Jake Schwind

IBM Internship Process

June 24, 2012 | ibm

I thought I would take a moment to explain how the IBM internship process works from the beginning to where I am currently at – Week 2


I found the post for this particular internship on LinkedIn as classes were ending at the beginning of May. I thought I was way behind, but luckily so was IBM in their hiring. I submitted the resume that is currently on this website and received an interview from it.

I cannot say exactly what they are looking for in a resume, but I have drawn some conclusions by talking to the other interns. They are looking to see if you can take initiative and they want to know if you are a hard worker. I have learned that the work environment at the Mass Lab is quite relaxed but it is only that way because they have employees that they can trust to work well without constant bothering.

As far as suggestions…I can say that they really liked my resume, so take a look. They mentioned my business specifically and were quite interested. Any project that you have worked on under your own influence should be on that resume.


I was contacted via email about a week after submitting my resume and was told that they would like to schedule a phone interview with me that week. It was quite an exciting couple days while I waited for the day of my interview. I re-read the job description constantly and did a lot of research on questions that are asked by large companies. I thought I was well prepared.

My interview went quite well. I was asked questions that seem to be aimed at evaluating me as a person and how I would fit in with a group. No technical questions were asked, but I was asked about Domino Server and IBM notes. I had not seen these technologies mentioned in the description and only knew that Notes was used for email. So, I suggest that no matter how much research you do, check out the building location and learn about all the groups that work there. Had I done that, I would have came across notes.

I was also asked a logic question at the end of the interview and afterward was immediately asked about setting up a technical interview. All the other research I had done and good answers I supplied had made up for the mistake of not knowing those two products.

Technical Interview

The second interview was also done via the phone. I was asked questions about programming and a few logic questions at the end. One was quite easy, but the other…WOW was that hard. I spent about 15 minutes trying to figure it out and finally got it. I thought this was too long, but learned that not everybody could answer it. So, don’t worry if it takes a while, keep trying!

I will say that researching programmer interview questions did help me prepare for the interview, however, I knew about 95% of the questions before the interview. Even more than studying, don’t be afraid to make the interview a bit more into a conversation. I spoke with my interviewer a little bit at the beginning and end about some web programming and also connected an interview answer with a related programming language. You can answer all the questions right, but you need to still be a human being. No one wants to work with a robot all day.


Once you get through the interviews, you will be asked to complete the IBM IQ test. This gives them an objective attribute to judge the incoming interns on. It is split into two parts: number sequences and algebra word problems. You get 2 minutes for each question. Now, some questions are not impossible, but could take you more than 2 minutes. Be sure to be well rested and prepared with a sheet of paper and a calculator.

Paperwork – Offer

Once the interviews and IQ test are complete, the official application is emailed. Don’t do what I did and swap the first and last name…it didn’t look good that I had to redo the form…

After the form is complete, and you are chosen (I believe that form is only sent to those who were chosen), and offer letter will be prepared. This was delayed as projects were still being discussed. The amount of money you are offered per hour is based on how many credits you have completed toward your major. I have completed more college credits than most after 3 years of college…but most credits from high-school were from classes that did not count toward my major.

Once you accept, information is sent to your email about the other interns and housing.


Quick note, they did not help with housing besides giving out a login for InternHousing.com. I really hope they change this for future interns as it is not the easiest finding housing close to IBM in Littleton. I was lucky and found a very nice room 3 miles away and, a complete coincidence, I picked the same house to rent from as my teammate.

First Day

IBM Mass Lab is a wonderful building. When I first entered the lobby, I was very excited. We kicked off the day with paperwork and setting up laptops. We also took a tour of the building and learned about the amenities available to employees. In the afternoon we met with our mentors and teammates and began working right away. Awesome experience!

Mass Lab

This building is awesome. There is a gym, cafes in each building, soda vending machines, $0.50 coffee, and an awesome cafeteria with really great food (reasonably priced as well). There are also lounges spread throughout the building for employees to take a break – each one complete with a large screen TV and some areas with a small library of books. Productivity is key but how you reach it is left to you. This freedom is really great and it come with the understanding that you can do with your day what you see fit, as long as you can get your work done.

Interns get their own cube, locking furniture, and laptop. And, if you need anything else, all you have to do is ask. If you decide to take an internship here, I can say that you will be treated well.

First Two Weeks

I cannot talk about my project in detail but I can say that it will have an impact on the company and that is really exciting. We have daily meetings and our mentors are very helpful and I have already learned a lot. My teammate and I have already accomplished quite a bit on our project and look forward to getting back to it on Monday!

**Update #1: **New post readers here may find useful – Tips for Securing an Internship at IBM (or anywhere, really)