The IBM graduate scheme

IBM runs an award winning graduate scheme. Find out what the company looks for in its graduates, and what both the application process and programme itself entails.

Collaborative working IBM has been voted Target Graduate Employer of the year for the last three years, the Times IT Graduate Employer of Choice for the last five years and is also listed in the Times Top 50 "Where women want to work". With all these accolades, technology students would be crazy not to find out more about what the company's graduate programme offers.

"IBM has a strong brand image and our overall popularity is down to the breadth of roles available to graduates as well as the first class training and career opportunities available," says Andy Moverley, recruitment manager, IBM UK. "Each year we recruit across all lines of business such as hardware, software and services, choosing students from every degree subject (not just computer science) and typically hire between 100-200 graduates each year."

Create your own career development plan on the IBM graduate scheme

The IBM graduate scheme is characterised by career development and training. Your personal objectives are prioritised from the start, where you will create your own career development plan. This will include your goals, any skills you need to build and a consideration of the kind of mentor you might benefit from working with. You will also create your business objectives, which will align with your career development plan.

IBM has an internal training organisation with hundreds of courses to choose from, both face to face and online. You will quickly put your skills to use to help real clients solve their real business challenges.

"We invest heavily in our graduates, offering a wide variety of opportunities, career paths and attractive employee benefits," Moverley says. "The culture of IBM is very open and people take responsibility for delivering results. This makes for a great working and learning environment. Colleagues are happy to share their experience with you, which is especially important when you are first starting out in your career."

The IBM graduate scheme application process

For those interested in applying, the process begins at IBM's graduate programme [new window].

Once you've registered your interest online you will then be asked to fill in a CV template.

"It lists all the skills that we look for and asks you to give examples to demonstrate when you have used these. We like you to use examples from any aspect of your life - school, college, university, hobbies, charity work, work experience etc," highlights Moverley.

Successful applicants are then invited to take an online aptitude test. This is built around logical reasoning and ability to process information quickly.

The next stage is a first round selection day. What happens on these days will vary depending on which role you have applied for. Selection days involve a group activity, a confirmatory aptitude test and a written test. If you have passed the other exercises on the day you may also be given an interview with representatives of the graduate recruitment team.

The last step on your way to becoming an IBM graduate is a visit to an assessment centre. You will take part in a number of activities designed to help you demonstrate that you have the competencies IBM values. The activities will vary depending on which role you have applied for. However, you can expect further group activity, interviews and case studies.

What IBM looks for in a graduate

"The world around us is constantly changing, becoming more interconnected and intelligent, and we need to make sure that our graduates can adjust and thrive in the years to come," says Moverley. "(With that in mind) we look for creative problem-solving, teamwork and collaboration type skills. Successful applicants will be adaptable, team players with strong communication skills and high personal drive. They will feel a passion for our business and have a strong client focus.

"If you are invited to an interview, it's important that you make a good impression. Be polite and courteous, look the interviewer in the eye and listen to what they are saying. Demonstrate that you have an understanding of our clients' needs and requirements and a clear focus on delivering exceptional service.

"If you are at university, you don't need to be studying a particular subject; it is more important to us that you have the right skills and attributes to take ownership of your role and create value for the IBM company," he adds.