Why I’m A Proud IBM Mentor: My IBM Finish Line Experience

Satya has been with IBM for almost a decade now, and his pride for the company has only grown over the years. So when he was asked to volunteer as a mentor for early professionals at the IBM Finish Line events, he did not hesitate to accept the challenge.


by Satya Krishnaswamy

Satya Headshot

Over the years, I have learned that IBM is a company where employees are given the opportunity to explore and innovate, while simultaneously celebrating successes and learning from failures. Personally, IBM is special to me because the company believed in my potential when I was wrestling with my career strategy and planning a few years back. So last December, when I was invited to participate as an employee coach and mentor at an IBM event for students, I did not have to think twice about accepting it.

“IBM Finish Line” is an event that brings early professional offering managers, designers, developers and data scientists together to experience a realistic job preview of what it’s like to work in IBM.

The candidates invited to this program clearly have strong work ethics and were super motivated. They had to pass through an intense IBM selection process involving coding assignments and technical deep-dive video interviews before landing here. I marvel at the fact that IBM brought all these outstanding individuals together to solve a business challenge in just three days, highlighting each student’s unique perspective, to work together collaboratively. This gave them a glimpse of how it’s like to be in the IBM environment and if they thought they weren’t a fit for this company they had the opportunity to change their minds by the end of the event.

“As a designer, it’s so nice to have the opportunity to work with offering managers and developers. It helped me understand what I will face in the real work place and prepare for my career. The coaches are patient and approachable. I can feel they do their best to help us succeed,” according to one feedback from a participant.

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During this event, current IBM employees volunteered to mentor these future IBMers. As coaches, we were each assigned a team of 6-10 members to help them succeed with the challenges. At first, I was wondering how they were expected to create an impact in a three-day event. Will there be enough time with all the participants? How will they collaborate? Will the students succeed? I had so many concerns, but by the end of the first event I attended, all my questions were answered. The IBM Early Professional Talent Acquisition team had some unique ideas in the way they organized these impactful experiences from networking lunches to a panelist of IBMers with candid advice and knowledge, all the while keeping us on-time and moving us along to the next activity.

This was echoed by the feedback we got from the students, where one mentioned how “IBM treated us like royalty. It is clear that the company values employees and invests in their development. I loved meeting my peers and the sense of camaraderie we developed by working on the challenges together. It was also great that we quickly learned some IBM technologies and were able to deliver an MVP in less than 10 hours.”

It is worth recognizing the team who organized these events with a laser focus on their mission and a clear strategy. The team always sought feedback with the goal of improving the next event; and you can tell they actually listened to the feedback from students and IBMers, as we saw how the event continued to evolve and get better – from the Boston Finish Line to next one in Toronto, then Austin, and finally San Francisco – with every experience improving from the last one.

The IBM Finish Line is a true, signature experience for all our soon-to-be IBMers to take a peek into their future careers in IBM. An IBMer who participated in last year’s event said, “The Finish Line was a big reason why I joined IBM. I even work closely and keep in touch with some of the other candidates I met there! It’s been really rewarding to be able to give back as a Developer Buddy to something that had a huge role in shaping my career.”

I hope I represented being an IBM rock star well because these events made me an even prouder IBMer!


Satya Krishnaswamy is a Senior Manager for the Hybrid Data Management group building the next generation appliance (IBM Integrated Analytics system aka Salifish). He started his career at IBM in 2009 as a DB2 Support Engineer, evolved as a support lead, and worked in different product lines including Netezza (PDA), PureData System for Operational Analytics (PDOA) & PureData System for Transactions (PDTx).

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