Google has had a huge impact on our everyday lives for the past two decades. The company’s Android OS is already the most used OS on the planet, and it’s also exploring burgeoning hardware technologies including VR headsets and drones.
It’s no surprise, then, that when it comes to working in tech, Google is always near the top of the list. Google has been the No. 1 most coveted company for internships for the last two years running, according to Vault’s annual rankings. But how do you score an internship with Google–and does it live up to the hype? We spoke with Kerry Wang, a graduate student at Stanford University, who interned with the company last summer.
On Her Role At Google
I interned at Google at their Mountain View campus in the summer of 2016. I was 20 years old and had just finished my junior year of undergrad at Stanford. The 10-week program lasted from June to August.
I was a business intern in their Building Opportunities for Leadership & Development (BOLD) program. Specifically, I worked as a product sales lead in their Online Partnerships Group. As a product sales lead, I worked with both business and engineering teams to develop and launch products on the AdSense platform. I loved working with a cross-functional team and tackling the unique opportunities it presented. It was also a position that I felt well-suited for due to my background in human biology (with an innovation, entrepreneurship, and human behavior concentration) and computer science.
How She Found The Google Internship
The application process for the BOLD Internship started during my freshman year of college. I had seen a flyer advertising the BOLD Discovery program at Google’s New York City campus that was designed for undergraduate freshmen. I decided to apply and was super excited when I was accepted. Along with an all-expenses-paid trip to New York, I spent three days at the Google campus learning about the company’s culture and business operations. I loved what I learned, so when the recruiter for BOLD Discovery reached out two years later to pitch the BOLD Internship, I immediately submitted my resume and application.
The Interview Process At Google
Since BOLD Discovery is a feeder program for the BOLD Internship, I was lucky to be a part of the Fast Track Process. I submitted my application at the beginning of October, heard back from them a few weeks later, and had my interviews scheduled for the beginning of November. While I applied to the general BOLD Internship program, my recruiter matched me with Online Partnerships Group after seeing my resume.
I had two one-on-one 30-minute interviews over Google Hangouts with product sales leads, and I really enjoyed them both. I was a little nervous going into it, but I was prepared, and it helped to know that Google wanted me to do well. My recruiter even emailed me to wish me luck the evening before the interviews. I had a lot of fun with the questions, and I loved getting to know my interviewers. I ended up working with both of them during my internship, and one of them became a great mentor to me.
Three days after my interview, my recruiter gave me a call and offered me the internship. I was amazed by the turnaround time. The interview process was fast and efficient, and throughout it I became increasingly convinced that it was a place where I wanted to work.
What Helped Me Score A Google Internship
At Google, there’s a word we use to describe a set of common characteristics: Googleyness. While there’s no set definition for it, I believe it is a combination of good-heartedness, a passion for learning, and an innovative drive. It’s what makes Googlers people who I would want to work with every single day. While in a “Walk and Talk” with one of my interviewers during my internship, he said that he remembered how I came across as a really nice person. I think that when Google looks for its future employees, it looks beyond the achievements on a resume to how someone is as a person.
The Average Workday Of A Google Intern
I took advantage of the GBus shuttle system and lived in San Francisco for the summer. This meant that I took the 7:20 a.m. shuttle to the Mountain View campus every day to make it to work by 8:30 a.m. I would grab breakfast at one of the cafes and then work until lunch.
Frequently, I would grab lunch with either another intern or a Googler that I wanted to learn from. Everyone was very willing to chat, and one of my personal goals for the summer was to meet a new person every week. Most of my days were spent in meetings, and outside of meetings I could work at any of the common spaces around the office.
My manager was fantastic at both mentoring me during my projects and allowing me the freedom to learn independently. I felt I had autonomy over my work and time, as long as I was productive. After work, I would either go to a social event or the gym, grab dinner, and then catch the GBus home.
Best Experiences As a Google intern
Three stand out:
- A little more than halfway through my internship, I launched the AdSense product I worked on to publishers around the world. Managing the go-to-market process and measuring launch metrics was an amazing learning experience. Even as interns, our projects had real impact.
- As a BOLD Intern, I had an awesome mentor who worked at YouTube. We had weekly syncs, and I even had the opportunity to visit her at the YouTube offices. She was a fantastic resource throughout my internship, and we still stay in touch today.
- My manager is a huge fan of Manchester United. On my last day of work, another team member and I printed out a million pictures of Manchester United’s rival, Manchester City, and wrapped his desk with it. The playful culture at Google was one of the best parts of working there.
The Lasting Benefits Of A Google Internship
Working for Google as a business intern helped me secure an internship as a summer business analyst at McKinsey & Company the following summer. In particular, working for a successful technology company qualified me to specialize in McKinsey’s digital practice. I haven’t started working there yet, but I’m sure the skills I learned through the BOLD Internship will be transferable to this new industry.
Academically, working for a technology company motivated me to pursue a master’s degree in computer science. The knowledge that my human biology undergraduate studies have given me is irreplaceable, but my interactions with the engineering team, and the business team within a technology company, helped me recognize the importance of an engineering degree. After my internship ended, I decided to apply to Stanford’s coterminal master’s program in the fall. I’m excited to spend a fifth year at Stanford studying another field I love.
What Others Could Do To Land An Internship At Google
Learn about Google products. Everyone knows something about Search, Android, and Maps. Set yourself apart by learning about other Google products such as AdSense, Hangouts, and Duo.
Attend Google events. Recruiters are constantly on the lookout for potential interns, whether it be for the current intern cycle or the ones after that. Attend events, talk to people who work at Google, and learn about the opportunities.