My host, Ms. Suzanne Spence ’04, is Head of Media Solutions of the Big Customer Sales division at Google, mainly supervising the Business and Technology team. On the first day of my Princeternship, Suzanne put me in touch with several Sales team members, and I had a 30-minute conversation with each of them. The first person I talked with was Emily from the Travels Sales team. Emilie shared with me the challenges she encountered as a second-year salesperson at Google. She told me that one challenge was to change certain people’s deep-seated beliefs in the traditional means of advertising, such as print and TV. The Sales team in Google was never about hard Sales. Instead, it was about proactively setting different expectations for different clients. I then talked with Amanda, who introduced to me the major structure of the Sales team at Google. So at Google, the Sales team was fundamentally divided into the big customer sales group and the small customer sales group. And within each of those two groups, the team was then divided into verticals, or different industries, such as travel, consumer products, automobile, manufacturers, etc. Through talking with these people, I felt that Googlers put big emphasis on high efficiency and productivity. At the same time, every team in Google emphasized the importance of collaboration in promoting the company’s long-term growth. In the afternoon, I sat in at one of the meetings in Suzanne’s team. Googlers all sat down in a colorful office with their afternoon coffees and desserts, and the meeting was carried out over Google Hangout, so that people in different offices in different regions could have face-to-face discussions. One of the most frequently used phrases in the meetings was “my biggest takeaway was,” and all members in the meeting, both senior and junior, were very active in asking and answering questions. This further highlighted Google’s nonhierarchical culture. After the meeting, I had a conversation with Jeff, who worked in the Industrial Relations division. He highlighted to me that the difference between working in a company like Google vs. working in an advertising agency was that while the advertising agency solely delivered its advertising campaigns to its clients (mainly businesses), Google participated in both the planning and the execution of the campaigns. Jeff also shared with me his career paths and highlighted the degree of internal mobility in Google. He said that the benefit of working in a big company like Google was that the company was very supportive when employees wanted to move from one division to another division.
On the second day of my Princeternship, I had conversations with more members of the Sales team, including members from the Zoo, Google’s team responsible for designing creative marketing and advertising campaigns for businesses. The people at Zoo were very dynamic, creative and spontaneous. They shared with me their past work and conveyed to me that in a place like Google, as long as one demonstrated talents and hard work, one would be rewarded with freedom for innovation. These ideas are further confirmed as I talked with Sam, the Sales development manager at Google. He told me that one of the main projects he was working on was not in fact assigned, but rather, a new revenue-growing source he and his team discovered recently. On the second day, I also sat in a meeting with Zagat, a new company that was acquired by Google recently. On that specific day, Googlers and the representative from the Zagat Sales team are pitching stories for an upcoming mobile app that Zagat is going to launch. In observing Googlers’ meetings with the Zagat team, I realized that Googlers were expecting challenges along the way, and were working very hard towards designing more customizable and more uniform platforms to enhance users’ experiences.
I enjoyed my Google Princeternship very much. Not only did I meet a lot of amazing people, I was also fed every single time I interacted with Googlers. What’s more amazing than the people and the food was the company culture. The sense of innovation, curiosity and work ethics would stay with me throughout my Princeton career.