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How She Got a Job at YouTube Without Tech Experience

When you have several amazing, but different internships that you could take, how do you choose the right one? What happens when you choose the least obvious one? And is it really better to be vegan in California? Xoro Media founder Rosana Rabines shares her experience going from years of  consulting for nonprofits to spending her summer working at YouTube. She speaks to how she applied her analytic and quantitative skills from her classes to consulting for teams within YouTube, despite not having done internships in tech or business. She also shares how she learned that helping others and working in a for-profit company are not mutually exclusive, and where she sees herself going next.

Name: Rosana Rabines

Job Title: BOLD Quantitative Business Analyst, Youtube

Location: San Bruno, CA

College: University of Chicago

Year: 4th Year

Major: Economics, minors in Statistics and Latin American Studies

What are you doing this summer?

As a part of Google’s BOLD internship program, I’m working with YouTube’s Strategy team as a Quantitative Business Analyst. The Strategy team is YouTube’s internal consulting team, and works with other teams within YouTube to answer questions that affect the company in the long run.

My role consists of collecting and analyzing data, and then condensing the information into presentations that provide specific, quantitatively backed recommendations to the teams that asked the questions. I work with product teams from product managers to product distribution, as well as creator-facing teams that support creators as they grow. I also work with the latino organization to support diverse voices both on YouTube and in the workplace.

One of the signs in the office featuring creators.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I’d love to work in media, hopefully in a position where I can be involved with content strategy, identifying potential new revenue streams, and leadership of the company. I’d love to be an advocate for creators, and promote the voices of women and minority creators, while applying my research, communication, creative, and quantitative skills.

After years of working with nonprofits, it’s also very important to me to be actively involved with the social sector. I care about supporting Latinas and plan to be involved with organizations that gives them access to education and healthcare services to break the chain of teenage pregnancy, decrease the wage gap, and increase quality of life for Latinas around the US and the world.

Rosana and her mentor, Sonalika.

How did you get your internship?

When I started looking for a summer internship, all I knew was that after working with nonprofits I wanted to find something that applied more of the quantitative skills like coding, statistical analysis, and financial modeling that I was learning in my classes. The first internship application I did was to Google’s BOLD Internship program in November. Never expecting to hear back, I proceeded to apply to another 85 internships in just about any field I thought might work.

By March, I was focusing on recruiting for marketing analytics positions when I got an email from a Google recruiter about interviewing. It was the week before winter quarter finals, and every company that I was really excited about decided to choose their interns by Monday. After talking to my career advisor and scheduling daily case interview prep with her until all the interviews were done, I let every company know that I was at the same point in the process with other companies and would need a decision by the Monday of finals.

I spent Monday and Tuesday of that week doing phone interviews with recruiters between classes. Wednesday and Thursday were spent downtown Chicago for analytics super days and then submitting coding and analysis assessments at night (protip: if you finish the assessment at 3:30 AM, wait until the next morning to send it in because they will ask why you were awake). Friday and Monday I was lucky enough to get multiple offers.

To make my decision, I spoke with previous interns that had worked in each of these companies. The positions were very different, and each was in a different part of the country, which made the decision difficult. The other positions felt like safe bets, and built on the intersection of my experience with Xoro, my coursework, and my previous internships. YouTube Strategy was a wildcard role on the west coast, at a company that I was worried I would have to fight to get a good recommendation from, never mind a return offer. But as a creator (and total YouTube fangirl), getting to apply my quantitative and computational skills to something I care so deeply about was a dream. I swallowed my fear and accepted the offer.

BOLD is a program that focuses on recruiting under-represented groups in Tech and placing them in Google’s business-focused roles. The recruiter shared the job description with me when I scheduled my interviews, and I interviewed with members of the team I worked with this summer. When I spoke with other interns in the program, I found out that most of them did more general interviews and were placed with teams a couple weeks before the summer started.

What do you wish you had known during your internship search?

I wish I had been more focused as I filled out all those applications. Although I was casting a wide net and looking at jobs across different fields, I should’ve applied to fewer internships in each field and really only for jobs I was actually excited about.

In January, I was working really hard producing Get This Girl a Job and it looked like it might make sense to spend the summer working on the second season. I asked myself which of the jobs that I had applied to, or was going to apply to, would be more exciting or valuable. The answer was that there were really very few, and so I stopped applying to more internships and declined interview requests for positions that didn’t match my interests. It was a really good litmus test for my decision making and I wish I had used it earlier in the process.

What does a day in the life look like?

6:30 AM my alarm goes off. I snooze it and spend the next 7 minutes scrolling through my notifications before it rings again. I work with a team member in London, so I have a couple emails from him in my inbox that I read through to make sure there aren’t any quick questions that I can answer before I get to work.

In gym clothes, I grab the bags I packed the night before and jump in a lyft line. I live 10 minutes driving from where I worked and it’s actually cheaper to take a lyft than it was to take BART, San Francisco’s subway. I drink a green juice on the way, while reading emails and the news. I jump out of the car to greet the security guard and cleaning staff before heading up to drop my bags at my desk and then running across the street for the gym. When my shins couldn’t quite take running the San Francisco hills, I got really into cycling (who am I) so I spend an hour blasting music before I lift, stretch, and shower. I throw on the outfit I had packed with some fun earrings, blow dry my (now super short) hair, and run to get to my desk a little before 9.

YouTube has a gym across the street from Rosana’s office.

Google provides all three meals most days, so I grab breakfast and some coffee before spending a couple hours responding to emails or comments on my work. I check my boss’s calendar and plan some time for me to ask him some questions before a meeting we have with some of the stakeholders. We’re internal consultants, and our clients are the leaders of the teams that asked the questions, so we spend a lot of time preparing to meet with them, communicating our findings and asking more questions so we know where to take the project next. We also meet with the director of the Strategy team in advance of these meetings to make sure we’re all on the same page. I try to meet with a couple people external to my team every week to learn more about how different teams operate. Part of the BOLD program includes working with a mentor, and meeting with mine is one of my favorite parts of my week. 10 to 4 are prime meeting hours, so most of the time the team is running in and out of conference rooms to meet (either in person or over video calls).

All of the conference rooms are themed with content you can find at YouTube, Rosana’s floor is cat themed.

At 12, whoever isn’t in meetings heads to one of the cafeterias for lunch. As a vegan, I was worried I would have trouble finding food that worked for my diet, but I can actually check the menus of the cafeterias online before heading out and make sure I’m getting a rounded meal with all the necessary proteins. After my experience with UChicago’s cafeteria, all these options felt a little too good to be true, but there were always options for me at one of the cafeterias and everything is clearly marked as vegan, vegetarian, and with other allergens. I like cooking, but often finding external food that works for me can be stressful and it is so nice to not have to think about whether I’ll be able to eat today. On my way back from lunch, I stop by the Sweetgreen-like salad stop in my building a pick up a to-go salad with complete proteins for dinner.

One of the awesome vegan lunches that Rosana got at work.

After 4, the meetings slow down and the office becomes quiet as people make some progress on the action items from their meetings and start scheduling the next set. Most of my team takes one of the shuttles home and will keep working and answering emails, but the wifi in my apartment is a little dicey so I stay until I’m done working.

Around 6:30, I grab my sneakers and do a second round in the gym to do some cardio, bodyweight exercises, and yoga. I pack my stuff and head home by 8. On Wednesdays, I skip the second workout and head downtown San Francisco to get dinner with friends who work in the city.

I call my family as soon as I get home while eating that salad I picked up and shower quickly. I pack the work clothes and the second set of workout clothes, and then grab my laptop and jump in bed. I do a couple hours of work for Xoro, answering emails and preparing social media posts. When I’m done, I’ll watch a few YouTube videos and meditate before falling asleep around midnight and get ready to do it all over again.

The YouTube office also has a slide.

How has this job changed what you see yourself doing in the future?

I had spent years focused on the notion that I had a responsibility to help people by the nature of my work, and that only by working with a nonprofit or in medicine could I be truly fulfilled. This summer, I learned that the skills that I work so hard to develop in school from economics to statistics to computer science allow me to sit in the rooms where I can advocate for causes I care about while still challenging me intellectually and providing concrete results that improve the company and increase profit.

I work for a platform that supports creators like the ones that have inspired me for the last decade and gives a voice to people just like me who are sharing their passions with the world. Even as an intern, I’m in a position where I can use my perspective as a creator to advocate for them. I also got involved with projects that increase latino representation, and have meaningful conversations about how the platform can be used for good in the time between taking on projects like working with new products.

You can follow Rosana on Instagram @rosanarabines to see more about her experience in California, and behind the scenes at Xoro.

Thanks for checking out Internship Diaries! You can find other posts from the series here.

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