There are not many undergraduate IT students who complete two internships at Google before finishing their bachelor’s studies. Juraj Pančík, a twenty-one year old student, did just that: right after his first year, he spent twelve weeks as an intern in Zurich, Switzerland, and this summer he went for a two-week internship at the company’s US headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Google receives tens of thousands of internship applications every year, but very few people pass the selection process. As Pančík explains, “I was lucky in that I was recommended to the company by a friend of mine, who now works at Facebook and was once a Google intern herself. While this is no guarantee of success, at least I could be sure that someone would read my CV.”
His CV caught Google’s attention: even as a secondary school student, Pančík created three games for mobile devices. The most successful of these, Dungeon Madness, has achieved over 600,000 downloads and is also popular among children.
After two interviews that also included solving algorithmic problems, Google offered Pančík a well-paid position in Zurich in a team developing Google Maps for mobile devices. For three months, he worked on “Timeline”, a feature that shows mobile users where they went on a given day and makes it possible to add photos of various places.
At the end of the internship, every intern goes through another interview to decide about his or her future with the company: “I was offered an internship for the next summer as well, but I asked to go to the US this time,” says Pančík. “I was included in their database and in about six months, they contacted me and asked if I’d like to work on a new version of Google Play Games in California.”
This summer, Pančík left for Silicon Valley, home to world-renowned companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple. “The company culture at Google is great: nobody cares about working hours and there is free food and drinks. There are more than 10,000 people working at the Google campus – Googleplex – and the place has everything from a bowling alley to a music room, where I would go to strum a guitar.”
Pančík returned from his internship at the end of September and now has his final exams and bachelor’s thesis ahead of him. He would like to have some free time next summer, so he does not plan to take any more jobs or internships. This has been the third summer in a row that he spent working abroad: he also went to help his brother, Andrej Pančík, in the London branch of his company, a charitable fundraising platform called Prizeo, while he was still a secondary school student. His brother’s start-up was a success and was sold for a high price. This year, his second start-up – Represent – was bought by CustomInk, a US company, for 100 million dollars.
However, Pančík does not brag about having twice been a Google intern. “People think that an internship like this is out of their reach, but that’s not true. Google is a corporation that needs thousands of people. Everybody has a chance, the main thing is not to be afraid,” he says.
Rather than trying to get a full-time job, he decided to go on to master’s studies at Masaryk University. “I want to enjoy student life a bit longer,” says Pančík with a laugh. He is also active in the student ProFidivadlo theatre as the head lightning systems operator.
Pančík is considering going back to the Zurich branch of Google after graduating – at least for a couple of years, then he wants to return home. “I like the Czech Republic and Slovakia and our mentality,” he adds. “I appreciate how good we have it here.”