An Internship of Innovation
Pink lawn flamingos, colorful bikes and umbrellas, and a giant T-Rex skeleton. This is the scene Zachary Newman (Carnegie Mellon University, 2017) stumbled into during the first day of his summer internship at the mecca of technological imagination and innovation. It is a company whose ubiquitous, multi-colored logo is stamped everywhere on the Dr. Seuss-inspired campus, and whose name is now recognized by Merriam-Webster as not only a noun, but a verb. Newman spent his summer months as an intern at the mother of all internet titans—Google.
Less than four percent of the 40,000 applicants received by Google are accepted into the prestigious internship program in Mount View, Calif., but Newman made the cut after three rounds of highly-technical phone interviews. While tactical knowledge of software and coding are required, an imaginative way of thinking is critical to acing a Google interview. “The answer is much less important than the process,” explained Newman. "The key is always say what you are thinking, even if it is wrong, and ask lots of question.”
Actually, two members of the Delta Beta Chapter defied the odds and joined the ranks of the 1,500 annual interns; Ben Zhang also donned the Google cap and roomed with Newman for the summer months.
According to Newman, he knew where he wanted to make his mark on the world long before he knew how he would make it. “As a kid, I spent way too much time on Google Earth looking at satellite images of what the world looks like,” explained Newman. “I wanted to build products that would bring the world together.”
That dreamer mentality coupled with lofty ambitions made him a model candidate for the Google software engineering internship, where he did much more than fetch Starbucks and make copies. Newman worked alongside accomplished engineers and visionaries, all of whom never lost their lust for learning.
“The people at Google are really life-long leaners, so there is always the opportunity to take classes taught by employees to learn new skills for down the road,” said Newman. The company’s “work hard, play hard” culture hinges on self-improvement and an atmosphere of intellectual evolution. “Good enough” will never be uttered in the halls of Google, and perfection is an unknowable achievement, as improvement is fundamental to the company’s vitality and mission. This is a concept Newman will take back to his own chapter as the director of recruitment and development.
“Google is always innovating and working on the next three iterations on each project at the same time,” said Newman. “We need to bring that proactive nature to our chapter to achieve excellence.”