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News > Careers News > Women in Business - Sophia Ambrose

Women in Business - Sophia Ambrose

After leaving Cranleigh Sophia studied Computing and Management at Loughborough University, joining IBM as a graduate. She answers questions about her career to date and offers advice about choices.
10 May 2021
Careers News
Sophia Ambrose (West 2008-2013)
Sophia Ambrose (West 2008-2013)

Could we begin with a general description of your current job role and what a typical day looks like?

I'm a Senior Strategy Consultant, which means my day to day changes every day. My specialty is as a Business Analyst, I work with clients to help them to understand what they want for technical solutions, whilst making sure it's technically feasible and gives a good user experience.

Before moving to IBMix you worked for IBM. Could you explain what prompted the move? Did IBMix feel more aligned with the direction you would like your career path to take? Were you invited to make the move or was it an opportunity that you sought?

IBM iX is a department within IBM so still the same company. I worked for IBM Cloud for my university internship for a year and in that time had spoken to and shadowed different people in the business and decided I wanted to do work where I'm hands-on with clients and working to create great solutions.

Is your current role the type of position you have always wanted and have you created a career plan that you are trying to follow? Or has your career evolved more organically as opportunities have presented themselves?

My career was organic until I started my graduate scheme at IBM. Since joining as a graduate 4 years ago every choice and decision I've made is on a strict path to enable me to progress through the company.

If it was more of a strategic plan, then were your A Levels and Degree subject choices deliberate or simply the subjects that you enjoyed the most?

Mine wasn't strategic through school, and was very lucky I was able to pick up CompSci skills through my degree as that wasn't offered at school when I was there. I chose Maths and Economics as I thought they would help in business as I knew I wanted to work for a large company, just wasn't sure what. I chose Theatre Studies as my 3rd out of enjoyment, and don't regret a minute of it. It was a fine balance.

At School and University you gave a lot of time to volunteering. Have your experiences with that influenced your career choices or how you’ve approached your career? Or is it something that you wanted to do separately from your studies? Is it something you’ve been able to continue with alongside your career?

My volunteer work has always been close to my heart, being a charity rep in 6th form for West really cemented that, I'm able to do a bit alongside my career but not as much as I'd like to. I think having a good understanding of what your values as a person are, and what you could find fulfilling is important when thinking about degrees or careers. They don't always have to align and theres always time to change! Having only done partial volunteering over the last 4 years I've got a 3 month sabattical planned where I plan to volunteer.

Finally, do you have an advice to offer those who are still at School or University who are interested in a similar role about subject choices or skills they should work to develop.

Subject choices I'd say anything that interests you! In consultancy there are people from all degree or apprentice backgrounds, just make sure you're doing something which you have a genuine interest in, otherwise you'll find you may not be as motivated to succeed. For my role and degree I'd say Business/Economics is always a good starting point, but having a mix between logical subjects and creative is a good balance. Also, I'd say talk to people, try to learn what you can before you apply to uni or a job, there's bound to be an OC at a company, and I did it before starting uni and it really helped.

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