August 2015. 50 EMEA students, including Nora Rekus, Martinho Bragança de Miranda and I discover that we have been selected by Google to attend their Ad Camp in Dublin in September. For me, as a high-tech aficionado, it was a dream come true: the opportunity to discover the world’s biggest online company, often described as the enterprise of the future. As MMK students we couldn’t wait to see in practice how creativity rules actions and operations when it is at the centre of the business model.
Despite our enthusiasm, we still had some apprehensions regarding the atmosphere and the other participants. Will it be very competitive? Will everyone fight to get the job that we were not even sure was promised? Will we have to be fake and flatter every single employee? Will there be a contest at the end like in the movie “The Internship”?
We realised how far we were from reality no later than the icebreaker activity on the first day that consisted in a game of Bingo with facts about people instead of numbers. We had to go talk to each other in order to find out who was behind each fact, which was very entertaining and enabled us to learn so much about each other in a few minutes.
The two first days were organised the same way, balancing between:
• Seminars put together by the employees about the digital sphere and the tools Google provide to companies to take advantage and fully exploit the current digital advertising context
• Training sessions aimed to improve our business-life skills: sales pitching, presenting with confidence and team-building activities
• “Work at Google” sessions with records from current employees regarding how their everyday work is, how they perceive the Google atmosphere; along with “how to nail a Google interview” sessions and
mock interviews. That’s when we started wondering if this whole AdCamp was not just a way for the company to spot future employees.
The last day was an official competition! Divided in 5 teams of 6, we had to work for three hours on a digital marketing brief of an imaginary bank. The solution was then presented to a panel of sales executives.
This competition really made us realise how the atmosphere was nothing like we thought it would be. Friendliness, solidarity, admiration, compassion and fun were the dominant feelings along the AdCamp. We all felt like we had something to learn from each other and that we belong to the same community. That feeling was enhanced at night with the various activities organised by Google like a treasure hunt and a dinner in a typical Irish restaurant with dancers.
Finally, what really went far beyond our expectations was the life at Google. Everyone is always smiling, enjoying their work, with a lot of activities for the employees like a gym, a massage room and three restaurants with all-you can eat buffets of gourmet food. Every day at lunch time we were grouped by nationality (Western, Eastern, Northern Europe…) and someone working for the same market took us to the cafeteria so we could ask them questions about the work, their feeling about their career at Google and the environment.
To see more pictures of this fascinating experience, please click here.