Time to time, universities invite giant companies to give briefing sessions to students. In such events, students get to better know about what the invited company does, what its goals are, and its job opportunities to fresh graduate students. Also, after the session, the students can interact with the company’s representatives, mostly being its full-time employees, to ask further questions and perhaps do some networking. And in this post, I would like to share one of such events that I was able to attend, to give you a brief idea about what the content of such briefing sessions are usually about.
Google’s Campus Talk at CUHK
On March 20th 2019, Google held a Campus Talk at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and I was lucky enough to have attended it. The fact that some of the presenters were CUHK graduates created an atmosphere in which the listeners and the presenters could relate to each other’s standpoints. Overall, I think that the Campus Talk aimed to provide information about Google’s, a world giant’s, working atmosphere, and the background stories of the presenters’ journey to Google. By doing so, I believe most of us in the audience came to believe that the talkers were no different than us, they were among us and that it is pure hard work that helps you climb your steps to being involved in projects of companies like Google.
Sharings from some software engineers
The event started with a Kahoot! quiz which made me wonder why Google has not bought Kahoot! yet. Perhaps in the future..? Anyways…
The first talker shared insights about how much Google values diversity and how much serving the community means to Google. I believe that one of the talkers worked at Google’s office in South Korea and he had mentioned how he never felt like he was a foreigner in the office even though the employees were mostly Korean. Although the locals in the office spoke Korean among each other, whenever he was present they included him in their chat and by switching to English. Thus clearing off the doubts whether working abroad in Google’s non-US offices would create a barrier for someone who is not familiar with the local culture or language. Instead, it provides a great opportunity to slowly help you in adapting to your surroundings and the local culture.
One of the talkers, which I found the most interesting of all, was Ellie Chio who had a very sincere narration of her story to Google. She mentioned how working in giant tech companies seemed like a dream far from reality in her undergraduate years, which many can relate. And she mentioned how every employee in Google was once not working at Google, so they were in the same position as the students in the audience. Also, she shared a story about how she had messed up in work at times, but it was in the nature of Google to accept mistakes as everyone is a human. And the most significant detail in her talk was that you needed to work hard instead of being a pure genius in order to be considered by Google.
Coding interview tips from Ellie
Ellie also mentioned how to approach Coding interviews. Some of her points were:
- Relax. Google does not expect you to come up with a perfect solution to a problem that you are encountering for the first time.
- Instead, they want to know more about your thinking process and creativity.
- Therefore, do not shut yourself but actively think aloud.
- The person conducting the interview is not there to find your mistakes and deduct points like a judge; but rather a friend that is willing to help in your questions regarding the problem.
One more thing to note in her talk was how she mentioned she worked both as a Software Engineer and played a role in some research fields Google had. So, it can be said that the employees and their tasks are pretty flexible and the employees can always do something that they have a huge interest in, instead of living an office life in which you are forced to do tasks that you have no interest in.
Q&A session with ‘GPA talk’
Lastly, there was the Q&A session which I found the funniest part. There were some interesting questions from the audience such as the number or the ratio of Asian employees that works for Google. Such questions were sometimes left unanswered. But the question that perhaps everyone in the audience wanted to ask was “How much important is GPA?”. And it was finally asked. The responses were hilarious. Ellio Chio, who was a CUHK graduate revealed her shockingly low GPA which gave hope to everyone. And she mentioned how GPA did not reflect anything at all that Google sought in a potential employee. After that, every other speaker started talking about their GPA by taking turns. And one of them, who I believe was also a CUHK graduate, told that his GPA was 3.8(?)/4.00 and followed by saying “But, GPA is not important”. Then the whole audience burst into laughter.
Written by: Huzeyfe K. 🇹🇷
A 3rd-year Anthropology student at The Chinese University of Hong Kong