How to Get an Internship With IBM

How to Get an Internship With IBM

In order to get an internship with IBM, interested individuals need to meet specific requirements. This article will address those requirements as well as discuss the differences between internships and co-op opportunities. Additionally, types of assignments will also be addressed.

Internships & Co-op Opportunities

When interns work at IBM, they are offered the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the company organization, its work style, workplace culture and their global reach. The company does offer a salary for interns, which is based upon the number of credits that have been completed toward the degree. All applicants are required to provide the company with verification of their completed credits in a certified document form from their college or university. The internship and co-op programs provide IBM with a vital recruiting channel to identify high-quality prospective employees. For those students who complete a successful internship, they may be considered to work a second internship or even be eligible for long-term permanent employment. According to IBM, their philosophy is to “recruit once and hire twice.”

The Difference Between Both Programs

Students working in the internship program have the opportunity to work with one of the world’s most innovative companies and gain valuable professional work experience. Generally, the internship programs are completed during the summers in between the student’s academic sessions. However, IBM does continuously seek to hire high-quality students for the internship and co-op programs throughout the year.

With regard to co-ops, the student enrolls in a cooperative education program at an accredited college or university with four to five year bachelor’s or advanced degree programs. Students can work in the co-ops at any time during the year. The co-op program can be a part-time or full-time situation. The student will be enrolled into either the technical or non-technical disciplines. There is flexibility with the co-op programs. However, the majority of IBM program managers prefer that the co-op term be designated to a six to seven month period. Students who complete a satisfactory performance may be eligible for a return assignment. This can be discussed with your manager or staffing representative prior to your exit interview.

Types of Program Assignments

There are a wide variety of internship assignments which are available within their business and technical departments. It is important that all prospective applicants refer to the IBM skills matrix to ascertain the assignment that is right for them. IBM recruiters and hiring managers visit various campuses and applicants can meet with them to discuss internship options. Applicants can view the listing of current assignments at the IBM Internship Program site. That link is also the way that students need to apply for internships and co-ops, even if they have interviewed with a hiring manager or recruiter on their campus. The assignment listing is updated frequently.


There are a variety of technical assignments available as well as other unique opportunities which are listed below.

  • Extreme Blue™ - is the premier internship program that IBM offers to students. The company considers this program an opportune avenue to utilize new talent and creativity in technology to fuel the company’s innovation processes. This premier program has cultivated amazing results for the company by recruiting high-quality talent. The tasks involved in this program require that students find innovative solutions which align with IBM’s vision of “Building a Smarter Planet.” For more information on how to apply visit Extreme Blue.
  • Speed Teams - provide applicants with project-based and team-based work experience. The model in place for this program is customizable for all of the IBM worldwide offices. The purpose of these Speed Teams is to bring flexible teams together who work on development opportunities. Additionally, they work to quickly solve problems regarding specific functional areas of the organization.
  • Corporate & Business Support Roles - applicants with specific skill sets are also hired to work on assignments in the corporate and business supporting roles. Assignments with these departments are offered to both undergraduate and MBA students. Those applicants with skill sets that are less technical and more focused on the following areas are considered: marketing, finance, market insight, communications and human resources.

Eligibility Requirements

There are various eligibility requirements for applicants who want to work in IBM’s internship and co-op programs. One main requirement is that the applicant is a full-time student attending a four or five year accredited US college or university. Students may be eligible for employment with the company after they have completed their freshman year. However, the majority of students that complete the internship programs are undergraduate juniors or first year masters students. The following factors are other requirements.

  • Demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, including GPA
  • Have relevant work experience and role specific skill set
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills and strong leadership ability, as well as be a team player
  • Receive a high evaluation score during the interview process

Benefits for Interns

There are many benefits for students completing internships and co-ops with IBM. Those benefits are discussed below:

  • Relocation assistance funds are eligible for students
  • Housing location assistance is provided prior to arriving at the IBM location
  • Paid holidays during the assignment term in accordance with site procedures
  • Five sickness and accident days for assignment terms lasting longer than 60 work days
  • Competitive salaries which increase as students earn additional credits toward degree
  • Overtime pay (time-and-a-half) for hours worked beyond the normal 40 hour week (this applies to undergraduate students only)
  • Opportunity to participate in challenging and stimulating work assignments while working with cutting-edge technology and service operations
  • Educational opportunities received through the IBM Global Campus (this is based on position requirements)
  • Eligibility for various IBM recognition programs as well as the IBM suggestion program (ideas from interns)
  • Travel and accident insurance is provided for any job-related travelling
  • Expense reimbursement is provided for any job-related travelling
  • Opportunity to participate in IBM Club social activities
  • Opportunity to use the IBM recreational facilities which are located at larger sites

For those individuals who are interested in obtaining an internship or co-op through IBM, they should consider all factors involved in the process as outlined in this article. There are specific eligibility requirements, several different internship and co-op opportunities, and benefits that need to be considered by the applicant.


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