Internship FAQ

What's the scoop on IDEO's intern program?

IDEO brings on dozens of interns from a variety of academic backgrounds throughout the year. Internship requirements vary among roles and studios, so please be sure to read the posting carefully before applying. We are able to accept international students on visas in most of our locations.

This isn’t a coffee-fetching gig! We truly value our interns, as they work alongside our full time employees to tackle challenges, and make real impact on IDEO’s projects and culture. While not guaranteed, many interns have later become IDEO employees. Interning at IDEO is an exciting opportunity to learn, grow, and have a lot of fun.

Is there a deadline for internship applications?

Intern recruiting varies across studios, just as hiring needs do. That said, most studios begin posting intern opportunities around the start of each year. All intern opportunities are posted on our careers page, and if there’s a deadline, it will be posted with the role.

How long are the programs, and when do they run?

Most of our internships last three months, beginning in June and running through the end of the summer when the school year starts. Depending on the discipline and need, some of our internships last six months, and we hire for these roles throughout the year.

Which offices have internship programs?

All IDEO studios offer internships, but the available opportunities and duration vary each year depending on the location’s needs.

Are any internships unpaid?

No way! All internships are paid, and we do not consider applicants who want to work for free. Some studios offer an additional $100 reimbursement for public transportation each month.

What kind of students do you look for?

Most often, though not always, our interns are entering or within a graduate degree program. Successful candidates display exceptional skill and can demonstrate high-quality work in the domain of the internship they have applied for. We consider candidates who are passionate about their area of specialization, and who demonstrate a clear point-of-view relating to their work. IDEO has a team-oriented, collaborative culture, and we want students who both play well with others while being self-directed. An ability to thrive in ambiguity will help greatly.

Can I intern at IDEO while on sabbatical or during a career transition?

Our internships are intended for students pursuing degrees.

What kind of projects will I work on?

Our interns work alongside our full-time employees on real IDEO projects. Your time will likely include brainstorms, prototyping, in-context observations, and everything else we love about human centered design. It may include client meetings, presentations, and travel. It will not include pencil sharpening or food runs, unless of course it’s for yourself.

How should I apply?

All applications must take place through our website’s careers page. It’s okay to apply for positions in multiple studios, but you should only apply to internships for which you qualify. Applying for positions you don’t qualify for will raise red flags for the recruiting team. When applying, please include a resume and cover letter. Design applicants should include a PDF or URL for an electronic portfolio. Physical portfolios don’t work well for sharing among reviewers, so please keep it digital. Attachments must be formatted as a text-based Adobe PDF, PowerPoint, or Word document.

Your application will be reviewed, and someone on the recruiting team will reach out directly if they’d like to schedule an interview. Should your application match the role requirements, you will likely hear from someone in recruiting within a month of applying.

How can I learn more about IDEO’s approach to design thinking?

Check out our online school, IDEO U, which offers online courses to equip you with the tools and mindsets to ignite your creative confidence and tackle complex challenges.

Feb 2016