In exactly 2 months I’m going to be boarding a plane to Shanghai for six weeks – here’s why…
I had heard about the Corporate Services Corps (CSC) from colleagues over the years, but didn’t actually considering applying until last summer when the information was released for the next intake. My manager Vikki and I went through my application form a number of times, drafting, editing and tweaking before I eventually submitted in June. I knew there was a long wait to find out if I’d got through, and with it being such a competitive programme my hopes were relatively low as I’d heard of IBMers applying 2/3 times before being accepted!
6.30am, October 12th, the morning I flew to Morocco, Vikki whatsapps – “can we chat before you fly?”. There I am, alone, in Gatwick with an obligatory holiday prosecco freaking out that I’d forgotten to do something very important before I left! Vikki calls, with the incredible news that’d I’d been accepted onto the programme for the 2018/19 intake and that more information would follow in the months ahead of my trip. I was BUZZING! However, the bad news was, I was alone in the airport, so excited with no-one to share it with (hahah what a sob story). I excitedly text Kate, a few of the girls and my family with the news yay!
First week of November comes around. That’s when I find out I’ve been placed into the group “China 39” with 14 other IBM colleagues from around the world; Brazil, Czech Republic, USA, Hungary, Italy, France and others. For each project there is three months prep work to be done, mostly online learning about culture, business, team work etc. The month before we travel we receive a statement of work for our client organisation, then we spend one month in country working side by side with the client on their organisational challenges.
Following that, my travel gal Rachy T is going to meet me and we’ll spend 10 days together travelling in China to visit some of the most famous cities, attractions and historical sites. I’m so lucky to have a supportive team in UK marketing who are helping ensure I can make the most of this experience whilst I’m there!
As part of the programme we have to share our experiences and story online and on social media (like I wouldn’t anyway), so expect a lot of blogs during March & April all the way from China eek! It’s literally the perfect content for the blog.
See below for some information about CSC; it’s origins and how the work that the programme has done has helped over 1,000 organisations all over the world! So excited to go and share how it is, I’m fully expecting a serious culture shock but keen to embrace it all (including the chicken feet which apparently are a common snack haha).
Since 2008, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps program has sent teams of the company’s most talented employees to provide pro bono counsel to countries in the developing world that are grappling with issues that intersect business, technology, and society.
The initiative deploys teams of IBM employees from around the world with skills in technology, scientific research, marketing, finance, human resources, law, and economic development. As part of their assignments, they work with local government, non-profit civic groups, and small business to develop blueprints that touch issues ranging from economic development, energy and transportation, to education and health care.
Corporate Service Corps, which began operation in 2008, is considered the largest program of its kind. By the end of 2014, 3,000 IBM participants from 58 countries had participated in more than 1,000 CSC projects in 37 countries, generating more than $100 million in value for host organizations over a six-year period and has worked on services consumed by over 33 million worldwide.
IBM has partnered with a growing number of its clients on Corporate Service Corps engagements, providing client employees with experiences that have enabled them to grow their skills and improve cultural literacy. IBM has worked with companies like Dow, Novartis, Becton Dickinson, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, Citi, Deere and FedEx.