Google Intern Insights 2014 – Meet Michael Valdez
Our interns have the opportunity to work on some of Google’s most cutting edge and innovative projects – not only in engineering, but across sales and other business functions, bringing a fresh perspective to the work done at Google. To show you just how much of an impact interns make and to highlight their unique experiences, we’re bringing you a special blog series: Google Intern Insights. Make sure to look out for the different interns being featured on the blog throughout the summer!
Tell us one fun, outlandish fact about you!
I can tie a necktie in 12 different ways!
What inspired you to apply for this internship, and what made Google appealing to you as a potential intern?
In the summer of 2012, I attended Google BOLD Immersion in Mountain View, California. I applied to Immersion on a whim, to be honest, and thought that Google sounded like an awesome place to work. After my experience at Immersion, I knew that my hunch was spot on. I applied for, and participated in, my first BOLD Internship for the summer of 2013. I am now a returning BOLD intern for the summer of 2014, and I can absolutely say that I’ve had the best three summers of my life since getting involved with this company.
I think the thing that primarily drew me to Google in the first place was the emerging technology. I always imagined myself on the bleeding edge of what’s possible, and no company embodies this as much as Google. From self-driving cars to computers in our glasses, Google has continually changed the landscape of technology for the last 15 years, and I always wanted to be a part of that innovation.
Michael at BOLD Immersion 2012
What team are you working on at Google? Can you provide us with a high-level description of your summer project?
I’m working with Product Quality Operations (PQO). That’s a long way of saying that we help protect Google products from spam and hacking.
Personally, I’ve been working on a document for PQO analysts that answers common questions on what to do when handling Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Google takes its users’ data very seriously, and as such, many analysts are limited in what data they can draw regarding suspicious accounts. It’s been my job to interview analysts and find out the issues and questions that they have, and then consult with the Privacy Working Group to make sure they are given comprehensive answers.
What’s the best part about working with your manager? What about your team?
The best part about working with my manager is that she’s always ready to give me advice and feedback about how I can do better and grow as an employee and as a person. Whenever I go into my one-on-one meetings with her, I’ll typically ask for feedback and try to find ways to make my workflow more efficient and effective for the team. She’s provided words of wisdom on many different subjects at Google, from how to make a slide deck look great to handling tough questions during a presentation.
So far this summer, my team has been a great resource for mentorship in different areas of Google. They’ve advised me on interesting things to do at the company (such as professional development and enhancement courses), and I always enjoy eating lunch with them.
We all know Googlers and interns love the food and the other benefits. Outside of some of the well-known perks, what’s your favorite part about working at Google?
I love the diversity of career options. I’ve been in contact with many employees here over the past two summers, and what I’ve learned more than anything else is that people at Google aren’t afraid to try something different. Whether it’s taking on a side project you don’t know much about or making a career change and shifting to another team, another department or another part of the globe, Googlers overwhelmingly seem to jump in feet first and are eager to learn and grow in new areas.
What’s something you’ve accomplished during your internship (thus far) that you’re most proud of? Or something you’re looking forward to working on?
My favorite project to work on so far this summer is actually quite different from my main project. Basically, I saw that a budget dashboard was in disrepair and asked my manager if I could work on it. With her support, I proceeded to work steadily on the dashboard and I hope to have it fully functional before I leave this summer.
What does “being Googley” mean to you?
Googleyness is the optimism and innovative spirit to take any problem in the world and break it down in such a way that it becomes solvable. The people here are both brilliant and driven, and that’s why Google is able to tackle such giant challenges as a company. Someone who is Googley is great with collaborating with others in pursuit of solutions to complex issues.
If you could give one piece of advice to potential student applicants, what would it be?
Just be yourself. There are tons of books you can read on interviews and advice on forums about essay writing, resume building and marketing yourself, but at the end of the day, nothing beats being honest with a recruiter about who you are and where you want to go.
Dream Google office to visit?
Sydney. Because of the beaches. And the opera houses!
Best meal at Google so far?
Cafe Moma’s legendary Applewood Smoked Bacon on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Seriously, I don’t even work in that building and I still make it a point to visit Cafe Moma twice a week.
Best intern event you’ve attended?
This one actually took place last year. Google interns were invited to the premier of The Internship at Kabuki Theatre and afterwards Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn showed up. It was epic!
Posted by Maggie Hohlfeld, University Programs Team