Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Google for Graduate School Students

I started attending Graduate School last year, taking up MBA in Entrepreneurship at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. I always felt that I was education-inclined and have always wanted to pursue higher education since I was young. But surprisingly, it was only last year that I decided to take that goal seriously.

This is not my first time to take graduate studies. After I graduated in Economics in eons ago, I took an interest on computers and the Internet (imagine what the Internet was in the 90s) which triggered me to to pursue further studies and step up in aiming for an MS in Computer Science degree. Unfortunately, I had to work and eventually got married which caused that goal to a grinding halt. Graduate School is not just an endeavor but a discipline by itself and its so easy to go astray especially when you're already working and starting a family.

A lot of grad school work involves research and group work. In the MBA courses, students are expected to collaborate as much as possible - the final grade is usually a determinant of how good the collaboration went with the project. But expect a lot of people taking MBAs are not like you. In my case, I am usually one of the few who are technical in profession, where the Internet is part of daily work. So I did what I can to educate and train classmates from simple things like properly formatting a research paper, using search strings in a Google search and similar stuff.

It's no surprise that Google, a company that prides itself with academic excellence among its employees, provides graduate school students with tools and resources that can help. So far I've been using the following in my grad school journey:

  • Drive - its very useful for creating drafts that need to be reviewed and collaborated between group mates. It's good for simple document drafts, as schools usually provide Microsoft Office templates.
  • Scholar - a great search engine for scholarly literature. If you don't have access to Jstor, Ebsco, or a local database like CIPPA, Google Scholar is a great resource to use.
  • Alerts - quite useful if you need to reference fresh news on certain topics
  • Groups - You will need to collaborate with your school mates. Email would be the easiest but archiving your discussion in Groups will help a lot. But this can get very messy if your peers do not practice bottom posting or at least trimmed top posts.
  • Translate - I use this along with Scholar for machine translating materials in a different language. Sometimes accurate, but useful most of the time.
  • Research at Google - as I wrote earlier, Google is comprised of academics and make their publications available here. But most of them are technical papers geared towards engineers. But they have interesting papers on Economics and Education.
Research at Google is also Google's way of reaching out to students who wish to apply for grants awarded by the company or try and get employed by them. I must admit there was a time I tried to pursue employment at Google but that didn't prosper. Perhaps some other time through Research.

Note that all these tools are available for everyone to use. It just so happened that my use case is probably a little bit more serious than most. Hope this list helps!