Our ‘Diary of an MBA Intern’ series is designed to give you an inside look into the life of Google interns based all over Europe. Today, the spotlight is on Michael Conn from Australia, who is an MBA intern with GAGA (Global Accounts, Global Agency) in Google London.
An MBA perspective: It’s easy to be a sheep when applying for internships
Now over halfway through my MBA at London Business School (LBS), this is my story on why I didn’t even apply for a consulting role for my summer internship (despite my previous interests), and why I’m so excited to be interning at Google.
For over five years I worked as a marketer managing brands and project managing campaigns, events and product launches for some leading companies and startups in Australia. For years I was adamant that I wanted to change into management consulting.
So in August 2012 when I started my MBA at LBS, it was clear that management consulting was for me – it all made sense! With the diversity of projects consulting offers, I thought this would be a great way to solidify my MBA skills, develop a broad range of business experiences, and fast track my career due to the large range and scope of these experiences. And you still need to consider the the exit options one would have a few years down the road.
It was easy to be a sheep too. Although approximately a third of LBS graduates go into consulting (which includes sponsored students), around 40% of all students applied for summer consulting internships. In fact, it wasn’t until 2012 when Google became the most applied to MBA internship programme at LBS, surpassing recruiting heavyweight consultancies BCG and McKinsey.
But then the mind battle began.
As part of my self-assessment when I started my MBA, I collected 360 degree feedback from my previous work colleagues, undertook personality tests, and did lots of self-reflection. During this time I learnt that I prefer to be set in a long term role and focus on specialising my experiences. This is opposed to the typical consultancy environment with short term projects and jumping from one type of problem to another. I like to learn the in’s and out’s of a company, which only comes with time, and to really get my teeth into a challenge and see it through to completion.
For years I had tried to break into the consulting industry and further discussions with my consulting MBA peers were re-affirming the contrast with my self-assessment. So what was the ideal career for me?
During all of this, I had been on technology treks with LBS to Dublin and the Silicon Valley where we met business leaders at Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Zynga just to name a few. The insights I gained on these trips demonstrated just how fast the technology industry is growing which truly whets my appetite with the opportunities presented.
After nearly eight months of my MBA, it was crunch time – summer internship applications were due. Although I cannot argue that consulting can be a great career path, I was forced to ask myself “Is it the best path for me?” I chose to go with my gut and ignore the consulting opportunities all my friends were applying to, despite my previous affiliations. I focused on knowing the in’s and out’s of the technology industry, meeting as many people as I could in related roles. After a few nerve wrecking months, ultimately it paid off.
Now that I’ve been interning with Google for over six weeks, I couldn’t be happier. True to its reputation, Google is fast paced and full of passionate and intellectual people AND you get weekly insights into some of the amazing projects Larry and Sergey are leading. My team is truly global with video conference calls happening a few times a week with team members from San Fran, Thailand, and all around Europe. The projects I have been a part of have real business impact including:
- Predicting smartphone sales according to media spend and timing which helps improve our understanding of online’s role on our client’s sales
- Improving conversion rates of the digital check out process for our global tech clients
- Redesigning our internal communication structure within the team and other teams globally.
I’m really excited to help execute them.
As a consulting friend of mine said, in her role she was “Always the bridesmaid and never the bride”. Here I am six weeks in and already having an impact on Google’s bottom line..
Although the fast pace and innovative nature of Google could be confused for the constant change that occurs with project work in major consultancies, there is a difference. I’ve heard how management consultancies take great pride in making you part of the team, it can be hard as ultimately there are two teams – the consultancy and the client. At Google there is no confusion. You are part of team Google and from day one your co-workers are your friends, and it is these tech passionate and intellectually driven people that really make me so excited to be interning here and glad with the decisions I made.
|First day on the job, and loving it!|
Michael Conn is from Melbourne, Australia, works in the Global Top Accounts – Tech team in the London, United Kingdom office and is an MBA2014 at London Business School. His previous work experience includes working with Clemenger BBDO as an Account Executive, managing his own marketing consultancy, and was a marketing coordinator and brand manager for Deloitte, Australia. When not cooking and having friends around for dinner and cards, he enjoys learning local customs whilst flying around Europe and getting involved in various TEDx conferences.
Interested in becoming a Google intern? Fill out this form for further info on the 2014 Google Summer internship programme in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Please note: This is a speculative application. You will be contacted once the application process for next year’s programme goes live.
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Posted by Corrina Kavanaugh, University Programs EMEA Team