Navy veteran Meghan Wilkens finds camaraderie at Google
Welcome to the latest installment of “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns and alumni highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.
Today’s post is all about Meghan Wilkens, a Navy veteran who’s now a Program Manager on the Google Technical Services team (known as gTech). Meghan started her journey to Google by attending what has become Google’s Veteran Career Series, an annual career development event for the U.S. veteran community. (If you're interested in learning more about Google culture, job opportunities, and more to help your job search like Meghan did, you can register for the series here.)
You grew up in a Navy family. What was that like?
I grew up all over the world. I spent a lot of my childhood moving from country to country and experiencing different cultures. It was an amazing way to grow up, because it really opened my eyes to the world.
After graduating from Marquette University with a degree in advertising, I decided to follow my father's footsteps and enter the Navy. I commissioned as a Supply Officer and served in the Navy for nearly 10 years. It was an incredible experience and I attribute much of the person I am today to the experiences I had in the service.
As I began looking at shifting out of the military, I completed my MBA from UNC Chapel Hill and, for the first time, looked at opportunities outside of the service.
What was it like to attend the Google Student Veteran Summit?
When I attended the Google Student Veteran Summit back in 2018, the group of vets that came in to speak to us shared their stories on how they arrived at Google. The truly surprising part was how many different paths and various walks of life people came from. Being in the military full time, I knew that getting an internship at Google would be a stretch for me. But the shared experiences from the veteran panelists and the conversations I had with current vet employees inspired me. I decided I had nothing to lose and I applied anyway. Looking back, I am so very glad I did!
During my internship, I made a point to volunteer at the 2019 Google Student Veteran Summit. Being on the other side of the panel was a very different experience but no less rewarding. I am so glad to be back at Google full time and I intend to make veteran engagement a big part of my life at Google.
What’s your role at Google now?
I am currently a Program Manager on the gTech Central Functions team. I work on business planning and cost management within my team. Things have been very different in this new COVID-19 environment and, as a mother to two young children, it has been challenging at times. My team has been nothing but supportive as I manage my work and my children during their remote learning.
What inspires you at work every day?
I truly appreciate how we work to make information accessible and practical for everyone, everywhere. Coming from a mission-centric and service-driven role in the military, it is awesome to be at a company where I feel like my work is still in service to others. Being part of such a great team of people who are all working towards that same mission is really wonderful, and it creates an aspect of camaraderie that I felt during my time in the Navy.
How did the recruitment process go for you?
Once I entered the interview process, I was so nervous about not answering in the best way or not making a good impression, but I was also thrilled to be interviewing with such a cool company and with some really unique teams. My recruiters were incredibly helpful and were dedicated to finding a team that matched my skill set.
Following the MBA internship, I entered the conversion process to convert from an intern into a full time employee. That process was also exceptionally smooth and I felt the conversion team I worked with was really looking out for my best interests.
Anything you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish I had more knowledge about some of the departments and teams within Google prior to starting here. Google has so many different product offerings and the roles people have within the company vary so vastly. It is incredible to see the different projects people work on within Google.
Finally, do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
I think my biggest takeaway during this process is to not doubt myself. I didn't think I would get past the application process and, after getting interviews, I still thought I wouldn't get into the internship program. I'm so glad I had enough gusto to at least try.
I hope aspiring Googlers apply for the positions they want without doubting themselves. You have nothing to lose by applying. Go for it!