NUS BBA 24 April 2014

Learning from Google

The most desirable company on earth had a hand in shaping our students’ learning journey recently when our undergraduates and graduates were given the chance to witness leading HR practices and hear directly from a senior executive at Google.

Undergrads from the Management and Organisation (MNO) class were taken on a field trip to Google’s Singapore office where they had opportunities to interact with its employees, popularly known as Googlers. Meanwhile, Google’s head of human resources for APAC, D N Prasad, spoke to NUS MBA students as part of their Managing Human Capital class. Both classes are taught by Visiting Associate Professor Darren Hanson, known by students for his experiential teaching methods.

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For the undergraduates, the visit to the internet giant — voted several times ‘Best Company to Work For‘ by Fortune magazine — provided not just an insight into the famed Google culture, but also an opportunity to hear from more experienced professionals who generously shared with them work advice. The students’ career aspirations were also piqued by the tour of the impressive facilities that included a karaoke lounge, foosball tables, a mini-basketball game, a movie room and even a rest corner for siestas.

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“It was really interesting to see how the terms that we learned in MNO class came to life, like how a ‘flat organisation structure’ really worked for a company like Google,” said an excited undergraduate Jasmine Lim Yia Jan. “Interactions with Google executives has really inspired me to seek my passion in looking for a job in future.”

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Back in the business school, our graduate students heard from Mr Prasad as part of the closing talk for their Managing Human Capital class. He shared with them Google’s HR best practices, and the philosophy behind the company culture, also known as being “Googly”.

“Mr Prasad was the obvious choice as a closing speaker for our Managing Human Capital MBA class. He is the 2013 Singapore HR leader of the year, and Google is a dynamic company,” Prof Hanson explained.

“Google wrestles with the issue of being a company with a strong open culture, opening now in Asia, a region where hierarchy and power structures are important. Google is also a very sophisticated user of data analytics to make HR decisions,” he added. According to Prof Hanson, both topics will be critical issues facing MBA students when they deal with human capital challenges in Asia.

Graduate students agreed that the talk given by a leading industry practitioner offered learning that went beyond books.

“Google is a success story we always discuss in various case studies at the School,” said Somya Goel, a full-time NUS MBA student who worked previously as a management consultant. “Mr Prasad’s talk took the experience to an all-new high by providing us with a real, insider perspective.”

“I could not have “googled” Google to find out its unique organisational practices if I hadn’t attended this interesting talk,” she added.

To read more on Mr Prasad’s talk, click here. To learn more about academic experiences in NUS BBA, click here and for NUS MBA, click here.