Experiencing Google B.O.L.D. Immersion Programme

by Sam Ames
BSc Computing and Information Technology Level 2, 2011-12

Prior to starting my second year of BSc Computing and Information Technology, I was very grateful to receive one of twenty invitations to visit the Google UK offices, Victoria Street, London, and participate in the very first U.K. Google B.O.L.D. Immersion programme: “Building Opportunities for Leadership and Development” As expected, Google received an astonishing number of applications.

The programme has a business focus with a marketing challenge, however several engineering lectures are included too, which is fantastic for computing students. BOLD is available to any UK student who can convince them that they are from a ‘diverse background’ (which could include just about anybody.) For the application process, google request a five-hundred-word essay in which the applicant is to describe his or her ‘personal brand’. This is accompanied by a CV.

The culture at Google is probably the most fascinating part of the organization. When I first arrived at the London offices, a member of the universities team told me that the single best thing about working at Google is the people. After being immersed in the culture for a few exciting days, I totally agree! I didn’t meet a single rude, impolite, unhelpful or unkind person. At all. Nobody seemed stressed, either! Perhaps Google’s decor contributes to this? Breakfast in their Pavilion Cafe, is served on art-pallet style plates. The tables look like those an artist would use and the lighting is like desk lamps attached to the ceiling. It doesn’t end there, though, these themed, super-contemporary decor designs span the entire office spaces of Google, and its many restaurants and games rooms. My group were lectured on innovation, and we were told that ‘environment’ is a key factor; so I can’t be sure, but I suspect that the decor is such high-quality for this reason.

On the final day of my time at Google, the group was separated into several smaller groups of 5. We were then given 3 hours to innovate and decide what the most effective use of £50,000 is, to market Google apps to Small and Medium businesses in an industry of our choice. The group that I was a part of, chose ‘quangos’.  After our three hours was up we were asked to present our Marketing initiatives to Google’s John Foong (Head of Mid-Market Business Development and Sales, Enterprise (cloud computing) division, Europe, Middle East and Africa.) Understandably, this was very challenging. I think everybody who presented did fantastically. In addition I was shocked at how great Google apps and plus actually are; I’d never used either prior to B.O.L.D.

One particular person I met has been recruiting Google’s engineers for 11-years, since working for Netscape during the ‘browser wars’ of the late 90s. I had no idea that I would ever meet people with such inspiring career positions, so this was a total honor.

B.O.L.D. programmes are becoming frequent, so regardless of your degree programme and current grades, make sure to write a stunning application.

[For the full version of this blog, visit http://www.samames.net/articles/google.php]