Importance of Mentorship- Battling Sales Tech Stereotypes with Google’s Olga Maksimuk

Posted By:
Shalini Singh
April 14, 2023

🌊 Are you ready for an exciting interview with one of the brightest minds in tech? 🤩 Meet Olga Maksimuk, a bilingual account executive with a passion for startups, gaming, and women in tech. Originally from Minsk, Belarus, Olga now resides in Germany and works as a Business Acquisition Manager for Google, covering Eastern and Central European countries. 🚀 In this interview, we’ll be talking about Olga’s experiences in finding mentors as a woman in tech, the ins and outs of sales tech, and her advice for women looking to join the field. 💻 Plus, she’ll be giving us some valuable guidance on how to apply for jobs and ace the interview process. 🎯

👩‍💼Olga’s journey began with her working at AWS, where she joined the Business Development graduate program and worked with ~40 other aspiring professionals across three different locations. Olga was covering the DACH markets, which was a fun challenge for her as German is her 3rd language.

🚀 Olga’s previous manager [at SAP] advised her to try out for the position at Amazon, which led her to get an offer in just two days. She started there as a business development representative for DACH Enterprises and then became a startup specialist working with startups in CEE. 👨‍💻However, she felt stuck and wanted to explore other options. She found a job opening at Google and thought, “Who cares if you get it or not, just try it, it’s Google!” A few rounds of interviews and weeks later, she got the job!

As Olga says, “If you have a gut feeling that something is big, go for it! Don’t be afraid to try new things.” 🤩

🤝Olga believes that having mentors is crucial for personal and professional growth. She has two mentors — a male and a female mentor, who guide her through different aspects of life. While her dad gives her quite a lot of advice on entrepreneurship and business, she still prefers him as mainly father figure [but he would be upset not to be mentioned!].💕

Olga’s male mentor is from her SAP intern days, and he has been a constant support throughout her career. When Olga decided to switch jobs, she consulted him and was thrilled when he encouraged her to trust herself. 💪 She met her female mentor at the industry event and as they had a natural connection, she just had to ask for a mentorship opportunity. Olga approaches her for coaching on topics such as being a female in tech and building confidence. 💻

Olga believes that mentorship should happen naturally, as it eases the process and allows for faster trust-building which is crucial. A great starting point is connecting with your previous managers and seeing if they are interested in mentoring you. She also encourages having mentors both inside and outside of the company, as they provide different perspectives. 💡 Olga’s journey of mentorship is a true testament to the fact that having mentors can truly change the game. As Olga puts it, “Having a mentor is like having a flashlight on a dark path — you don’t have to use it, but it will definitely make a lot of things easier.” 🌟

🤝Olga further shares her advice on finding a mentor. She emphasized the importance of personal connections, which she nurtures by attending industry events and talking to people with impressive careers. 💼Olga encourages professionals to approach someone they admire and ask for a quick session. She also suggests asking for help from an internal mentor for specific company-related matters but turning to external mentors for general career guidance. “As soon as you have a personal connection with someone, openly ask. If they give you the opportunity to ask questions or benefit from their experience and knowledge, trust them,”.she says. 🚀Olga’s advice is valuable for anyone looking to advance their career and shows that building relationships and seeking advice from experienced professionals can help guide your path to success.

When we asked Olga to demystify business development for us, she shared that she has had experience in both business development and business acquisition. She spends her time making customer calls, looking for new customers, and talking to current ones about their needs and bottlenecks. Her main purpose and aim are to help them launch, scale, grow, or move on to new projects. Olga says her job in a nutshell is all about problem-solving and consulting, which is why she loves it so much. When she first got into sales, she was a bit skeptical about it, but she concluded that it’s all about finding the customer’s pain points and giving them a solution. It’s not soulless, it’s not about pushing things down people’s throats, and it can actually be a lot of fun! 🤩 So if you’re interested in people and their passions [especially, business ones!] and love problem-solving, Olga thinks you’ll enjoy it too. As she says, “My job is basically understanding where there is a hole in the ship and making sure it’s fixed and no longer bleeding water.” 🔍

🚀 When asked about women in sales, Olga shared that she was fortunate to work under mostly female leadership during her time at Amazon. She also mentioned that in her current team, there are more women than men, even though sales for a long time was considered a “man’s job”! 🙌 Olga believes that the stereotype that women can’t succeed in [tech] sales is not true and that there is a place for women in this industry. She said, “I would also say that the stereotype of ‘oh, there is no place for women in tech’ is not true. There is definitely space for your talents and ambitions here.” Olga is a diversity champion in her organization and a true inspiration for women looking to make their mark in sales.💪

Olga also has some inspiring advice for women who are trying to enter the business development or sales space. “Just try,” she says, acknowledging that it’s okay to fail. With a bit of training, you can figure it out if you want to do it. She recommends understanding the product to some extent, and reading as much as possible about the company’s culture to see if it aligns with your values. “Choose those companies that actually speak to your values,” she advises. Olga has seen people struggle in their jobs because they didn’t understand how the culture worked, so she encourages applicants to look out for that and ask questions during interviews. “You’re also grading them and you’re also trying to understand if you want to be there,” she says.

Olga shares some great advice for job seekers who are wondering whether to apply directly to the job or make a connection with someone at the company. Personally, Olga has never made a connection with someone at the company before applying because it’s not a common practice in her culture, though she considers it a great strategy that seems to work for many. Olga recommends applying directly for the job and keeping an eye out for recommended jobs on LinkedIn. Olga herself found a job at Google by scrolling through the recommended jobs on LinkedIn. She also applied to Amazon via LinkedIn, which kept reminding her of this position even though she was already scouted by an HR manager and initially turned down the opportunity. She then told herself to pretend to be a guy and just go for it. “I have read this article about differences in confidence between men and women. So I told myself: you were a guy, you wouldn’t even blink, you would have just done it, so just do it,” Olga says. So don’t hesitate and trust yourself, because you never know what opportunities may come your way.

Olga mentioned that she used to only apply to jobs that matched her skills 100%, but her mentor helped her realize that she didn’t need to be a perfect match to get the job. 🤔

Olga also talked about how important it is to be willing to learn, adapt, and be curious in the tech industry. 💡 It’s not all about what you already know, but what you’re capable of learning. Even though she was already working in sales for two years before joining Google, she still had to learn a lot about products and how to do things the Google way.

We also talked about how difficult it can be for women to make career changes, especially if they’re responsible for their family’s well-being. 🤱 Olga shared how her immigration status has caused her to have panic attacks about quitting her job and making a change, but ultimately it was the best decision for her career growth.

As Olga said, “It’s important to check what’s out there…take a look around and see what else excites you? And if there is no opportunity for you to grow at the moment, maybe somewhere else there is.” 🌟 So if you’re a woman in tech and you are feeling stuck, remember that there’s always an opportunity for growth and change.🚀

When it comes to the interview process for Amazon and Google, Olga says that the process length varies and can take as little as three weeks and as long as three months, but it highly depends on the position and the company. For example, a lot of tech companies sometimes start looking for people a year in advance before the starting date to make sure they interview the best people for the position. . 😮

Olga was lucky enough to apply for a position in AWS only two months before her starting day and had only two interviews [including panel], but it can take longer depending on the position. For Google, it was also a fairly quick process that took around three weeks due to the remote interviews.

Despite the varying process lengths, Olga mentioned that the companies are usually responsive and will follow up with candidates, and Amazon even had an internal rule about providing feedback within a certain timeframe. As Olga says, “The process really differs, but as soon as you get the first call right it’s two-three weeks depending on your availability.” 😊

🎉 And that’s a wrap on our interview with Olga Maksimuk! 🎉 We hope you enjoyed reading about her journey in tech and gaining insights into the world of business development and sales. Olga’s story shows that with hard work, dedication, and a willingness to try new things, anything is possible. 🌟

Remember, whether you’re looking for a mentor, trying to break into sales, or just exploring new opportunities, Olga’s advice can guide you along the way. 💡 So, take her words to heart, and don’t be afraid to chase your dreams! Who knows, you might just surprise yourself with what you can achieve. 😊