I’m Tom and welcome to the fourth instalment of the Projects Practice Graduate Blogs. We’ve been with Computacenter around four months and have had the opportunity to experience many different parts of the business. I’m here to take you through the most recent month of our rotations which we have spent with Consultancy, GIO, Presales and TRG.
But first, some background info about me. I’m originally from Peterborough and studied French, German and (a bit of) Spanish at the University of Exeter. So as a company with major bases across the European mainland and operations across the globe, Computacenter is a perfect fit for any graduate with an international outlook.
As someone who is technically minded, our rotations with Consultancy and GIO were two of the rotations I have been most looking forward to – and I wasn’t disappointed by them. With Consultancy Practice, we had the opportunity to meet key members of the Consultancy team and also witness their expertise ‘in the field’ at customer sites. The highlight for me was most definitely the time I spent collaborating with one of our data analytics partners, Splunk, at Transport for London. The session was all about helping TfL learn how they can best make use of Splunk’s powerful analytics intelligence and it was great to see Computacenter working with our partners and our customers in the same room to achieve a common goal. Our thanks to Jay Horsley for organising the week.
Our time with Global Infrastructure Operations (GIO) was an opportunity for us to discover our managed services from another perspective. Over the week we learnt how GIO operates a 24/7 service with global reach, meeting members of every Service Line team to give us a full understanding of the services we can provide to our customers. From a projects perspective, this was an important rotation as it teaches us the need to communicate well with the GIO teams from the start of a project when we are transitioning a Customer’s service to a CC provided solution. This focus on collaboration is something we are all hoping to bring back to the Projects Practice at the end of our rotations. Many thanks to Karen, Louise and Jo for organising the week.
Our week with Presales was a particular highlight for the whole graduate group. Nigel Reeve, the Practice Lead aligned to Presales, arranged for us to take part in the fantastic Commercial Negotiation course alongside some of last year’s graduates and other members of the Projects Practice. This was an incredible learning opportunity for us since this course is usually only reserved for Level 2 Project Managers and Senior Project Managers. There are two main lessons I took away from the course: Firstly, a negotiation will only go as well as the planning and preparation that goes into it. Secondly, a negotiation is about establishing a Win-Win with our Customers, not a Win-Lose. This means that collaborating with our Customers is the key to both of our successes. A thank you on behalf of all the graduates to Nigel for a great week.
Our most recent rotation has been with the Technical Resources Group (TRG) where we had the opportunity to learn more about Computacenter’s largest department. My highlight of this week was seeing our engineering team in action at Heathrow and Sky: both were busy Customer sites undergoing lots of changes and our engineering team are at the forefront of enabling this. Something that has been mentioned to us as projects graduates is that we are often some of the best sales representatives of Computacenter as we are constantly working with the Customer at their sites. Though this is true, it’s only half the story: it is in fact our engineering team who have the most day-to-day interaction with the Customer’s end-users and they’re the ones who ultimately effect a change or resolve an issue for the user. As a result, it was great to hear some of the fantastic customer feedback about our engineering presence at Heathrow and Sky. Thank you Bhupa for organising a fantastic week.
What I want to leave you on is this: the thing that has struck me most since joining CC is our can-do collaborative attitude. No matter how technically challenging, no matter how nascent a solution and no matter how tough a customer request may seem at face-value, as long as it’s good business for Computacenter, we always go the extra mile for our Customers. We work with our Customers to enable their users and their business to achieve their goals. This is something we have seen internally as our rotation hosts go the extra mile for us projects graduates, and externally as we have visited various customer sites where Computacenter collaborates for a Win-Win with all our Customers.
Over the coming weeks we will be on the road visiting our device recycling partner RDC, our Romford Datacenter and will be jetting off for a very exciting trip to Barcelona to see our International team in action; but I’ll let Issie Ferris tell you all about that as she will be writing the next blog.
Thanks for reading!
“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):
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.