Intern Spotlight: Meet Michael Hu Youren, Visual Design Intern

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“I feel most fulfilled when my ideas brought to the table are deemed useful and recognised by my superiors.” This is what Michael Hu Youren learned about himself during his internship experience at IBM. Michael is completing a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Design Communications at the Lasalle College of the Arts in 2019.

What was your role as an IBM intern?

As a Visual Design Intern, my daily tasks include assisting the designers in my team with illustration or graphic-associated tasks. These include tasks like building graphic icons from scratch, designing user interface screens, keynote presentation decks, editorials and even illustrating customer journey storyboards. More often than not, the designers and leads in the team will request my involvement in ideation, research and presentations.


What was the application process like?

During my interview, I spoke to my liaison officer and team lead who shared their expectations. They wanted to understand my skill sets better. After that, I was tasked to make an application for the position, and then an aptitude test.

I think what set me apart from other candidates would be my exposure to multiple industries through my background in branding, and my ability to illustrate.

What is the most remarkable thing about your internship experience?

Being new to the User Interface and User experience (UI and UX) field, I learned volumes by working with my team. The best times at work are during ideation and team discussions. Tossing ideas around with the team and coming up with solutions to problems always excites me.

The most challenging part of my work is getting used to working in an environment much larger than before. I have to work alongside different departments and understand the big picture – how certain decisions are made at the macro level.


Can you tell us about your happy moments at work?

I look forward to spending time at work. I feel most fulfilled when my ideas brought to the table are deemed useful and recognised by my superiors, and that my work and skill sets truly adds value to the progress of the organisation.


What type of support did you get in your internship?

My team and leads have always been welcoming and open to teaching me since Day One, and I am truly appreciative that they don’t treat me differently just because I am an intern.

At IBM, there are many avenues to work on new skill sets, and hone your skills. Besides job trainings, online resources are available as well, giving you more opportunities to learn in my own time.

How would you describe IBM’s work culture?

Working hours are usually reasonable, usually ending the workday at 6. That being said, there are some days where we would have to stay a little later to complete certain projects. However, I feel that it boils down to time management.

The culture at IBM is open to conversations, discussions, learning and mentorships. The seniors and leads have given me a lot of guidance and support. Different departments often interact with each other, often creating a conducive space for transdisciplinary discussions, learning, and co-working.


What advice can you give future interns for a successful internship experience?

The Internet is your friend. Come to work prepared and use web resources to pick up software skills. This will grant you more time to spend on the more important tasks—solving complex problems—rather than trying to navigate through technical hurdles. Learning to draw will also give you an edge as a visual designer.


The IBM internship experience aims to provide students the opportunity to develop their skills in relevant and challenging roles with real-life job experience.

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