In this series, M&T seniors share their after graduation plans and tips for navigating on-campus recruiting (OCR).
Name: Matt Schulman
Hometown: Blue Bell, PA
Major/Concentration(s): Computer Science, concentration in Management
Where will you be working after graduation and in what role?
I will be working at Facebook as a software engineer.
What made you want to work at Facebook?
I interned at Facebook the summer before my senior year and had a fantastic experience. Projects moved rapidly, and the work I did seemed to have a lot of impact. I was the sole engineer on my project. This meant that I was able to move a lot faster and learn a lot more than in previous software engineering internship experiences in which I was placed on large, cross-functional teams. This also meant that I had control over which technologies to utilize. Naturally, I chose to develop the frontend of my web application with React, which is one of the hottest frontend frameworks right now (and it was developed in-house by Facebook and open-sourced in 2013!). I am excited to come back to Facebook and develop with the most cutting edge technologies of the future.
Additionally, on a tangential note, I got hit by a car while biking to work during the second to last week of my internship. I ended up breaking three bones in my spine among other injuries. Facebook was nothing short of incredible in the way they treated my family and me during the recovery.
How did your M&T experience prepare you for this role?
The computer science classes (especially CIS 121—Data Structures and Algorithms) I have taken at Penn played a huge role in preparing me for the interviews and for the internship itself. Additionally, through the M&T student network I have many friends who helped prepare me for the technical coding questions with mock interviews. Lastly, some M&T-specific classes including MGMT 237 (Management of Technology) and MGMT 235 (Technological Innovation & Entrepreneurship) helped give me a broader perspective of innovation and technological development. These insights enabled me to make more educated product decisions with my internship project’s development.
What are you most looking forward to about being a Facebook employee?
I am most looking forward to being able to have significant control over which technologies I use on a day-to-day basis. Facebook has a ~six week bootcamp for its new software engineers. The bootcamp is essentially an opportunity to take coding crash courses in whatever interests you. Then, after the bootcamp, you can choose which team you want to work on based on your experiences from the bootcamp. This will enable me to choose a team that optimizes my interests of 1) working with cutting edge technologies, 2) learning skills that will be beneficial to my future entrepreneurial aspirations, and 3) being surrounded by energetic, entrepreneurially minded co-workers.
What tips do you have for M&Ts going through the full-time recruiting process in the future?
1) Don’t be afraid to negotiate! When I got my return offer, I immediately asked Facebook if they could give me a year off so that I could travel the world. At first, Facebook said no, but after some negotiating and interviewing at competing firms, I was given the flexibility to defer my offer for a year.
2) If you’re trying to land a software engineering position, read “How to Crack the Coding Interview.”
3) Write down all of the technical interview questions you get after every interview. I have a list of every technical interview question I’ve ever received. This has helped me keep track of my strengths, weaknesses, and progress over time.
4) Don’t be afraid to push to get what you want. If there is a startup you are really passionate about, email them until they respond! If there is a larger company that you like, utilize the M&T alumni database to connect with employees that work there. My sophomore year, I was thinking about how cool it would be to intern at a tech company in Tel Aviv. I cold emailed about eight M&T and Penn alumni in Tel Aviv and got helpful responses from every single person!
5) Always be 100% honest and transparent with recruiters. Never ever lie or falsely lead recruiters on, because it is likely to catch up with you. I made a mistake my sophomore year of leading a startup to believe that I was going to accept its offer with very positively worded emails (though I never literally said I was going to accept the offer). Then, I turned the startup’s offer down and accepted a different offer. The startup got upset with me, and I learned my lesson. Recruiters know what you’re going through and will only find it more impressive that you’re interviewing at other places. One of the reasons I successfully negotiated with Facebook was because I was 100% transparent about what I desired, where else I was interviewing, and what I was thinking at all times. Silicon Valley is a small community—don’t do anything that will tarnish your reputation at such a young age!