Ranked third on the Forbes: Best American Employers list, Google is one of the most recognized companies on the planet. While most know the company as a high-powered Internet search engine, many are unaware of its philanthropic arm, Google.org. Many people could only dream of working with the tech powerhouse that is Google, but graduate student Sarah Siderius, who is working toward completing her MBA in the spring of 2019, had the unique experience of working as a contractor for Google.org. Sarah believes the educational foundation laid through her undergraduate and graduate education at UIC prepared her for this fortuitous opportunity.
“I absolutely adored my undergraduate experience at UIC Business and believe it has shaped me positively in many ways, which is why I came back for my graduate work.”
Sarah, who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing in 2014, was involved in a number of student activities as an undergraduate. One of her favorite experiences was joining Delta Xi Phi multicultural sorority, where she had the opportunity to collaborate with young women from various backgrounds. She was also a member of the UIC Choir, which brings together students from various disciplines. Now, as a graduate student in the MBA program, Sarah has landed a prestigious role with Google as a contractor. She recounts how she made it happen.
“I wasn’t actively looking for a new role, but I always try to keep my resume and LinkedIn profile up to date in case an opportunity comes along.” Through LinkedIn, she was approached by a recruiter from California looking for talent. Just two months after speaking with the recruiter, she heard some exciting news.
“She called me back and told me that they were interested in interviewing me. After three phone interviews, I ended up getting the offer from them for this role. As a part of my previous role, I helped my employer establish their philanthropic program. Having this experience on my resume caught this recruiter’s eye, which ultimately led to this amazing opportunity.”
Due to company policy, Sarah cannot detail all of the aspects of her role at Google, but did specify that she is working for the Google.org team. The project she’s working on is called the Google.org Impact Challenge, which supports nonprofits in select cities, such as Pittsburgh and Oklahoma City, according to Sarah. Per the Google.org website, “Since 2005, Google.org has worked to extend the reach of nonprofit innovators and connect them with a unique blend of support that includes funding, tools, and volunteers from around Google.” Sarah enjoyed the fact that she was not only able to work for such an amazing company, but that she was able to give back through her work. The most recent project she worked on, the Google.org Impact Challenge Illinois, is now awarding $1 million in grants to Illinois nonprofits who are creating economic opportunity in the state.
As someone who has had the opportunity to work in the tech space, Sarah has gained a better understanding of how these companies operate. “A lot of companies like to hire on a project basis as opposed to a full-time basis. There are sort of two upsides to that: it benefits the employer because they get to hire the perfect talent for their projects, and it gives people like me the opportunity to work on projects that I might not have otherwise have the opportunity to work on.”
When asked what she loves most about Google, Sarah did not have a shortage of great things to say. “Google is a really amazing company that attracts some of the best and brightest in the industry. I learned so much from working with so many passionate and talented people who really believe in the work they’re doing.”
Sarah’s experiences as an undergraduate and graduate student at UIC made her feel confident that she could succeed in the business world, just like she did at Google. We asked Sarah what advice she has for students looking to pursue opportunities in the marketing field. “When I was an undergrad, I’d work with students, small businesses and nonprofits to develop their marketing plans. If you want to be successful in marketing, just go out there and start doing it. That’s the best thing you can possibly do. Those projects were what got me my first marketing job because my company saw that with limited skills and resources, I was willing to get in there and start working. So the best thing I can say is just go out there and do it.”