What’s INKOMPASS and Why You Should Apply For It

INKOMPASS is a winternship. That’s a word I made up to explain what it is in the simplest way possible. INKOMPASS is the combination of “winning” an “internship”.

Hello there, dear readers, it is I, Justine Lara T. Chua aka the mean one, interrupting regular programming once again! This time, I’m here to talk about the greatest internship in the world (in my personal opinion) and how you can also be one of the lucky few who take part in it this coming summer! To do so, you just have to win the internship!

How to win the internship is simple*:

  1. You apply for INKOMPASS here. It’s pretty straightforward on the site, but just in case, make sure to check that you’re 18+ years old, or at least you will be before May 2016. Then fill up the form. If there’s a referral code, put in TBC. 
  2. You will be emailed a link where you will take the online test, both math and situational. Make sure you’re taking the real test though, not just the practice, because last year, a lot of people finished the practice test and then just exited the site.

    Also, make sure you have stable internet, and no one to distract you when taking the tests. Trust me, you’ll need it. 
  3. If and when you pass both the math and situational exams, plus you meet the criteria listed below, you’ll be called for an informal interview. The venue depends on the interviewers.

    I had mine at Seattle’s Katip, and I got a free drink too! (Which I didn’t touch the whole time because I was sure I’d look dumb sipping something.) (Tina, the one who interviewed me, later on told me that I was quite animated so much so that she didn’t really get a word in.) 
  4. After the interview, you will find out the details for the on-ground assessment. I suggest you go even if you’re hella busy, because this means more for your future than just your grades or attendance record. And make friends with the people you meet there.

    Fun fact: my first friend of the day, and last friend of the day ended up being my co-interns, Loi Doma and Gabe Wilwayco hahaha.

    This is 4 of us at the airport on our way to Cagayan de Oro as part of the INKOMPASS program. From L-R, Isa Salcedo, me failing at being fierce because I’m so excited to be going on a trip with my friends, Loi Doma, Gabe Wilwayco.


  5. Then you go through the on-ground assessment, which is the whole day activity where members of the company will assess you to see if you’re a good fit at PMFTC. During that day, there will also be a lot of self-improvement talks that really do help you in realizing your strengths and weaknesses!

    You just need to keep an open mind during those times. They’re the self-reflective kind; if you’re not willing to change, the talks won’t help you grow.

    I’ll probably write a post about on-ground too, but not sure because I’d rather it be a surprise for all of you.  

  6. Then there’s the long wait period to know who passed and who didn’t. The wait will make you rethink your worth as a person, but you know what, that’s totally OK. We should always readjust our self-perceptions when a paid internship worth around ½ a semester’s worth of tuition at ADMU in exchange for 2 months work with one of the top 10 international companies in the world is on the line. No big deal.**

*Not really. But nothing great ever came from a simple endeavor.

**This was such a huge deal to me, that I had to actively counsel myself on how to get through life if I failed to get it, because it’s such a huge opportunity to pass up.

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The official timeline template for every INKOMPASS in different countries.


Launched by Philip Morris International here in the Philippines last 2014, INKOMPASS is an internship program for college students with 2 years left in school + are 18 years old and above when they take the exam.

If you don’t fulfill either of those criteria, you can still take the exam but you’re probably not going to make it pass the preliminaries. (For a basic run through on what the program is, go to http://bit.ly/someoneelsewroteaboutthis but honestly, I didn’t find it very useful before I finished INKOMPASS. That’s why I’m writing this. When you get through the program, everything written there makes sense suddenly.)

The reason that you need to have 2 years left in school is because it’s a 2 summer internship aka you get paid for 4 months of your life and you haven’t even left college yet. And if you do amazing the first summer, you might go on an international assignment for the second summer.

This is easily the sweetest deal you can get as a college student. This is also the second reason why I decided to go to the on-ground assessment; I wanted to see if I had the skills and talents to win such a competitive internship.

See, I’m not a top student, I’m not a BS Org person, I’m not the definition of magis* unless money making is involved. But I knew as a sophomore that I didn’t want to be a mediocre person, especially when the job hunting season comes. I just didn’t know how to go about changing myself then.

Enter INKOMPASS. It gave me proof that I can do more than I even imagined, because professionals, trained recruiters, saw and believed that I could be a project manager, if I got the right training. That’s a huge boost to anyone’s confidence. And it was a solid boost in my self-esteem and productivity. (For my emotional goodbye and thank you message about my INKOMPASS journey, read it here http://bit.ly/justinewroteaboutinkompass)

I met a lot of seemingly random people there at PMFTC, who became my mentors over the course of my 8 weeks there. From the official team I joined alone was Alek, my buddy who wasn’t much older than me and gave me solid advice in easing myself into my role, Sally, who had joined the team shortly before I did and welcomed me with open arms, Romina, my ever busy coach who always scheduled time to discuss my project and progress and growth, and Michael, the VP of my department who treated my opinions as equal to his own and taught me not only about working, but also about balance.

(I call them by their first names, because it’s a Western thing and also, there was a jar that I had to drop 20 pesos in every time I called Michael “sir”. I lost a lot of money that first week.)

Then there were the truly random encounters. Brett stumbled across Ven and I melancholic in the pantry one day, and insisted on helping us out with our respective projects. He ended up mentoring most, if not all 17, of us, wherein he gave us countless hours of his precious time, effectively becoming the super-mentor of INKOMPASS Philippines.

There was Arnie, Loi’s coach, who took us out of the office one day to go see the Supplier’s Summit and gave us an incisive look into the worlds beyond the office. He gave us a lot of advice, on working life, on what PMFTC life is like here in the Philippines and abroad, on what opportunities we can find anywhere, and he gave a lot of advice to those of us who wanted to be lawyers.

For me, he cemented my decision to not go into law, which saves me hours of agony in the future. He also fed us frequently, and for that I am eternally grateful.

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Family lunch 🍖🍗🍤 #chos #inkompass

A post shared by Justine LT Chua (@justineltchua) on


And last but most definitely not the least, there was Robbie, a godsend to me during my eleventh hour on the job. I can’t even write down all the mentorship he gave me; it was so much so that I journeyed 14 floors down at least once a week to go ask for help.

There was a week I went to visit everyday. The advice I use the most though is how to modulate my speed. He managed to do what even my parents thought was impossible; he got me to speak slower. (Not slowly. Slower. You’ll understand if you hear me talk.)

*Magis (pronounced “màh-gis”) is a Latin word that means “more” or “better.” It is related to Ad majorem Dei gloriam, a Latin phrase meaning “for the greater glory of God.” Magis should refer to the philosophy of doing more, for Christ, and therefore doing more for others.

In Ateneo, it is used to refer to people who give everything they’ve got into everything they’re in. I hate the Ateneo definition of magis because it leaves people burned out.

If you want a chance to prove to all your friends and family that you’re as smart as you think you are for the egoistic out there like me, or if you want an excellent experience that will color the way you live the rest of your college life for those who want to self-actualize, then do your best to BE the best through INKOMPASS. It literally changed my life.

When I took the online exam, so did 4500 other college students, then we got whittled down to 100 for the on-ground assessment, where only 17 of us ended with the winternship. There was only supposed to be 15 interns, but INKOMPASS will make space for those they think are worth it. And I’m eternally glad to be thought of as worth it.

I never expected to be in the top, because my groupmates were kind of ruthless. (Shoutout to KD Cruz who was sweet as pie during the breaks, but was a ruthless analyst during the competition.) Turns out, I was pretty ruthless too. We all were. But I wasn’t very self-aware about my nature then.

INKOMPASS taught me how to be self-aware though; what my strengths are, what are my weaknesses, and what are my limits, plus can I break through them?? Then they taught me how to unlimit myself through the personalized program and development plan which is really amazing because who knew I was the worst planner on earth?? I clearly didn’t. So grateful for that, quite honestly. 

This is a blurry pic from Instagram featured on the INKOMPASS FB page.


You lose nothing by taking the test and seeing how everything pans out. You lose nothing by trying your hardest in everything you do. No one has any idea how life will pan out for them. For my life, INKOMPASS was a turning point. For some of my fellow interns, it’s just a stepping stone in their journey up.

Everything we do is only worth what we think of it. That’s why I explained what INKOMPASS could be worth to you.

But in case some of you are more money-oriented, like me, INKOMPASS in the Philippines is worth Php26k a month. The other best internships in the country only offer up to Php15k aka a little above minimum wage. I checked.

So, there you have it! The “how” to apply to INKOMPASS and an idea of “why” to apply for INKOMPASS. But in case you want different perspectives than mine to talk about INKOMPASS, I asked my fellow interns to write for the  Intern-view series!

Turn in your questions here into the Google Form, because how I’m planning to do it is to ask them hyper-specific questions about their journeys. You guys might not like that though? So leave me your comments as well on the form!

For those who want to ask questions to kind-er people, head on over to Bo’s Coffee Katip! INKOMPASS rebranded the place for the week, so coffee’s on us! You just have to turn in your paper application there to avail of the free food and drink! If you still want to apply online though, turn in your app here at INKOMPASS’ website!

If you’ve got any other questions, queries, or clarifications, you can tweet me at @justineltchua or pm me on Instagram at the same handle. You can also message The Border Collective‘s FB page. Or if you want to be professional about it, email me at justine@thebordercollective.com. Either way, I’ll get back to you in 24 hours.

Thanks for reading, and hope I answered something useful for you!

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3 thoughts on “What’s INKOMPASS and Why You Should Apply For It

  1. From an ethics perspective, should one even consider working for a tobacco company that is responsible for the addiction, diseases, disabilities, and early deaths of hundreds of thousands of people every year?

    1. I think, so long as people know what they’re getting into, the implications of what their work does, and are not being forced into it, they can go and work wherever they want. From this same standpoint, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other companies that also cause diseases, disabilities, and early deaths of thousands of people every year. They’re just not as publicized as a tobacco company.

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