UQ student gets taste of laidback Google approach

Google intern Rachael Morgan in her personal creative space. Photo: Edwina PicklesThere’s a certain stereotype about Google internships that it’s all beanbags, ping-pong matches and computer games.

University of Queensland PhD student Rachael Morgan, in Sydney for a three-month internship with the tech giant, says that stereotype is well-deserved.

But, in between the frivolity, there’s some work as well.

“I have to tell you, it’s really fun,” she said.

“We have amazing perks like a pool, ping-pong, we’ve got scooters around the office, beanbags if you need a nap – it’s just amazing.”

Ms Morgan said the laid-back approach taken at Google actually helped productivity levels rise.

“It really does help. You probably have it in your job that you just feel really fatigued and sometimes, in other companies, you feel under pressure that you have to sit at your desk and just meander through the day when really what you need is a 20-minute power nap,” she said.

“Here, if you need that power nap, you just take it. It’s really encouraged and it helps a lot with your productivity and it’s a great way to meet people around the office.

“If you want a game of ping-pong, you go up there, no-one else is playing then you see some people come in – it’s great.”

Ms Morgan completed a Bachelor of Engineering at UQ in 2010 and forged her interest in programming at St Mary’s Catholic College in Cairns.

During her three-month stint in Sydney, Google is providing Ms Morgan with inner-city accommodation, three meals a day and a modest income.

In return, Ms Morgan is working on a secret project involving Google Drive, which she hoped to be able to launch.

“As an intern, we’re given a big project to work on and big projects are chosen by your host,” she said.

“They’re actual real-world problems that your mentor would do if they had the time. You work closely with the team, which is really good.”

Google Australia public affairs manager Johnny Luu said competition for internships was fierce.

“We had 5000 applications for the internship positions,” he said.

“It’s the largest intake we’ve ever had and in fact I think we’ve doubled the number of interns we’ve taken over the past two years.

“We hire as many as we can, but a lot of the interns might be in their first year of university or go on to do their masters or a PhD, but we always try to hire as many as we can once they’re ready to join the workforce.”