Immersion Learning

A Suit-less Summer (or Winter) in Brazil

by Carlos R. I. Yoneda, MBA ‘14 and Environmental Finance and Impact Investing Fellow (10/9/13)
Carlos R. I. Yoneda, MBA ‘14 and Environmental Finance and Impact Investing FellowThis summer Carlos Yoneda (MBA ’14) travelled home to San Paulo, Brazil, where he worked in Google’s Brazil office for the AdWords Channel Sales team. His internship was focused on market research in Latin American and the Caribbean as well as consulting on online marketing practices in Latin America.

When I joined Johnson in July, 2012, I wanted a career change, but I didn’t realize just how much my life could change within a year. Throughout the past year the Johnson community has taught the value of teamwork, collaboration, and accountability put me on the road toward personal and professional success.  

 This summer, I took a 12-week internship at Google’s Brazil office, joining the AdWords Channel Sales team. It was amazing to be back in Sao Paulo and to be able to be with my family after months away from home. However, this summer marked a critical moment in Brazil’s history. From the beginning of July, protesters filled San Paulo’s streets to criticize corruption and government inefficiencies. 

In a country that fought against military dictatorship for 25 years this change in consciousness was long overdue. It was amazing to see so many Brazilians coming out on the streets to fight for a better country; for better public transportation, education, health care and security. Furthermore, it is incredible that this entire movement started from social networks, urging millions of people to join the protests. 

Having worked as a commercial banker for most of my career, I was very fortunate to have landed an internship at Google Inc.  Although the company’s culture and the work environment had a unique flair, the people at Google truly made the difference. Despite the natural bustle of office life, everyone was incredibly open to help and even more interested to get to know new members of the team.  I could reach out to Googlers all over the world to schedule one-on-one meetings and ask about their job roles or issues related to my project. In this regard, I could see how cutting-edge technology can bring a totally different dynamic to the workplace. Google Hangout allows employees to easily connect to each other, regardless of location and with minimal costs.  Since I was reporting directly to three different managers in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, this tool was essential to fulfill my work tasks.  

The focus of my summer internship was a project, for which I conducted market coverage research about small and medium size enterprises in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Colombia and the Caribbean.  The goal was to access the market potential for sponsored links in each country, bringing in relevant issues to be considered and to point out new partners to accelerate revenues generated from Google AdWords. Along with the rest of my duties, I managed external consulting research about online marketing practices in Latin America in order to determine accurate numbers for each country and decide which internal data could be used to support my recommendations. Day after day, throughout the 12 weeks of my internship, I could clearly understand how you can make money without doing evil. (This is one of Google’s fundamental principles.)

The SGE Immersion prepared me well providing me an incomparable experience in project management in many different aspects, from dealing with sponsors to managing conflicts. I am grateful to have been able to work with teammates, who have not only become good friends but allowed me to see things through different perspectives.

The SGE Immersion also helped me develop a multi-task skillset through assignments in primary and secondary research, data analysis, fast adaptability and issue selling. Surely, I could gain deeper knowledge, understand the cross-cultural importance and also improve my self-confidence in public presentations, but there is always room for improvement in the future.

Finally, this journey could not be possible without the support and concern from the Johnson’s faculty, in particular Professor Mark Milstein, who has been an incredible mentor for all of us.