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How IBM’s Culture of Learning is Preparing Me for Long-Term Success

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(4 min read) By Omid Elyaskordi

Throughout my 17-month career at IBM I have been lucky enough to participate in two prestigious training programs. The first was the Summit Program, a six-month sales training program that I was hired into after completing my MBA; and the Account Leadership Development Program under the Global Technology Services business unit.

The IBM Summit Program covers the whole sales journey from prospecting to building proposals. After learning everything through coaching, mentoring, and mock sales conversations, I now feel confident in my ability to build valuable client partnerships and help apply technology to grow and lead within ourclients industries. The Account Leadership Development Program, on the hand, prepares us for a role as a Client Partner Executive, who is the account leader on an IT outsourcing contract.

Both programs provide so many learning opportunities that will surely shape my career.  Here are just some of the ways that IBM shows its commitment to learning.

Omid, third from left, at the Summit Graduation with the Global Sales School (GSS) Red Team

Formalized Learning Plans
IBM invests so much in our learning and makes it a part of the culture. We are always encouraged to take time from work to utilize all of the content that we have available. It is motivating to see our top executives push this message and make learning easier. For example, they have created learning plans that give us a clear view of what courses we should take to achieve a certain skill level or get a job we may want.

Learning Platforms
I have learned so much through my rotations and various experiences in both programs. It isn’t always easy as I am often asked to work on challenging projects where I may have no knowledge or skills. Luckily, IBM has a fantastic learning platform calledYourLearning (YL). Whenever I am looking for guidance I go to YL, search what I am looking for and find tons of great content that teach me the tools and learning to complete my projects. YL also provides a list of Subject Matter Experts who you can reach out to for help. I took advantage of this feature because it is a great way to learn and network in IBM.

Group Learning Culture
There are also many opportunities to learn as a group. There are multiple weekly study group sessions, where colleagues come together and have discussions on course content. This has encouraged me to start a study group that will prepare my colleagues and me for an IT Services Management certification. It’s great because we have access to course content and practice exams that we’ll use to guide our study group.

IBM Coaching Program
There is more than gaining technical or career skills and IBM learning knows this. I have taken advantage of working with Coaches at IBM and these interactions have given me life skills that have made me a better person. The learning here is genuinely all-encompassing and I am grateful to be a part of it

Omid, second from left, meets the fellow members of the Leadership Development Program and their Executive Sponsor at THINK2019

Continuous learning and a growth mindset are vital for everyone, and it is nice to have all these resources at my fingertips that make learning easy and enjoyable.

I am early in my career and am confident that I can gain the skills needed for whatever role I am asked to fill. In my eyes, IBM is an Academic Institution that offers some of the best learning opportunities in the world.

About the Author
Omid joined IBM in March 2018 after receiving his MBA from The Scheller College of Business from Georgia Tech. He is currently in IBM’s Global Technology Services organization participating in the Account Leadership Development Program. His favorite hobby is traveling and hiking, often combining the two.

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