Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about 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 Belle Sun, one of the Googlers behind the packaging design for Google products. Belle deep dives into her role and shares how her career has taken her from Shanghai to the U.S. and from working on baby products to high tech.
What’s your role at Google?
As a Packaging Engineering Program Manager I facilitate Google consumer products packaging design — from engineering to manufacturing. We design packaging that not only protects the product, but also provides the best experience for people as packaging is the first interaction our customers have with a product. No matter how challenging the development phase is, nothing beats the sense of achievement when I see our products packaged on the shelf.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I first check my emails and sort out the priority level. I then set up meetings to share project status, analyze risks and impact due to the changes requested — changes can be everything from adding a warning label to packages to adding additional screws so people can secure something like the Nest Cam onto their walls. Besides my daily work, I enjoy reading daily newsletters from the company to know what exciting things other Googlers are doing. I’m also a part of the “Dogfood” program where I test out new features and products and provide feedback.
Can you tell us a bit about your move from Shanghai to the U.S.?
I grew up in Shanghai, China as an only child. I had no clue what I wanted to do, and solely focused on grades and getting into college — hoping to find a decent job in the future like many Chinese children of my generation. English was always my favorite subject. I went to the “English Corner” every week to practice and persuaded myself to be brave whenever I had an opportunity to speak with people from abroad. Fast forward to 2013, I moved to the U.S. at the age of 29.
As an immigrant, I was at a loss. I wondered if I was ever going to do well here from life to career because I didn’t speak perfect English and it was so different from where I grew up. However, I never gave up and encouraged myself everyday that I could do it. I went from being too shy to say “hi” to a stranger to being a Googler. I learned you can do anything as long as you believe in yourself and work hard toward your goal.
Why did you decide to apply to Google?
I was working long days and nights prior to joining Google. One night my son held my arm to be with me while I was still in a meeting at a very late hour. At that point, I knew I needed to move onto something new for myself and my family.
A friend of mine told me about a role at Google Nest. Google is known for providing a good work life balance and caring for its employees. Above all, it is a company that leads the future of technology development. So I decided to go for it.
Belle and her son at a Googleween event.
What was your path to your current role?
When I lived in Shanghai I was a product planner — I tracked orders and maintained on-time shipments from factories. That’s when I became interested in product development and landed a role for baby products where I first learned about project management and how products were developed from concept to manufacturing. When I first moved to the U.S. I worked at BuyBuy Baby, then I moved into the packaging industry and developed packaging for consumer products.
What inspires you to come in (virtually) every day?Designing and developing thoughtful packaging is exciting. Nowadays, packaging is not only used to protect the product during the transportation, but also a means to celebrate the company’s values such as sustainability and inclusiveness.
Packaging Belle worked on for the Pixel 4.
What was your application experience like?
I applied for the role directly online. Before the interviews, I was concerned with answering the questions correctly. I researched on the web, consulted with others in similar roles, and learned about Google’s values. That’s when I realized that there would be no right or wrong answers. Instead, what Google valued the most was the thought process and the creative way to resolve problems.
What advice would you give your past self?I wish I told myself to apply earlier rather than thinking things like, “Am I qualified enough to compete with others since Google is a company so many people want to join?” I should have focused on the fact that my experience matched what the role requested.