A Student Review: IBM Summer Accelerate Program Application & Interview Process

Are you interested in IBM’s Summer Accelerate Program but do not know where to start? If yes, this is the blog post for you! Jonah Richardson (Class of 2025) is a Sophomore and Data Analytics major. He wanted to provide some insight into the application process. Below are his thoughts on the application and interview process.

To start my application process, I went to the program’s website and filled out the interest registration form, noting my desire to apply. Early in the spring semester, I received an invitation to join a potential interest event, hosted on a private platform, where potential applicants [hear] about the Accelerate program and its different tracks (software engineering, design, consulting, etc.). After hearing about the program, applicants had the opportunity to talk with IBMers working in the corresponding department of any of the tracks the attendee was interested in. I met with IBMers in the Software Development, Consulting, and Client Engineering & Technical Sales tracks. These brief 1-on-1 chats weren’t just informational sessions, they were also chances for IBMers to evaluate applicants’ attitudes and behavior. After that event, I filled out the online application and uploaded my resume, and was subsequently invited to participate in the interview process.

For the interview, I was given two questions: one recorded [through] video and one written question. Several weeks later, I received an email informing me that I had been accepted into the program in the Client Engineering & Technical Sales track. The application process for this program did not contain any technical assessments and was focused on applicants’ enthusiasm, willingness to learn, and motivation for applying.

The tips I would give to someone else applying to this program would be:

  • Be yourself. This isn’t some highly technical multi-stage interview process. They’re looking for people who are passionate, friendly, and interesting.
  • Ask questions. You’ll be able to show your excitement if you know which program track(s) you’re excited about, so do research and use the information session to learn from the people you’re meeting with.
  • Do everything early. Everything is done on a rolling basis, so the earlier you complete steps of the application process, the better chance you’ll have.
  • Apply with the best resume possible. Getting an invitation to the written and recorded interview is dependent on your performance at the information session and your online application, which is essentially just submitting your resume. Meet with the Knowlton Center in advance if you want to make sure your resume is as great as it can be.

Additional Advice From Jonah

To anyone participating in the Accelerate Program, I would advise the same thing that the program coordinators encourage: ask questions, take advantage of opportunities, and meet people. It’s meant to be a learning experience, so don’t be scared to try things and learn from [your] mistakes. The tools I was offered during the program were invaluable, from getting multiple free certifications through IBM’s Skills Build site, to participating in a 1-on-1 meeting with a different IBMer every week, getting to ask questions and learn about how to be successful in professional development. Having that mindset of continuously looking for ways to learn and grow has made me a stronger person, and I would encourage anyone participating in this program to look for ways to do the same.

-Jonah Richardson ’25

Jonah enjoyed this internship so much that he will return to IBM as their Technology Sales Intern in San Francisco, CA, during the Summer 2023 semester! He said he would answer any additional questions and connect via LinkedIn.

By Blake Gooch
Blake Gooch Assistant Director - Technology, Data & Science Career Community