Internship at Google

I’ve spoken previously on this blog about the slight air of panic amongst various members of the MBA cohourt as the deadlines, interviews and offers for the big banks and consulting firms came and went. I also mentioned that the anxiety was misplaced as most firms don’t start advertising their MBA internships until April/May. I’m happy to say that my optimism has been proven right. We seem to have an almost daily email from career services stating that some firm or other has a summer project or internship they need someone to help with so the class of 2014 are filling their boots with applications and interviews. The positions tend to be from a mix of Manchester, London and International based firms.

I, however, have some work related news of my own. I have been offered a Summer MBA internship at Google, split between their Manchester and London offices, and have accepted it. I’ll be working in their Marketing & Sales department, using the skills and contacts I picked up though a decade working in media agencies.

I guess this means my summer will look something like this:

My Summer?

Just hope that I’m not forced to wear these lovely hats!

Google Internship

Workwear this summer?

For those of you wondering about what it takes to get into Google for an internship, there are three things you really need to emphasise in your application:

  1. Relevant experience. Unlike the major strategy consultancies like McKinsey, Google won’t just take a chance on you because you are uber-smart.  You need to show that you have already acquired skills that would add value. In my case this came from working on the buying side of the media fence. I have insight into what their customers are looking for and how they decide where to spend their advertising money. For you, however, it could be that you can cite relevant project management experience in tech industries or even just that you are a superstar salesman.
  2. Achievement and pro-activity. This probably goes without saying, especially if you have been through the MBA application process, but you can’t get in just on potential alone. You need to demonstrate that your leadership drive has has a direct impact on the companies you have worked for and that you won’t just sit at your desk and wait to be told what to do.
  3. “Googliness”. There are no shortage of super-intelligent, experienced candidates lining up to work at Google so the company have another filter. They look for recruits to have done something different and interesting outside the work sphere. Examples they quote are Olympic rowers, people who have climbed Everest and writers who have already published a novel. Of course, most candidates don’t have anything this impressive but you need to show that you are at least a little bit interesting (a smaller scale example is a person who worked as a bee keeper). If you don’t think you have anything like this in your locker I suggest you get on that bungee jumping course as soon as possible…

The interview process for the Google internship was nothing like as intense as the one I went through for McKinsey. It was nothing like the rumours that swirl round the internet scaremongering that you’ll be asked why manhole covers are round or how many ping pong balls fit in a double decker bus.

It consisted of two phone interviews (no face to face ones) where I was asked about my previous experience and also my opinion on various Google related topics. My experience interviewing for McKinsey really helped as I was able to break some of the more challenging questions down and give issue tree based answers – a given in consultancy industry interviews but an approach that probably made me standout here.

So, if you’ve got a phone interview lined up with Google I would suggest you have answers to the following basic questions:

  • Why your previous experience makes you the perfect hire for Google
  • Why you want to work at Google (make it personal and interesting, not just some waffle about how Google is so great and innovative)
  • What you think the main threats to Google are
  • Your favourite Google product and why
  • If you were tasked with getting a client to spend more, how would you approach this?

Good Luck and see you at the Googleplex!

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