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Alumni, now Google employees, tell of their journey to the tech giant


During the Google Culture Presentation on Oct. 9, BYU–Hawaii alumni and married couple Lenny and Julia Hatch addressed business students. Currently, the couple is the only BYUH alumni to work for Google at the company’s California campus, and they said they want students to work in Silicon Valley.

Lei Cummings, the relationship manager at BYUH Admissions, Alumni and Career Services, introduced them as the only alumni working for Google in California. “We hope to have more of you apply. That’s why we have them here to tell you how to apply and get a job at Google. I met Lenny a week ago in Southern California, and we were just trying to connect with alumni who worked in Silicon Valley.”

By chance, Cummings stumbled across Lenny Hatch’s LinkedIn, which led to him being invited to speak to BYUH students about Google’s opportunities.

Lenny Hatch, who has worked at Google for 4 years, is from California but spent his childhood in Russia. He graduated from BYUH with a degree in finance and currently works as a business operations manager at Google. He addressed potential graduates’ worries about what they should do after graduation, assuring them he once felt as they did.

Parallel paths to Google

“Honestly, we were in your same shoes not very long ago,” Lenny Hatch told the assembly of students in the HGB 275 Chapel. “I remember feeling the exact same way. To be honest, I had no idea what I was going to do when I graduated, so if you’re feeling that way, it’s totally fine. It works out,” he added, citing his and his wife’s success at Google.

Vaishali Kilaparthi, a sophomore from India majoring in accounting, said she felt inspired by the couple’s story of finding their place at Google. “I am not sure if I want to apply to Google for a career, but after hearing what these two had to say, I see how important it is to have the ambition and the skills for success. I also liked how Lenny Hatch said it’s alright to not know exactly what you want to do after you graduate.”

Julia Hatch then took the pulpit and introduced her path to Google. Originally from California, she came to BYUH at first to study biology, with the intent of becoming a pediatric dentist. “But I quickly found out science [and] biology wasn’t for me. So, I ended up switching my major to graphic design, and then I chose a minor of information systems and a certificate in entrepreneurship.”

Julia and Lenny Hatch joined entrepreneurship competitions, such as the Great Ideas competition. Through working various student jobs, Julia Hatch said she learned many useful interpersonal and professional skills.

After graduating in 2016 with her husband, they moved to the Bay Area, where she worked at a healthcare hedge fund for about 10 months. Julia Hatch decided the job was not ideal for her, then she applied to be a temporary employee for Google, specifically as a program manager of employee classes. After 10 months as a temporary employee, she decided she wanted to go full time to get all the benefits of full-time Google employees.

Julia Hatch then became an Administrative Business Partner (APB) but wanted an engineering role in Google. “I am now part of a team called Fuschia. They’re making an operating system from the ground up, sort of like Chrome or Android OS. This one is interesting because they’re not using Linux, they’re building it from scratch.”

Lenny Hatch, in a calm, laid-back demeanor, reminded the students if they had questions, they could ask them any time. During his time at BYUH, Lenny Hatch majored in finance and entrepreneurship, while working various student jobs and starting up small businesses. “I worked at the Cafeteria with Julia, did Catering. But the Caf job led me to a lot of great opportunities. Within the Caf world, there’s a lot of awesome local people.”

One of his old mission companions ended up getting a job at Google and referred him to the same team. “One of the things they were looking for was someone who could speak to small businesses, and because I ran my own small, yet not very unsuccessful business, it was still enough to get my foot in the door.”

Because Lenny Hatch had already had experience with running small businesses and doing marketing, he was able to stand out as a hire. After roughly 2 years, he was one of the first five people to be enrolled in Google’s rotational program, where employees change jobs in sections of the business a few months at a time. Currently, he is three weeks into the role of managing operations for the gift cards team in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Interview tips

The Hatch’s also offered some advice for interviews at Google. “I kind of enjoy interviews, to be honest,” Lenny Hatch admitted. “I don’t mind joking around. I think showcasing what your personality’s actually like is perfectly fine.

“Let’s say, during an interview, you get a really weird question, what if you draw a blank? You know what I do? I literally don’t say a word, and grab a piece of paper and pen, and start writing or scribbling things down, until my mind thinks of something good to say. Just stall for time and think of something smart to say.”

Having ambition and Great Ideas

Lenny Hatch continued, “I had the idea to start a guitar school on the side, where I could make money teaching guitar to people, which lasted about 2 years until I graduated. That led me to realize I liked working for myself and want to start another company.”

He attempted to start a rental car business but was not super successful. Four hours into its first run, the car died. “At the time, that was about 60 percent of our money.”

Lenny Hatch then encouraged all the students to enter the Great Ideas competition, even if they did not think they could win. “For me, I had an idea, and somehow I ended up getting into Great Ideas, and for me, that was an amazing experience. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you put your arm in the fire.

“Starting little side businesses is one of the best things you can do in college,” he added. “It teaches you so many skills. It forces you to figure out how to do marketing, how to make sales, craft an email, how to fake it ‘til you make it.”

When asked by a student if they were happy where they were in the company, Julia Hatch responded “yes” because her job gave her a lot of flexibility in her schedule, as she would soon be a mother for the first time.

Lenny Hatch responded, “I am about 80 percent happy . . . But one of the things I like about Google is you get to try so many things, and essentially forge your own path.”

He added how he had interviewed with Frito-Lay after graduating from college, and did not like their stringent progression system. “I like Google because it’s very much ‘choose-your-own-destiny,’ and for people who don’t necessarily know what they want to do long term, it’s a good place to be.”