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Students ‘hangout’ with alumni at Google

By Daniel DeVries on November 19, 2012
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Four Colgate alumni told students recently that a liberal arts education gave them the skills to work at Google, one of the most coveted employers on the planet.

While some may assume all Google employees are computer science experts, alumni working on the business and sales side say they were able to land their jobs with help of a liberal arts education.

“We have no technical background. We have no computer science background,” said Debra LoCastro ‘05, who is university programs manager at Google. “We represent the 20 percent of employees that work on the business side.”

LoCastro and fellow alumni in the New York office — Jim Habig ‘06, David Perry ‘99, and Lisa Stern ‘06 — talked with about 40 current students via a Google Hangout session at Colgate’s Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology, Nov 13. The hangout platform allowed students to ask questions of the graduates, and facilitated participation by a student and an alumna currently in Japan.

Chip Schroeder, associate director for employer relations for Colgate’s Center for Career Services, helped put on the event, with assistance from Viktor Mak ‘15, who has been serving as a Google ambassador since last summer.

“There are great opportunities for students at Google, and on their business side they are looking for good candidates that are good problem solvers, and are innovative and creative,” Schroeder said.

Perry, who is in advertising sales at Google, said that playing lacrosse at Colgate gave him a strong sense of teamwork that is effective in the workplace.

“In order to make things happen you have to push each other,” Perry said. “A liberal arts education is about learning how to learn, and achieving high standards.”

Stern said her experience at Colgate has translated well to her position in Google’s human resources department, which the company calls, “people operations.”

“I use my writing skills I learned at Colgate, but the most important thing I learned was how to be autonomous, how to be innovative,” Stern said.

For Sophie Salzman ‘14, attending the networking event was eye opening. She took away good advice that can be applied to any career hunt.

“I think this was applicable, not just to Google, but for seeing how what you do outside the classroom helps build career skills,” Salzman said.

For more information about Google internships and job opportunities, visit www.google.com/students

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