NUS BBA 20 March 2018

Learning outside the classroom at Google’s office

Associate Professor Ang Swee Hoon recently brought 40 NUS BBA Year 1 Marketing students to visit Google Singapore’s office. Not only did everyone enjoy a tour of Google’s facilities, but were also treated to an enriching discussion with the Googlers who spent time sharing on the company’s marketing strategies and recruitment policies.

Assoc Prof Ang recounts the session with Outside-in.

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Google’s offices around the world have attracted much envy with many office workers. Food, games room, and a free massage? Those are not the only available facilities that visitors “ohh and ahh” over when visiting the Google office. Yes, Google has an employee welfare plan that many would be envious of. But there is so much more that goes on behind-the-scenes.

Three Googlers hosted us – Danny, Tra (who is also a NUS BBA alum from the class of 2016) and Ronnie where they each took a smaller group of students to do a mini walkabout.

NUS BBA alumna Tra Nguyen (Class of 2016) and now Googler, explains the concept of Tilt, a 3-D headset, that allows one to paint virtually

The hosts explained Google’s no-fixed office space; where the office space is designed to encourage interaction across departments for collaborations. Comfy seats with cushions are everywhere, and so are power point outlets so that discussions or independent work are encouraged.

Carmen Sim who went on the visit said, “The Google visit allowed me to have first-hand experience of what corporate environments are like. Google, for instance, gave me fresh insights on how it encourages interdepartmental collaborations through the design of its workplace.”

Another student, Gaya Sivaraj said,  “There is a great emphasis placed on the spirit of community as Google believes that helps to kick-start conversations and inspire ideas.”

What is collaboration without food? There are mini food stations stocked with cold and hot beverages, as well as snacks are located throughout the office. In fact, to promote a more healthy lifestyle, healthy snacks are placed at accessible eye-level shelves, whereas slightly less  healthy snacks are placed in lower drawers.

Students checking a Google breakout room that can easily partitioned into smaller or bigger rooms

“There’s a lot of design thinking that went into the work environment in Google – from the placements of the various cafeterias and bars, to the simple things like the themes of the floors. While it seems enticing to a lay person like me, I wonder how much of it matters to employees,” commented Raymon Goh.

But food in the Google office isn’t just purely for employee welfare. Urban legend has it that the idea of Gmail came about over lunch between a Google sales rep and his client. As they say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Encouraging conversations over meals seems to have its benefits, at least for Google.

Students finding out who the various competitors Google face for each of their products

The informal chit-chats the students had with their Google hosts were very fruitful. Ronnie, an Analytical Lead, shared what his job scope really entailed and how he is able to apply what he learnt from his alma mater to his job. He also stressed the important relationship between data analytics and marketing.

Tra, who manages partnerships, advised her juniors to be adventurous and try out anything and everything. She shared how she stumbled upon digital marketing during her internship with a digital company. And that got her thinking about how to add on to that experience with her other internships and modules she pursued in school.

Despite just spending over an hour in the Google office, it was definitely an afternoon well spent.

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