Google Business Systems Analyst
Pauline Seng '08 Economics & Business Majors
Life at Google
CES: What are your duties and responsibilities as a Business Systems Analyst for Google?
PS: When you order something off the Internet, there's a complex system that manages your credit card information for billing, product shipment, order tracking information, and delivery confirmation. I work on the team that manages these systems for Google Enterprise products. Currently, I manage the order management system for Google Postini Services. I mainly work on enhancements projects that can span over weeks or even months. I gather business requirements from our system users and then I create a functional specs document to give to the development team. Once development is complete, I spend time testing to make sure that the business requirements are met.
And, as with any typical IT job, there's always some daily troubleshooting that you have to do. This may be cliché, but I spend a majority of my time working with people to come up with the best solutions to solve problems.
I love that my job requires both business and technical analysis. Good communication skills are also really important.
CES: What’s it like to work at Google?
PS: Google culture is very similar to college culture. I have a lot of flexibility with my schedule which allows for an excellent work/life balance.
My favorite part about working at Google is all of the free food! There are over 20 gourmet cafes that serve breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the Mountain View, CA campus. There are also microkitchens stocked with snacks and drinks on every floor of every building. You know the Freshman 15? We call it the Google 15. Google even provides gyms, workout classes, dance classes, and organized sports for you to work off those gained pounds.
I think that Googlers would agree that at the end of the day what matters most is that you're continually learning and contributing. It's not hard to do when you are surrounded by tons of bright people who all have different backgrounds and have so much to share. It's an amazing environment for knowledge. I would say that working here has been like getting paid to go to school!
CES: How did you break into your career?
PS: My first job out of college really opened doors for me.
During spring semester of my senior year, I decided to use connections that I had made during my Boeing internship to find a full-time job at Boeing.
The first interview that came across was for an analyst position for Boeing estimating systems. This seemed like a long shot to me since I didn't have a technical background and didn't know much about databases. I was surprised to receive an offer hours after my first interview. The management team explained that they were impressed with the leadership positions I had held and all the community service work I had done.
I didn't take this opportunity for granted. I learned as much as I could from the people around me and the resources that I had. My enthusiasm helped me excel at what I was doing. Unfortunately, it wasn't the challenge I was looking for.
In 2009, during the recession, I was relocated to work as a program estimator on the 787 program. My co-workers congratulated me on this great career opportunity. I made the most out of this new job. I gained experience working in a fast-paced environment with ridiculous deadlines and I learned how to deal with difficult people in a professional setting. These kinds of challenges taught me to come up with creative solutions. But at the end of the day, I went home dissatisfied because I missed the technical aspect of my first job.
CES: How did your time at Boeing impact your career path?
PS: I was really unsure about the career path I wanted to pursue at first.
I've always loved technology and finance but I had convinced myself that a tech career was out of reach because my resume lacked technical experiences. I have now learned that nothing is ever out of reach.
Boeing was a great starting point for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my internship and made the most out of my full-time jobs.
I had already started pondering about other job opportunities a few months into my first job even though we were in the middle of a recession. I always knew that the standard corporate culture wasn't a good fit for me and these first two jobs helped me determine aspects that I like and dislike in a job.
With all of this in mind, I decided to take up my friend's offer on a Google referral. Google's interview process is quite unconventional so it was difficult to prepare. I just went in being myself and did the best I could. I went through 3 rounds and 6 interviews. In the end, I felt like Google was a great match for me and they felt that I had a lot of potential for an open junior systems analyst position.
After a few months into the new job, I realized how much I loved what I was doing. It was especially enjoyable to work in an environment like Google's. It dawned on me then that this was going to be my career.
CES: What do you wish you had done or known during college that might have been beneficial to your career development?
PS: I wish that I had done a better job networking while I was in college so that I could have a more solid network of connections.
I received many lectures from professors (especially the BLP ones) and parents about how important networking is, but I never really took them seriously. I definitely have learned my lesson now. Every job that I've had since graduating was through a referral from a friend or an old colleague. You never know who else these connections can connect you to!
CES: What advice do you have for students considering a career in this field?
PS: I can't emphasize enough how important communication skills are if you want to be successful...and this is not just in the IT field. There are so many communication methods today and not everyone is comfortable with the same communication method. You will have to spend time phoning, presenting, emailing, IM'ing, and possibly even texting your ideas and thoughts to different colleagues. Working on these skills early will give you an edge over other candidates.
Do your research! Figure out what classes you should be taking. Use your connections to do informational interviews so that you can get a peek into what it would be like to work in that industry. Look for a summer internship so that you can get a jump start and test out the waters. Also, don't be afraid to ask your professors for advice. They always gave me good insight and suggestions.
CES: What advice do you have for how to stand out in a pool of job applicants?
PS: When I am reading resumes and doing interviews for junior analyst positions, I look for a candidate's ability to communicate effectively. A well-written cover letter can really make you stand out because you can display your excellent writing skills here.
Another tip is to personalize your cover letter specifically for the company and job you are applying for. This shows that you've done your research and that you are genuinely interested in working for that company.
Sometimes the best work that you've done isn't necessarily work related. Maybe you did something stellar through an on campus organization or participated in a cool community project that you are really proud of. Don't be afraid to mention these experiences! This shows that you have some personality and can make you memorable as a candidate.
The best advice I can give is to be yourself. If you go in with this mind set, you will be more comfortable and relaxed during an interview. It will more accurately help the company assess whether or not you are a good fit and it will also help you assess whether or not this company is a good place for you. Good luck!