For my Princeternship at Google in NYC, I was hosted by Raj Hathiramani ’07, and visited with another Princtern, Brandon Rhodes ‘14. During our Princeternship we were given the opportunity to meet employees in various departments and hear their perspectives and roles at Google. I had the chance to meet employees in industries ranging from advertising to engineering to financial analysis to community service.
First, I met Andrew, who was in sales as a display real-time bidding sales account executive. He had a very unconventional path to Google, where he was actually hired for an advertising startup that was bought by Google. Before getting into the nitty-gritty of what he actually does, he gave me a brief overview of the industry. Originally, advertising happened between companies, but there were only so many lunches and calls one can schedule in a day – there was a limit on time. So came the middle man. The middle man, the advertising companies, started to gain ground by being the sole contact to the publishing companies, which solves the issue with time, but the companies would never knew how much profit the middle man was making. Now Andrew’s team eliminates the middle man to cut costs for the companies. He works with the real-time bidding sales, essentially the stock market of advertising, really interesting stuff! After this conversation our alum Raj talked to us more about advertising – the schematics of it really: cost per click, per impression, per action – and how he works in revenue analysis for many different projects at Google.
I also briefly met Arnaud, the project manager for google.org, the sector of Google that works with nonprofits and community service. He describes his job in three metaphors. Being a project manager is like being a shrink, having to be the bridge between different people and differing opinions. It’s also like being a head coach, gaining respect from the players and puppeteering the situation from behind the scenes. It’s also like being a movie director, taking resources and creating a product from those resources, as well as knowing when creativity is effective and when it is detrimental.
Lastly, I met Manja, a software engineer of Google – one of the better known positions. He works in the more geo/local aspects (ie. Google Maps). Manja talked more about his past and current projects. For example, he worked on the new release on Google Maps Restaurants. When you look on your Android phone for restaurants, you can now see a string of words directly under the basic information (ie. long lines (dot) food network (dot) ravioli (dot) butternut squash soup). This tells you the key words and phrases that show up in reviews, which saves a lot of Yelp scrolling and reading time, so thank Manja!
The culture and environment at Google was amazing; I really do see why people say it is the “Best Place to Work.” There was a game room with video games, ping pong, gym equipment, foosball, and a pool table; snack stations every few feet; three (free and ridiculously good) cafeterias; lots of lounging room for relaxing or even meetings with coworkers. The people are very happy so therefore work efficiently; Google got it down! I learned so much on this trip. For those ORFE majors not interested in Wall St, it was exciting to see other paths! It’s now that I realize exactly how applicable ORFE is to any industry, and I need not box myself in and just look at opportunities in finance. It was definitely an eye-opening experience; I had no idea that Google NYC was so big and had so many non-technical positions. I definitely recommend Princeternship for anyone who’s curious about an industry, especially as a viable future career path.