To find out more about the fantastic initiatives and graduate roles at Atos, we caught up with Business Transformation Services graduate, Simran. Here, she gives us an insight on the development opportunities at Atos, the role the Together Network plays and her advice for future applicants.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background:
I’m a London woman now, but I grew up in Wolverhampton and went to a really great school there from which I got a lot of opportunities. I then went to University in York, where I studied psychology, which has been a really big influence in my life afterwards. I then graduated in 2017 – which makes me feel really old to say – and went into head hunting, specialising in mergers, acquisitions and equity. That was very intense with really long hours, but it meant that I could work internationally which was amazing.
I then decided I wanted to start my own business. I began doing some design work within fashion - South-Asian Clothing specifically. This was really fun; I have Indian heritage, so it was a big influence in my decision to go to India and have all my clothes made there. I then started looking at how businesses scale up and it made me miss the corporate world, so I applied to Atos, which is where I’ve been since 2019. I do still dabble in the fashion industry though!
Tell us a bit about your graduate programme with Atos:
I started off as a Business Transformation Services graduate (BTS). We began with a 2-week induction which really helped build that community feel between the graduates. On the induction I was with around 20 people and we all stayed together in a hotel, which allowed us to meet and get to know each other though the daily activities.
After this I went into the rotations as this was a rotational scheme. I started in communications which was really interesting and then 6 months later I went into customer experience (CX). After the 6-month placement I knew this was where I wanted to stay, so I kind of pitched that forward. It was breaking the mould a bit because I was supposed to move on again. I think it comes down to making a good impression. I always kept in touch with the head of the CX team from the day she interviewed me, which allowed me to start that dialogue about staying in the team.
What is your current role at Atos and what are the responsibilities?
I’m a Customer Experience Designer – which is a really cool job. I get to be super creative whilst still maintaining that business element. My role specifically within the team is sort of all-encompassing CX. There is a lot of user research and testing, and then off the back of that, we create the customer personas.
There is a lot of pitching to clients as well. This means we need to understand their need but also really get across why it’s so important to incorporate the customer and user element right from the start of the development process. We really want to change their orientation from – ‘these are the goals we need to hit” – and start actually recognising that these are the people that are at the heart of everything that they do, and I suppose that is where I come in.
What was it about Atos that made you want to apply when you were looking to get back into the corporate world?
Typically, as a graduate you look at the big four and things like that but there wasn’t really anything that was jumping out to me. I’d been in a sales role before, that was intense, I’m talking 6am-11pm every single day, so for me it was about finding somewhere with balance. I knew somebody that had worked at Atos before and she got really good experience and maintained a work/life balance which didn’t come at the expense of opportunity. For me, I knew that with Atos, I’d be able to achieve all the ambitious career goals I have whilst not having to spend my whole life in the office.
There was also lots of really good stuff with regard to diversity and inclusion. I’m the events lead on the Together Network, which is one of their diversity networks. Cultural diversity is massive for me – in corporations I rarely see women at the top and to see BAME women at the top is even more rare! Knowing that Atos is super passionate about diversity and inclusion was pretty big for me as well.
What would a ‘normal’ day look like for someone in your role?
I know people probably say this all the time but in CX at Atos, there literally is no normal day. For example, on Friday I spent all day doing user testing, so I was with participants and they were trialling my prototypes. Monday was a full day of meetings and pitching, and then yesterday I was prototyping. It really is super varied, but it keeps me on my toes!
What do you find most interesting about the industry you’re in?
It’s ever changing. There’s always something new, and I think with Atos what they really push with the tech market is the innovative side of things. We never look at a problem in a one-dimensional way. We’re really encouraged to delve into the details and look at different ways to approach problems. For example, within my role we look at everything from a very different perspective and it’s Atos’ culture and attitude towards tech that enables us to do this. This is what makes the industry so exciting to me.
What is the company culture like at Atos?
The main one is that they are incredibly supportive. For example, if you were joining as a graduate/intern/apprentice, you’ve got a community there from the offset. You also have calls once a month to see what’s happening in the company and wider industry and how you can get involved.
Atos is also supportive from a D&I perspective. The networks we have are incredible, we have them to support; gender diversity, LGBTQ+, cultural diversity, disabilities, armed forces and so many more.
You also have your managers who don’t micromanage but support by taking an interest in your development. For me, I’m incredibly ambitious and have goals that my manager has helped me set out so I can progress at a very fast pace. If there are opportunities that might be on the verge of what’s possible for a graduate, just pitch yourself forward and they’ll help you do it.
Is there any advice you’d like to give to any future grads working at Atos?
My biggest piece of advice would be to take every opportunity you come across and don’t be daunted by the seniority of other individuals in the office. I just see it as this person has more experience and actually, they have much more in common with you than you think. They’re still striving for career goals and wanting to be a part of the company culture. Don’t stretch yourself too thin but the more opportunities you take, the more you’ll be able to network and the more you’ll get your name out there, which is one of the biggest things you can do to help your career progression.
Do you have any advice for graduates currently in the application process?
The Atos application process is fairly standard. But when it comes to the assessment centres, preparation is everything. This doesn’t just mean getting to know the company and the people that are there, it’s preparing yourself mentally. Your adrenaline will be pumping, and everyone will be feeling anxious on some level, so make sure you focus on mindfulness techniques. This is one of the things that helped me most. I think you can tell when people are nervous in these situations but because I was focusing on my breathing techniques and taking a step back every now and again, I was able to remain in control. In my whole cohort at the assessment centre, I was the only one to be offered a job and I credit this with a huge part of that!
To find out how you can join the team at Atos, check out the roles available on their Employer Profile.