Class Note: BYU’s Champion at Google
What does Matt McGhee say most prepared him to thrive in his dream job at a multinational tech giant? Participating in his LDS young single adult ward activity committees—planning dances and mix-and-mingles.
That’s because he works at Google. The company is known for championing a different kind of corporate culture—one that McGhee loves for more than just the nap pods.
“It’s similar to a church calling or working with a student club at BYU,” says McGhee, who’s now into his third role at the company in two years. “If you’re interested in a project and want to do it, you can just go for it. A lot of what happens at Google is really self-driven; it’s because somebody wanted to make something better.”
Google’s culture of service, of striving to bring better tech solutions to more people, dovetails with the personal mission McGhee discovered while taking a yearlong break from college to explore his interests and operate a computer support and repair business in San Diego.
“It gave me good opportunity to actually help customers, my neighbors, and my family use technology to connect with each other and get things done,” McGhee says. “That’s when I found my niche—helping people use technology.”
After finishing his degrees in Utah—a bachelor’s degree in information systems from BYU in 2010 and a master’s degree from the University of Utah in 2011—McGhee and his wife, Keri, a BYU journalism grad he met in San Diego, headed to the Bay Area for a job with Deloitte. There McGhee volunteered to be the onboarding buddy to a new hire who had previously worked for Google. McGhee eventually told her of his interest in the company, and “within forty-eight hours, I had a phone interview with a recruiter,” McGhee says.
Now at Google’s corporate headquarters—the Googleplex—working one hundred yards from a sand volleyball court where he plays pickup after work, McGhee has a strong desire to give back to his alma mater. He’s happy to mentor aspiring Googlers, often reaching out to BYU students and alumni referred to him by Reid Grawe, information systems director in the Business Career Center, whom he counts as one of his own mentors. Last year McGhee arranged a visit to Google for a group of Marriott School professors, giving them the chance to present research and secure a grant, tour the campus, meet with Google recruiters, and participate in an alumni networking dinner—all helping strengthen the relationship between the Marriott School and Google.
“I enjoy coaching and mentoring, especially other BYU students,” McGhee says. “I feel really blessed that I was able to get a job at Google, and I’d like to pass that forward as much as I can.”