How Google Hires MBAs
Tech companies are on a hiring spree for MBAs.
Over the past five years, Amazon hired 49 MBAs from Columbia Business School alone. And Google tripled its MBA hiring rate in one year, according to a Business Insider report.
But what exactly does it take to get hired as an MBA by a company, like Google? In an exclusive story for MBA Crystal Ball, Abhinav Iyer, a class of 2019 MBA student at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business and incoming solutions consultant at Google, explains how he was able to secure both an internship and a full-time position at the tech giant.
“My internship search was not easy,” Iyer writes. “I faced a string of rejections from several companies because of my international student status and the fact that I did not have prior experience in certain functions (such as supply chain management and product management) that the companies were recruiting for. I had to do quite a bit of networking before something concrete materialized and I got my Google offer.”
Iyer attributes part of his success in securing an MBA internship at Google to the connections he was able to make.
“Even before I started the program, Career Services had connected me with an MBA alumni mentor working in the industry I wanted to work in (technology) post my MBA, as indicated in my application essays,” he writes. “The alum mentor was working with Google at the time, and he very kindly agreed to take the time to answer questions I had about the program and what to expect from the MBA program.”
Over the next few months, Iyer kept in touch with the alum, who would give him advice on everything from his internship search to even was courses he recommended him taking. Eventually, the relationship would lead to a referral.
“I would say I was fortunate enough to get this opportunity because Google is very selective about who it interviews even in the case of a referral,” Iyer says. “The role I was interviewed for required a mix of both technical skills and business knowledge, and my background and experience combined with my MBA proved to be a good fit for the role.”
The Interview Process
Google is notorious for testing applicants on their skills rather than focusing on their resume and degrees.
“The interview comprised two rounds and involved both behavioral and technical questions (including coding/programming questions, data structures and algorithms, etc.), and I was able to clear them successfully, although this required me to review computer science concepts and I had learnt in my undergrad besides focusing on behavioral questions,” Iyer says.
In an exclusive interview with P&Q, two Google insiders, Senior Vice President of People Operations Laszlo Bock and Sales Director Kyle Keogh, stress four core attributes that Google seeks in MBAs. They include:
General cognitive ability — We screen for how well people learn, how well they acquire new skills.
Leadership ability — We look for something we call emergent leadership, someone who recognizes a leadership vacuum and steps in to fill it. They have “intellectual resilience.”
Culture fit — We want everyone to have a shared sense of curiosity, humility and a desire to have an impact in the world.
Expertise — Your experience and skill in the area you are interviewing for.
Going From Intern To Full Time
Iyer says the conversion process from intern to full-time at Google takes about a month.
“After the conversion interviews, the recruiter collects feedback from the interviews as well as the stakeholders who review an intern’s work during the internship, and prepares a candidate packet for Hiring Committee, which comprises senior Googlers who have a lot of experience in interviewing and recruiting,” Iyer explains.
The Hiring Committee meets on select days in the week and makes decisions in regard to whether or not to hire an intern or not. Once the decision is made by the committee, the packet is then sent through to a number of higher-level committees for approval including: a VP/Director-level committee, a compensation committee, and an executive (SVP-level) for final approval, Iyer says.
For international applicants aspiring to work for Google, Iyer says, the best approach is to be realistic and practical.
“Do not lose faith in your abilities and put failures in perspective,” he writes. “You may face a lot of challenges and frustrations in finding an internship or job but remember not to give up!”