This summer, student Andrew Aguilera spent four days in Mountain View, Cali. attending Google’s Building Opportunities for Leadership and Development (BOLD) Immersion program.
He was one of 70 students across the country to receive the opportunity to see firsthand how a universally known company like Google operates.
According to their website, the program gives students the opportunity to engage themselves in a culture where great minds, cutting-edge technology and smart business intersect to make a difference.
Aguilera is an accounting and information technology major and is hoping to receive a certificate in business analytics.
Discovering the world of Google allowed him to explore a wider range of career opportunities. Aguilera said that as an accounting major exploring the tech side of Google let him see all of his options.
Aguilera is used to the formal accounting and business environment, while the environment at Google was more casual than he expected.
“I was there wearing a polo and khakis and I felt overdressed,” he said.
Sophia Joseph, who graduated last spring, also took part in the BOLD Immersion program in her junior year.
“The program was a good supplement to the things I was learning,” she said. “It allowed me to see the world more creatively and expand my thought process.”
Aguilera was interested in exploring the technology side of Google, something ultimately different than the future he envisioned with accounting.
“That’s what I was looking at when I was trying to evaluate if [Google] was the right place for me,” Aguilera said.
The question he was determined to answer after the program was whether he saw himself working at Google in the future or working in a public accounting firm.
The first time Aguilera applied to a Google program was summer 2015 in which he did not receive an invitation for BOLD Discovery for rising sophomores. He believes the essay question which he had to cut down to the 250-word requirement might have been his demise.
“It seemed like I cut it so much that I lost the value in it,” he said.
Aguilera was not discouraged to apply again the next year for rising juniors, this time even more
determined and prepared.
“As soon as they opened I was already looking at the questions and deciding what I was going to write,” he said.
From Aug. 14 to 18, Aguilera, along with the other students, stayed at a hotel in Sunnyvale, Cali. Throughout the conference he traveled to Mountain View, or Google’s office in San Francisco.
One of the first things Aguilera remembers was being introduced to micro kitchens and small snack stations available in every room.
From all the inspiring speakers that presented throughout the program, two stuck out to Aguilera the most. Tanya Choudhury, specialist, MBA and Industry Programs and Gopi Kallayil, chief evangelist, Brand Marketing at Google.
“They really opened my mind to the culture at Google,” he said.
He learned about Google’s mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” he said.
During the session with Kallayil, he was introduced to some of Google’s projects, such as the self-driving car and cardboard virtual reality.
Throughout the program he was also able to shadow a “Googler” in his typical work day. Aguilera stressed the culture at Google as something many may not expect. Google headquarters may be thought of as a fun, laid-back environment, but in fact they are as effective as they are efficient.
“There is a thought process behind everything,” Aguilera said.
Google cares about every aspect of the workplace environment, including air quality, the perfect amount of sunlight and more.
“There is so much research behind little things you wouldn’t think of,” he added.
In the beginning, Aguilera thought it might be hard to make friends and get acquainted, but on the last day he said all 70 students went to the hotel pool for some unwinding and had a great time with each other.
“At that point I knew pretty much every single person, which was really cool. You develop a nice bond,” Aguilera said.
Aguilera is extremely grateful for the experience at Google and has written on the school website that the program “served as an excellent introduction into Google’s culture, mission, and career opportunities.”
After the program, he said that the competitive opportunities in accounting that he yearned for were still out there. He decided to sign with a public accounting firm shortly after thanks to his time at Google.
Aguilera was able to gain experience while still in college in a challenging accounting environment that provided a rigorous business understanding.
“I think at the end of the day I want to go where I feel is the best fit for me,” he said.
Macarena Solis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.