What I Learned In My Internship At Google

Role: Campaign Manager, Global Campaign Services

Location: Gurgaon, India

Getting a summer internship at Google, one of the most coveted companies in the world was nothing less than a dream come true.

I got selected for the internship through summer placements at our campus, the selection process comprised of profile based shortlisting, followed by two rounds of interviews.

Google is famous for its open culture, quality food, and the perks provided to its employees, and my experience is a testimony to all the benefits that we have read/heard about Google.

This article is a humble attempt to capture my learnings from functional (work related) and behavioural aspects of the internship.

 

Functional Aspects

1. Spend time in sharpening your axe (Pre-Internship Phase)    

As part of the preparation for this internship during the first year, I spent time reading about Google’s Ads business and to understand the nuances of implementation on Adwords, I took up a live project of running a remarketing campaign on YouTube for an educational start-up.

This preparation helped me quickly grasp the context of my project during the internship, enabling me to relate to the business problems and participate in team discussions effortlessly.

2.  Consistency –  Collaboration – Critics to sail through tough times!

        a. Consistency (Fail Fast!)

        There were times when I didn’t have a clear idea of the way forward. One thing that kept me going was continuous progress, sometimes I digressed, but that always resulted in learning, and provided me with new avenues and different dimensions that I could add to my project.

I believe in the principle of failing fast (or rapid prototyping), it has helped me in times of uncertainty and enabled me to deal with ambiguous and complex situations.

        b. Collaboration (When you need to innovate, you need to collaborate)

        One of the highlights of my project was that I managed to work with every team member (in a team of 14). In this short span of time, I tried to ensure simultaneous consumption of my work by the teammates. At times, it required a little extra work from my end, but working along with team members, opened the doors to crucial inputs that helped in improving the deliverables, as they were being consumed parallelly by our larger team and clients.

 

        c. Critics (Feedback is the breakfast of champions)

While seeking continuous feedback from my mentors, ensured that I stay on the right track of my project. I also solicited feedback from Googlers of different business divisions/verticals, and those critical sessions helped me in getting a zoomed-out view of the project and its interconnections and potential for generating value for other business divisions.

3. Miscellaneous

        a. User first 

      One of the critical things that I have imbibed in myself from this internship is to always think in terms of  ‘End User’ while solving any problem. I found drastic changes in my approach and the final outcome, when I started questioning my deliverables from the users perspective! No wonder, all the Google’s products are highly user-friendly.

     b. Simplicity – Scalability – Socialization are critical for Sustainability of the project

       As the project was taking shape, my mentors mentioned about creating a scalable solution, which is simple to understand and easy to replicate for all others. I can’t thank them enough for this advice, as later, developing a scalable solution formed a critical piece in my project work.

       Another important feedback that I received from my cross-functional mentor was to ensure socialization of the project within the team, so that the work gets consumed and creates value for the organization, even after completion of the internship.

Thus, a simple, scalable solution, well socialized (evangelized) formed a complete package for my project.

 

c. Narrative is critical

      Delivering value through the project work is just one piece of this internship puzzle. To get the complete puzzle in place, effective delivery of the message is imperative, and storytelling is the key to set that straight.

A lot of focus and guidance was put-in by my seniors to ensure that I develop a great narrative for my project, which resonates with the senior leadership team. After, ‘User-First’, I believe this is the second most important learning from my internship.

Behavioural Aspects

    1. Value people

    The foundation of Google’s culture is based on valuing people and their well-being in all aspects of life. From my experience, everything that Google does for its employees revolves around having happy, healthy and heartful people.

    During my short stint of 8 weeks as an intern, I received all the facilities equivalent to a full-time employee, sometimes a little extra (Google Schwags) 😉 😀

 I could observe the saying, “If you value people, they will do wonders for you” in practice.

 

Google Goodies and gifts from the team

 2.  Humility is at the core of Google’s culture

         “Shobhit, we will do collaborative learning, you help us with this, we will teach you business!”    – A Senior Googler on 2nd of the internship

    I wondered, how can I help anyone at Google, esp. when it is coming from a senior! But, I guess this was a lesson for me on humility, just at the start of the internship!

    On our first day, we were told about the values of Google, and how humility is something which runs through everyone’s nerve. I saw it in practice on the second day itself!

    3. Value Experiences

   Google truly nurtured us (interns) not just with the internship learnings but also by ensuring that our time beyond office was equally memorable.

  One of the best parts of our internship was when we travelled to Hyderabad office for training and all India interns offsite. A full day fun outing at a famous resort in Hyderabad coupled with outbound activities helped us bond with all other interns.

A big thanks to the people-operations team of Google, who made sure that our stay with the company becomes one of the best times of our lives!

Ending Note:

The two months of internship have not only taught me the critical aspects of business but have also changed me as a person to a greater extent, and I will embrace these learnings throughout my career.

My key takeaways – 

User First – Doing the right thing – Being Humble!

Bonus Experience:

Parents Visit to Gurgaon Office

My internship experience would be incomplete without a thanking note to all the people who were part of this small yet a crucial part of my life!

 

A heartfelt thanks to – 

My manager, buddy, teammates, fellow interns, all the old and new friends at Google, people-ops team, and everyone else whom I have met during this time! Hope our paths cross again!

Shobhit Khandelwal

Shobhit is a PGDM (Marketing) student at IMT Ghaziabad from the batch of 2017-19, has worked with Mu Sigma for 3 years and interned at Google.

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