Extreme Blue – Not your average summer internship program

By Emily Irons

Extreme Blue is like running your own start up – one where you can develop an idea to solve a real-world problem, turn it into a working proof of concept, and have the opportunity to present your solution to the leaders of IBM. In this article, Emily shares with us her experience ….

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Liberty Jacklin, Vandan Parmar, Emily Irons & Jawwad Farid (L>R)

The Team

Having never met before, the sixteen interns at Hursley were split into groups of four consisting of one business intern and three technical interns. Each team was presented with a real world problem to which we would provide a proof of concept solution.

It was important that the team got on well, not only for clarity of communication and effective product development but for our personal enjoyment, after all, we will be working and living together for 12 weeks! Luckily for our team, we were not only colleagues but became great friends. We were able to distribute tasks within the team and work to each of our strengths.  Our friendship meant that we could honestly (and constructively) voice out our thoughts and opinions on each other’s work.

The Project

Our team was assigned to develop a system for our client, a pharmaceutical company, that would assist in identifying crucial trends in the global healthcare market to help with top level strategic decision making. The tool should collect, analyse, and visualise healthcare-related intelligence. The solution created is an end to end proof of concept web application that initially uses a pharmaceutical database to identify trending topics in the industry before spreading the search wider into the web. The tool enables the user to filter specific search criteria and uses a variety of visualisations to present the results.

As the business intern for the group, I was assigned as the project manager, overseeing the development of the system.. Through the use of agile methodologies and IBM’s design thinking process, I was able to ensure that targets were met and the project requirements were fulfilled from both ours and the client’s perspectives. This included regularly liaising with the client as the team’s main point of contact.

Having produced a working prototype, it was my responsibility to create and organise the final presentations for both the UK and EU Expos. Throughout the process, I worked closely with the account team at IBM to mould the system into a bespoke commercial product. I also provided a white paper for the client’s IBM account team detailing the processes undertaken from problem to solution, and further considerations for advancing the proof of concept provided..

The best thing about Extreme Blue

The vast quantity of client interaction and the freedom to innovate and create a really unique solutions are among the best aspects of the Extreme Blue internship. Throughout the program, you quite literally learn something new every day. For someone with no prior coding experience , gaining a deeper understanding of technology and programming languages was a major thing. . With the wealth of knowledge available at IBM, there’s always someone who can help, and more than that, the people are so willing to help. To top it off, your experience is shared with friends in a fun working environment.

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A piece of advice for interns —  Enjoy the experience because the time flies by!

In Extreme Blue, you get to work with some of the smartest and most innovative people in technology. Simply put, it’s awesome!


Emily Irons is an Extreme Blue intern at Hursley, UK

If you are interested in finding out more about the Extreme Blue internship then visit the website.

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