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IBM Acceptance Rate – Revealed

It’s no massive secret that getting a job at IBM is seriously tricky! But just how competitive is it, and what is their acceptance rate?

Although IBM does not publically disclose its acceptance rate for different job positions, I’ve discovered it hires 2% of interns each year for the Extreme Blue program and about 7% for other internship programs.

In the course of researching this article, I was shocked to learn that IBM is gradually downsizing its workforce for professional posts.  

In this post, I’ll reveal:

  • The stats for the IBM acceptance rate
  • Some overall stats about IBM
  • The factors that influence this acceptance rate
  • How the IBM recruitment process works alongside the acceptance rate
IBM offices, with skyscraper to the right

About IBM 

Just a quickie overview of IBM to get you started…

IBM (International Business Machine Corporation) is a global technology firm. It was founded in 1911. It’s enormous – one of the largest IT companies in the world, with offices in 170 countries and territories. 

International Business Machine Corporation is known for its software products that include: 

  • Network equipment
  • Servers
  • Computers
  • Storage Systems

The firm also offers technology, consulting, and business services. There is some serious research going on!

They have over 19 research facilities in different regions and countries. (Source)

IBM Acceptance Rate

IBM is very secretive!

They don’t really want to share their yearly acceptance rate stats. 

However, I’m a pretty useful detective, and I found that their acceptance rate is only 2% for the Extreme Blue internship.

This is a 12-week global program for technical and business students.

IBM receives almost 10,000 applications for this program. They select only 200 individuals. (Source)

For the rest of the internship programs, IBM has an acceptance rate of 7%. In a nutshell – this means it recruits only 490 graduates out of 7000 applicants to join its ranks. (Source)

Some slightly shocking news – While scouring the internet (to find out about the acceptance rate), I also learned that although it might be hiring new employees, the firm has been gradually downsizing its workforce over the last few years (and they continue to do so).

Here’s a table that shows the number of employees each year since 2005. You’ll see the increase, but then a decrease downwards after a peak in 2012:

Year Number of Employees Worldwide


IBM offices in Madrid, Spain

Factors Affecting IBM Acceptance Rate 

Securing a job position at IBM (or any similar global company) is a significant milestone for any professional. However, several factors can affect the acceptance rate at the firm. These can get you on or off the short-list of selected candidates. 

1. Qualification

Qualification plays an important role in the IBM acceptance rate. The HR representatives seek individuals who have completed their graduation or post-grad degree from a prestigious university in disciplines like: 

  • B.Tech
  • M.Tech
  • B.E
  • M.E
  • MCA

IBM also emphasizes academic excellence.

They hire professionals who have attained an aggregate of at least 70 % throughout their graduate or post-graduate studies. They are looking for a minimum of 65% in both 10th and 12th standards. (Source)

This means if you want to increase your chances of getting accepted into IBM, you have to demonstrate dedication and proficiency in your selected field. 

2. Gap in Education

IBM allows only a maximum of one ‘gap year’ in your entire educational journey. Backpacking round Europe for a few years is frowned on!

If you have more than one ‘gap year’, your chances of selection will reduce for the respective job post. (Source)

Top tip – if you are someone that has had a ‘gap year’ at some point, you need to provide an explanation for the gap during the interview.

This could be lots of things, including:

  • personal circumstances
  • gaining experience
  • working on a relevant project

Try to clearly articulate the reasons that show why you did what you did in the past, and what your goals are now. 

3. Backlogs

IBM place tremendous value on academic background. They require candidates to have a clean record without any backlogs at the time of the interview. 

Top tip – the firm rejects individuals who are pursuing correspondence or part-time courses. (Source)

4. Hiring needs of IBM 

IBM seeks candidates who align with its values and competencies. Also, it’s probably no surprise that its hiring needs also influence the selection process and acceptance rate.

If more of a certain role are required one year, then that is what they will recruit for.

5. Skills 

When selecting candidates for different job posts, IBM strongly focuses on:

  • comprehensive skills
  • experiences

At IBM, professionals are expected to excel not only in the technical field but should demonstrate good team player skills.

They need to handle multiple tasks and assignments. 

The company also prefers candidates with strong interpersonal and communication skills.

Ideally, they want people who can effectively manage time while completing projects. (Source)

To add to the mix, you can increase the chances of your acceptance by exhibiting:

  • teamwork
  • collaboration
  • a drive for innovation that fits better with the IBM culture and environment

IBM Recruitment Process And Acceptance Rate

The journey from application to selection at IBM involves a stringent evaluation process.

This plays a vital part in shifting its acceptance rate percentages.   

Let me walk you through the 5 recruitment stages. You can see how they can affect the acceptance rate at IBM:

  • Application submission: The recruitment process begins with the application submission through IBM’s official careers portal. This process provides your details to the firm. Based on this, its HR team decides whether you are selected for the next round (or not.) 
  • Written Aptitude Test: The next step includes a written aptitude test. This helps the HR team to evaluate your cognitive abilities and communication skills. It involves Matrix tests, Number series, Aptitude, and English summary writing. 
  • Group Discussion: If you get selected for the written aptitude test, you will be invited for a group discussion. They will ask you to discuss the given topic with other candidates for 15-20 minutes.
  • Technical Interview: Afterward, you’ll progress to the technical interview stage. The selection panel will ask you some technical questions related to your field.
  • HR Interview: Although only a few candidates make it to this round, the HR interview is a pretty easy one. They will evaluate your confidence, time management, and communication skills during the interview process. (Source)

Each stage acts as a filtering mechanism that influences the acceptance rate at IBM. 

I love following consulting threads on Quora, and I recently saw one where a former software developer on Quora stated It’s pretty competitive… IBM tests your analytical skills more than your programming, so practice the quant and verbal questions of the Internet forums on IBM campus drives. The interview tests your communication and innovative skills. 

This clearly shows IBM carefully evaluates the candidates and selects only those who align with

  • Its core values
  • Its requirements
  • The company culture

All in all, that is the main reason for the low acceptance rate over the years.


  • Will Bennett

    Will Bennett is a Cambridge graduate. He worked as a Consultant and Senior Consultant at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in London. Will is the Founder of The Cambridge Consultant.