After a successful few years with a faculty Dean’s Book Club at the Robins School, Dean Nancy Bagranoff knew she wanted to give students an opportunity to get involved, too.

“The student Dean’s Book Club grew out of the success of our faculty Dean’s Book Club.  We recognized that students enjoy reading just as much as faculty do and a book club would provide them with the opportunity to read a business-related book of interest, and to discuss it with other students and myself,” Bagranoff said.

She met with students, faculty, and staff twice this semester to share thoughts about “Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?” by William Poundstone.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased with that choice,” Bagranoff said. “The process for selecting the book included asking students for a list of books that they would recommend.  I then pared that list to five and asked them to vote.”

The book outlines anecdotes from those who have survived the job interview process at Google, with advice for young job seekers to help them succeed as well. Topics include strategies to use in interview preparation, solutions to save a bad interview, etiquette tips, and more.

“The book is chock full of help to students as they think about applying for work, interviewing, and selecting a corporate culture,” Bagranoff said. “Our discussion of the book provided further opportunity for students to talk about workforce and interview preparation.”

This discussion was especially helpful for Lauren Onestak, ‘18. “Prior to reading “Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?,” I was unaware of the type of "trick" questions that commonly get asked in today's highly competitive job market,” Onestak said. “Reading the book gave me the chance to practice answering challenging job questions and, perhaps more importantly, provided me with a framework for how to craft cogent responses to those questions.”

Onestak, a double major in business administration and leadership studies, is interviewing for internship opportunities this summer, and plans to use the tools she has learned in book club to help her land the position.

“It exposed me to interview questions and strategies that I had not previously considered and helped me to hone my interviewing skills.”

She is just one of more than a dozen faculty, staff, undergraduate, and MBA students who have joined in the book club this semester.

Maia Linask, assistant professor of economics, was drawn to the group once she learned which book they were reading. 

“I was especially curious to know what students would take from this book and how they would react to it,” Linask said.  “My favorite part was gaining a greater appreciation for the concerns and worries that students have. This book was about interviewing for jobs, and some of that anxiety really came through.”

The book explores the difficulty of landing a job at highly competitive companies, like Google. It explains the company’s hiring process, as well as all of the reasons some applicants don’t make the cut, which Bagranoff says, helps Robins students prepare for those challenges.

“Getting a job at a great company is not simple today.  Students will face many different types of interview approaches, most of which require significant advance preparation.  Reading this book will help the students who participated to have a better opportunity to secure their dream career.” 

The Dean is hoping to continue the book club next year.