By Andrew Aguilera,
Stillman News Editor
Joseph Sehwani is a senior pursuing a concentration in management and master’s degree in public administration in nonprofit management from the College of Arts and Sciences. He is originally from Staten Island, NY but moved to Sarasota, FL when he was young. He currently has a non-profit charity called “Dreamscape Foundation” that encourages the community to embrace their creativity and talents to give independence to the disabled. This past summer, Sehwani interned at Google in sales. The Stillman Exchange sat down with Sehwani to discuss his experience.
Q: What were your responsibilities as an intern?
As a small-medium business (SMB) sales intern at Google, I worked with 165 SMB advertisers to deliver advertising strategies for each business. The product that these firms were using to advertise on the Google platform was called Google Adwords. Before becoming a Google intern, I was very familiar with the Adwords system because of my charity Dreamscape Foundation. Google provides my organization with a $40,000 monthly grant to advertise my social cause on their search engine. With this grant, I had to familiarize myself with Google’s marketing tools.
My previous experience with Google marketing solutions was crucial to my progression in the SMB Sales role. My manager gave me the responsibility to be the “Search Guru” of the team because I had strong AdWords knowledge. I utilized this product knowledge when consulting my advertisers to help them expand their business.
Q: How did you go about getting the internship?
I applied online through Google’s Building Opportunities for Leadership and Development (BOLD) program page. I also connected with people who completed the internship to learn from their experience. Still, I feel that my knowledge in Google Adwords and Analytics (through my charity) helped me get an offer.
Q: What was the most valuable skill that you learned while interning?
I believe that gaining practical sales knowledge was the most valuable skill I learned at my internship. Overall, sales skills are useful in any career an individual chooses. At Google, even when meeting the director and vice president of our SMB department, I noticed they still utilized necessary sales skills because it was essential to their position. Working at Google has sharpened my sales skills in an unfamiliar environment where I worked with my team and advertisers.
Q: How was learning in a work environment different than learning in a classroom?
I feel like I learn more in a workplace than in a classroom. I have always been a “hands on” learner, so I retained a lot of the knowledge I learned from Google.
Q: What was the company culture like?
My first impression of Google’s culture was opened-mindedness. Google is a company that celebrates differences and embeds the idea of uniqueness in its employees, products, and its community.
The open-minded environment was refreshing in comparison to a New York business culture, but it still had its drawbacks.
The business-style in the tri-state is straightforward and to the point, where there is no room for error.
At a company such as Google which strives on political correctness, people were encouraged to move at their pace (instead of the fast-paced style of NYC).
Google created a community that is “comfortable” and “positive,” which inspires innovations and allows employees to feel safe. However, the way the company handled constructive feedback was very different from the tri-state.
To me, Google’s culture (at least in Mountain View) diminished any real chance to have constructive criticism. It was evident while interning there that managers and employees had a hard time giving each other “negative feedback” while upholding to a positive workplace.
Overall, Google’s culture offered a favorable “work life” balance and included me in an environment filled with intelligent individuals.
Q: What were some skills that you learned at Seton Hall that you used in your internship?
The value of an internship experience is crucial to a student’s transition into the real world. An internship makes Seton Hall classrooms’ abstract theories and taught examples concrete by placing individuals in a real-life work situation with real live co-workers performing actual tasks. This summer I had the privilege to be an intern at the tech-giant Google. The BOLD program was designed to provide exposure for students in either engineering or business. With the skills that I learned from the Stillman School of Business, I was able to excel in Google’s internship program.
Q: What advice would you give to students who are actively searching for internships?
My advice to students searching for an internship is simply to use your network and expand your options. You would be surprised at the number of the companies who are searching for an internship. So make sure to do your homework on the business and build your options while applying.
Q: What is next for you in your career?
The next step for my career and is to focus on Dreamscape Foundation once I graduate. Even though I understand that I could have the potential to work for one of the best companies in the world; I still have my passion for non-profits on my mind.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 8th print edition.
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