By Jessica Hirsch
Over the summer, Christopher Porter (Class of 2016) interned as a sales engineer for Google in the Japan office, located in Tokyo.
“I’m half Japanese, and I grew up in both Japan and the U.S.,” Porter said. “I was doing consulting work before I came to Darden, but I wasn’t using my Japanese background at all, so I was looking for something to help me feel more fulfilled and to use that skill set. This internship allowed me to pull my background into my career.”
At Google, Porter worked as a sales engineer in the Google for Work division, which provides customizable enterprise solutions using Google products to the business world. Porter served as a technical advisor to help companies’ Chief Information Officers (CIOs) understand the benefits and uses of the products which they were considering and purchasing. His role also required understanding the sales cycle and looking ahead to assess how to launch new products in the market.
“This opportunity provided a way for me to take my analytical background and business skills and meet in the middle.” Porter said. “Google for Work feels like a startup in a huge search company. It was a small team and a very cross-functional experience with everyone working together in that startup environment.”
Although Porter’s fellow interns hailed from diverse countries such as Japan, India, and France, all of the interns spoke Japanese.
“Living in Japan wasn’t as eye-opening for me because I grew up with the culture, but I still went through a learning process with business in Japan,” Porter said. “Clients often had different concerns than what you would hear from an American company. For example, security is of much greater concern in Japan. I learned to always think about how the brand translates to new markets and how to showcase and develop aspects of a brand or product that appeal to a particular market.
Porter explained that although Google has a very large presence in the U.S., the company is still working to be seen as a competitor abroad.
“I never would have realized how different the world’s business cultures and regional markets can be,” Porter said. “This experience will help shape my leadership perspective and choices down the road. It’s important to not be afraid to take risks and work outside of the typical path.”