been great meeting the team situated there and I have recently completed my first piece of real project work! I genuinely can’t wait to throw myself into the project over the next few weeks and welcome any challenges that will be thrown my way. The PPO rotations are a great stepping stone for each of the graduates to prepare us for becoming PC’s at the beginning of February.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I hope you found at least some of it interesting. I would just like to finish by reiterating that my journey through CC has been absolutely wonderful. The help and support I have received along the way has been second to none and I couldn’t have asked for a better transition into the industry. That’s it from me, thankfully, the next blog will be brought to you Angela Vane.