The irony of Samir Goel’s summer internship with LinkedIn is that he landed the job thanks to one of his 500+ connections on the professional networking site. A simple post in his news feed opened the door for the senior at NYU’s Stern School of Business to do a 12-week long internship inside the tech company’s New York office.
It wasn’t just his LinkedIn connection that got him the job, of course. Yet Goel–who is studying finance and international business with a minor in political science–says, overall, the hiring process was rather quick. It took an initial interview with a hiring manager, followed by an interview super day which involved four onsite interviews in one day. There was also a final follow-up phone call. The next thing Goel knew, he was invited to spend the summer working for one of the world’s big three social media companies.
Goel arrived at LinkedIn’s New York offices in the Empire State Building each day between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Typical attire: jeans, a t-shirt, and maybe a baseball cap. When he got to LinkedIn at the beginning of the summer, the reality of working at a tech company was one of the first things that stood out to him most.
“The culture is so different. You have people riding around on skateboards. There’s ping pong. It just goes on and on.” Comparing this to other internships he’s had at the United Nations and a political consultant firm, Goel says he’s not sure that after his summer at LinkedIn he could go back to a more usual work environment.
ASSIGNED TO GLOBAL SALES INSIDE THE CUSTOMER SUCCESS ORGANIZATION
Still, Goel’s LinkedIn internship wasn’t anywhere near all play and no work. As an intern, he was assigned to global sales inside LinkedIn’s Customer Success Organization and spent much of his time in meetings related to various assigned projects. “Working in customer success was more of a consultative role that helps companies out with branding, talent management, etc. So a lot of my work is strategy oriented and requires a good amount of research or reaching out to companies for making new connections.”
For Goel, what’s been most rewarding about this internship experience is the freedom he’s given to align the internship with his own interests. “One of my very first days at LinkedIn, my manager came in and said, ‘We want this to be about you. The internship is a success if it prepares you for what you want to do next; whatever that may be.’ I wasn’t expecting this and it was nice to see people invest in me this way rather than just focusing on how I would contribute to building the company up.”
Goel’s personal passions center on bridging the gap between the public and private sectors for social impact. In the fall of 2013, he co-founded a nonprofit called Transfernation to help find sustainable solutions to eliminate hunger.
RECRUIT FOR GOOD INITIATIVE ATTRACTED HIS ATTENTION
It is this social impact mindset that drew Goel’s interest to LinkedIn’s “Recruit for Good” initiative, which caters to nonprofit organizations and helping them gain access to top talent in such industries as finance and accounting. “Recruit for Good is a program in which we helped nonprofits around the country recruit and hire executive talent pro-bono. We did the legwork in finding and suggesting candidates who are interested. For Recruit for Good, I’ve worked on multiple projects to source candidates for executive non-profit positions.”
In another summer project, Goel had the opportunity to share some research findings he captured for Blackbaud, a company he says is like Salesforce, but for nonprofit organizations and social impact ventures. After joining LinkedIn in May, he began researching and strategizing ways the LinkedIn platform could help the company with its talent practices. What’s more, even as an undergraduate and intern he was granted valuable face time with the client. “I worked with a manager to give a presentation on leveraging LinkedIn for professional development and talent management. I spent time researching the company and what information would be most impactful for them.”
Samir also worked on other analysis projects such as reviewing global employment trends, recruitment and staffing trends, and economic change with the goal of seeing what it all means for the future of LinkedIn.
‘I’M A TOTAL LINKEDIN FAN BOY’
Being a rising senior at NYU, Goel firmly believes that Stern enabled him to walk into his internship with LinkedIn and make it successful. “NYU is cool in that it’s not a school that spoon feeds you. But if you want to pursue something, you have all the opportunities and resources you need. This enabled me to tackle things that may have been beyond my scope, which has been very valuable coming into LinkedIn. Here, I can easily take what resources I have and pursue something I’m interested in or use the tools available to me to solve a challenge on my own.”
In terms of any dislikes about his LinkedIn internship, Goel says there truly weren’t any that he could think of. “My expectations have been exceeded, and I’ve been given the chance to do work that I value. I’m a total LinkedIn fan boy.” Not only is he a total fan boy, Goel says, “Working at LinkedIn this summer was the best decision I could’ve made.”
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