“I think that the secret sauce is knowing the right people, having a great story of personal development, and identifying how you’d fit in at the company”.
Graduation brings joy, enthusiasm, celebration, and the end of one of the most important and formative journeys of our lives. It also marks the first step into a new world of responsibilities, growth, and challenges.
This is the time in which students put all of their energy into fulfilling their ambitions and dreams: whether it be starting their own business, working in a foreign country, or starting at a multinational company. Despite having various objectives, students across the board have one thing in common: they’re seeking experience.
IE University makes a continuous effort to offer students the opportunity to nurture their ambitions with an impressive selection of internships during their university years, as well as to help recent graduates find jobs. This ocean of resources available at Career Services is in large part thanks to the relationship IEU has formed with prestigious companies, including Deloitte, J. P. Morgan, Nestle, KPMG, and LVMH, to name a few.
In recent years, Google has been a top recruiter of IEU students. During the previous academic year, at least three students managed to land internship positions, and two graduates of the class of 2017 have been offered full-time jobs, in Europe and in the United States.
Sai Agni, a soon-to-be 5th-year Dual Degree in Business Administration and Laws student, is just the latest example of an IEU student securing a magnificent opportunity at Google in their summer internship program.
We had the chance to meet with Sai to talk about what it takes to be accepted, what the admission process is like, and what he believes this experience will mean.
Working for Google is certainly a dream for many. How are you feeling about this new adventure?
Like every adventure, it certainly isn’t clear what the way forward is… nor is it clear where it will lead me. I tried to honestly answer to myself: why am I at Google and what do I want to accomplish? Besides the interview—in which case I had a good pitch—I’m not completely sure. I was supposed to work in a PE fund this summer, and when I got the offer, it came as a surprise. My boss at the time said that I simply cannot miss an opportunity like this and I agreed. In short, I was longing to do something meaningful with amazing people who value their work. I think the next few months will be dedicated to figuring out how I can leverage my skills to add value most effectively.
Getting hired at a multinational corporation like Google can be a real challenge. Can you explain what the hiring process is like? What were the challenges you encountered along the way?
Getting into Google felt like a practical joke. I never imagined I would have the chance to work here. Every year for the past four years I would apply and get rejected. This one time it seemed to work out. I think that the secret sauce is knowing the right people, having a great story of personal development, and identifying how you’d fit in at the company. Everything else is up to chance and preparation.
What is your current position at Google? What are your tasks and objectives for the next months?
I am a business intern working in the new business sales department. The main job of this division is to acquire new customers and grow them into successful businesses—a certain consultative sales focus. In my case, I don’t really sell to clients and mostly work on strategic aspects of identifying high potential areas and streamlining lead generation. I prefer not to get into the finer details of my tasks (I’m not sure if I can).
Generally speaking, I am working on new cool ways to identify client segments and their growth. On top of this (and in line with Google’s current strategy) automation and machine learning is at the heart of everything… The problem is that someone has to teach the machine how to learn. But before this, someone has to figure out what that someone is looking for in the market.
Do you have any expectations regarding this internship? What are you looking forward to learning?
I would like to learn more about the company at large and its internal initiatives. I get a sense of this while I’m on the job by observing the brilliant people I work with and how they impact the industry across many verticals. Picking their brains, taking on the same problems they do, and finding solutions alongside them: that’s the most valuable experience for me.
More so, we are often encouraged to step out of our department and see how other areas of the business are working. This gives you a good sense of what you may do at later stages in your career development. This also gives you the opportunity to add value by having a fresh perspective. What I love about Google is that even small ideas matter and they can snowball into large projects. So right now, I am solidifying and expressing the few ideas I have.
Do you have any tips or advice you can give to other students who aspire to work for other big multinational corporations?
Be different… Diversity is a cornerstone of Google’s culture. Try to do things your way and apply these approaches—that your peers do not have in common—across your career and in life. My focus was finance and start-ups but it evolved into a particular fascination for fintech and cryptocurrencies.
The question there is what makes you interested in something. If you aren’t sure yet, that’s a good thing. This leads me to be curious to learn. Try out new things and don’t be afraid to fail. This really relates to my powerlifting career and my start-up failures and successes. Be proactive: reach out to people you know within the company or community. This step can teach you more about the company, get you referred, or completely change your mind.
*) A note on making choices.
I met quite a few people that say they have aspirations, but often times they are more like wishes. I know a lot of people who say they want to be an investment banker, or a consultant, or an entrepreneur. The reality is that about 10-20% of these people really know about the field or have taken proactive steps in this particular direction. Your development has to have a clear progression. In my mind, this is a good and clear story. Work hard to craft this story. There are always people who’ll listen.
If you have ambition, anything is possible. The secret is to work hard, show dedication, and fight to overcome every challenge. Sai Agni is the proof that every dream or ambition can become tangible—even working for a multinational corporation. The secret is to follow your dreams and never give up!