Most likely, you may have stumbled upon this post while searching for internships at IBM. One of the largest firms in terms of the number of employees, IBM is known for its specially designed internship projects. An IBM internship is highly prestigious for students all over the world.
What are the types of internships available and who are eligible to apply?
IBM offers internships to undergraduate, postgraduate, and Ph.D. students of Computer Science, IT, Electrical, Electronics, and Management stream. IBM Research Labs India (IRL) situated at Gurgaon and Bangalore provide summer research opportunities every year.
IBM’s flagship global internship program Extreme Blue (EB) is ten to twelve weeks long starting in the month of May and ending by July for the Indian students. Extreme Blue projects are like mini-startups within IBM, with technical interns working to solve the technical challenges of emerging technologies and the MBA interns working alongside to gather business solutions for the products. You can read the FAQs relate to the EB program here.
How to apply?
There are three different ways through which a student can apply for IBM India internships:
1.Campus Recruitment: IBM visits IITs and a few other reputed colleges across India for hiring interns. Your college’s T&P cell needs to get in touch with the IBM campus recruitment team for collaboration.
2.Apply on company website: You can directly apply on the IBM website here. You can narrow down to your desired location and field through keyword search.
3.Through a referral: If you know someone who works at IBM, ask them to provide you a referral. This only gets you a telephonic interview; your performance in that interview determines your future.
What after applying?
Students are asked to upload their resumes while applying online. Following the initial screening based on the resumes and applications, a telephonic interview or an online aptitude test (IPAT) is scheduled. The IPAT (Information Processing Aptitude Test) is an online test with each question allocated its own time limit of 2.15 minutes. Around 20 number series questions and 20 aptitude questions are asked. Some examples of the questions asked in the past:
• Find the next number in the series: 1, 5, 17, 53, ?
• Find the next number in the series: 1, 7, 2, 2, 1, 3, 2, 2, 4, 7, ?
• The ‘word problems’ are based on numeric reasoning and are broadly classified into Ratio & Proportion, Interests, Probability, Time & Work, and Basic Geometry. Like –
There are three pipes (Pipe A, B, and C) in a swimming pool. Pipe A can complete filling the pool in 3 hours and Pipe B in 2 hours. Together, Pipe A, Pipe B, and Pipe C can completely fill the swimming pool in 45 minutes. Now, if the Pipe C is throttled to release water at only half the rate as it normally does, how much time will it take for all the pipes to fill the pool together?
You can find some good resources to prepare for IPAT here and here.
The telephonic interview consists of both technical and general aptitude & personality questions and is not that rigorous. Some sample IBM internship questions are:
• General questions about Object Oriented Programming (OOPs)
• What is a Red-Black Tree and what would you use it for?
• Predict C program output (2-3 questions)
• Few questions from OS and Networking concepts (Numerical + Conceptual)
• What are your career goals and how will this internships fit into that?
• Tell me about your biggest failure and how you overcame it?
After this, the shortlisted students are called for a Face to Face interview. It could be either online (Skype) or an onsite interview at the IBM offices. Depending on the team and the project you are being interviewed for, this round of interview is guided by a panel of 2 to 3 senior members of IBM. Few sample IBM internship interview questions are:
• If you are given only 2 months, provide a model for the completion of the given project with time allocation for different phases.
• What problems did you face during your previous projects and how did you overcome them?
• Explain Inter-process Communications and Critical Sections.
• Why should you be hired for this project? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
• Some puzzles and coding questions. Like- Write a code for this problem and show the output: “You have an infinite number of 1, X, and Y coins. Now, you have to make a sum S with these coins. Find out what are the minimum number of coins required to make a sum of S. For e.g. if you are given infinite number of 1, 2, and 5 denomination of coins, the minimum no. of coins required to make a sum S=10 are 2 (5+5)
Once the IBM internship application is successful, the students are allocated to specific teams and work under the guidance of designated mentor. A competitive stipend is provided along with a specified amount for relocation and housing purposes.
Word of advice from ex-interns:
Be ready to work hard: You will have to come up with ingenious solutions while working on a number of concepts and ideas. This needs dedication and hard work on your part as there will be strict deadlines.
Pre-placement offer: You will find numerous networking opportunities as you will be working with a series of senior IBM members, team mentors, and project heads. You need to leverage these opportunities; identify and communicate areas of interest, be open to varied roles and feedbacks, perform well during the programs, and you have got yourself a PPO!
• Have open source contributions. Having a GitHub link, for example, in your resume definitely improves your chances of getting shortlisted during the initial screening.
• A social media involvement in programming community (e.g. having a StackOverflow profile or a tech blog) makes you aware of the latest developments in your field and improves your chances of success in the interviews.
• Resources: There are a number of online resources available for students to prepare for the interviews. There is an official skills roadmap for the Extreme Blue projects through which applicants can understand the required technical skills for the projects and practice them.
You can also read about the exhilarating experience of Sharath when he did his summer internship in IBM Bangalore. You can also read some student testimonials from the previous Extreme Blue projects here.