IBM Consulting 2016 - My Journey from Application to Offer




Is anybody going to their AC on the 28/08 in Hursley? For the Software Development graduate program?


I had my final interview for GTS 3 weeks ago after I passed my AC 2 months ago…however, I didnt get the role…they told me that they would put me back into the matching process…but does it mean game over?


As this forum (and this post in particular) was very helpful to me, I thought I should return the favour and give you a summary of the rollercoaster ride that was applying to IBM.

I applied for Graduate – Business Consulting in early November and quickly passed all the stages until my invitation for the Assessment Centre in late January. I think my main suggestion up until this point is to think really hard on how you respond to the application questions because they are not only used for the initial screening but will also be covered during your AC interviews.

My experience in the AC was very good because I really enjoyed working with the people I was assigned to for the group exercises. The exercises are fun and challenging. You should expect to be assessed on your soft skills with your team and contributions to the exercises. But I believe the most important thing is how you well you communicate your ideas to others and your team spirit since we couldn’t finish one the exercises and still we were the only team on the day where almost all of us passed to the afternoon interviews! Next up was the Foundation interview that was very relaxed and focused more on how well you can fit into IBM’s culture. I was lucky enough to get a business matching interview on the same day, which I thought went really well (and received great feedback from the interviewer) but I didn’t feel the match was quite right for me. I passed the AC but wasn’t offered that role. I guess that my matching worries transpired during the interview.

I started receiving the emails telling that I was still on the business-matching phase but, once weeks started turning into months, my hopes of getting a second chance were fading but never really lost. In early July, I received a call inviting me to attend an interview for a different role, which I gladly accepted. Instead of GBS (Global Business Services) I was now matched for a graduate role with GTS (Global Technology Services). I really liked the new match as it was more technological and would allow me to experience more diverse roles. Once again, the interview was focused much more on my cultural fit than competencies. In the end, I thought it was the best interview I had ever had in any company so my hopes were again very high. Around 15 days later I received the call with the job offer and was extremely pleased to accepted it!! I was even lucky enough to be based on my preferred location.

I guess my main contribution here is to show everyone that even if you are waiting a long time (almost 10 months for me), it is definitely possible to get in. Don’t lose hope and make the best out of every step in the application process!

All the best,

A tremendously excited new starter


Hi! I have a few questions regarding the timeline. You applied in early November, and in July/August you received an offer, and when is your start date? I am about to begin my Masters degree, and I graduated from college in May 2015. I am looking into graduate schemes and entry level positions for larger corporations, with the goal of working at a tech company, such as IBM. I have not even begun my Masters, and they’re pushing us to begin applying. My program begins in October, and runs through October 2016 (summer spent writing dissertation), with graduation in January 2017. Is it too early for me to begin applying? I just want to gauge when your start date is, to see if I should apply now, or after I graduate.


Hi! I am going to start in late September (28th). You have several options when applying for roles within IBM. Look for your programme of choice (you can only apply to one) and check whether it is a late start. I can only give you my example but I believe start dates for those programmes are usually for late September/early October.

In my opinion, you should apply as soon as the programmes open (for late 2017) to increase your chances of being selected. My MSc in Lancaster also required me to write my dissertation through the Summer but I had to submit it early September (I’m joining IBM a year later). Check with your programme director to confirm this but I think this is standard procedure for most programmes. Programmes for late ‘2017’ should open sometime around the second semester of 2016.

Hope this helps you. Best of luck with your Masters and with your application with IBM.


Hi, I’ll be in the same induction as you from the 28th! I’m starting a Technical Sales role in Smarter Cities (GTS).


Great. Hope to see you there on the 28th!


Congrats on the offer!

I’m going to submit an application next week for the Business Consulting role as well. Just wanted to know about two parts of the application/CV form. With the part on describing your interest in technology, how did you approach this? Do you recommend incorporating one or two relevant IBM case studies to base your answer on or is it better to keep the scope quite broad and talk about your general interest and mention things like technologies such as A,B,C can help businesses do X,Y and Z? I’m trying to be as concise as possible with the word count for this but I keep having to re-write it (was a lot easier with Accenture as they had max 500 words)! Then with the part on ‘why this role’ - was it essentially a combination of answering why IBM and why consultancy? Did you have a sound understanding of what kind of things you’d be doing as a business consultant that you put in here?

Cheers in advance!


Thanks, ap12!
My general approach for those questions was to focus on IBM’s core competencies and businesses and draw as most as possible from your own experience, instead of trying to build an essay on current technologies. By showing your experience you can show how you feel you are already equipped to deal with the challenges that can present itself to you within your preferred role. If you use examples based on current IBM businesses you demonstrate how you have a knowledge of the technologies that the company is working with.
For example, if you talk about having experience with ERP (especially SAP) or Business Intelligence can be a plus. Just be advised that by focusing on a specific business you increase the likelihood of being matched to that business in the interviews part of the assessment centre. There’s always a trade-off here so be sure of where you want to focus your attention at this stage.
To the ‘why this role’ and ‘why IBM’ section again I would recommend giving examples from your own experience of how you can fit into the companies culture and the job requirements that are mentioned in the application. Check the HR page for your specific role to see what recruiters will be looking for. Check also the company’s values and make sure your answers are linked to those as they are the founding principles of IBM’s competitive advantage.
A good technique to answer most application questions is to use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Just google it to find out more about it.
Hope this helps, best of luck with your application!


Ah, brilliant. Thanks a lot, that’s very helpful. Will definitely be taking the business focus/matching process into account!



I have really found your blog very useful. I was wondering whether you had to do another IPAT test on the day? (i have received an email regarding the AC, however there is no mention of any tests to be taken).


Hello all. Is there anyone who has been pushed out of the process? I cleared my assessment centre on Apr 22 and when I sent an email to check for an update, I received a reply saying that they are not proceeding with my application. This is ridiculous as on no grounds this has been done. Has anyone shared this experience?


before your interview it’s a good idea to follow the IBM and specifically the consulting team on social media as it’s things like this that help you stand out. There is an instagram page @consultingbydegrees which is maintained by the graduate community, when I told my interviewer I was following this she liked that I’d gone out of my way to find it, and then started talking to me about all the other things I can do when I join the company - I ended up getting placed in a role with her and I think being interesting in stuff like this helped.

Good luck to everyone, a lot of graduates I started with waiting for 4-7 months between final interview and offer date, so don’t get too down if you need to wait a while.


hi Anonymous, do you have any tips for approaching the application questions of graduate Strategic analytic consultant role. Any help will be highly appreciated.


I have been following this post for a few days now and it seems really helpful, I have my AC on Feb, 18th. I am quite excited but also, nervous about a few things which are not very clear to me. About the PPT, do we need to make the presentation on powerpoint or on paper and what kind of of topics we may come across? Would really appreciate your inputs. Thank you.


hey, hope you are well.

I’ve completed my shl test with IBM for the strategic analytics consultant role since a week ago and I haven’t heard from them since then. I didn’t even receive an email saying that I’ve completed my shl online test.

I’ve also noticed my application status changed from ‘Under Manager Review’ to ‘Under Recruiter Review’, Then recently is manager review again.

I’m wondering how long did your process take and how quickly did they get back to you?

Appreciate your kind help!




I had an assessment centre for a Business Specialist graduate position on 10/12/15. I was told I had passed this the following day but have since not heard back regarding the next stage (i.e. direct offer/final interview). I was wondering if anyone has heard back for the 2016 intake or if anyone is in the same position as me? Also, does anyone from previous years have information on how long we may have to wait?



Hi, I was placed in the matching process on the 26th November 2015 for the Leading to Africa Internship

It’s been over two months now and I still have heard no response from IBM?
I sent them an email but they sent a reply back very quickly stating that I am in the ‘matching process and my status has not changed’.

What should I do?


hi… I actually missed an interview call from IBM for mobile application testing… and unable to connect to the number from which I had received the call as it is a company landline number…


I had my final interview in early June after I passed my AC in January. The wait is not ideal but don’t despair as IBM may still be going through the analysis/matching process.