Ever heard of Electronic Arts? The software giant is the genius behind popular games franchises like The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield™, and Mass Effect™. The company boasts over 9000 employees worldwide, and a 2012 net profit of $4.1 billion. In short, EA is huge, and as Kiran Basra found out, has the space and resources to help students grow.
So how did Kiran land a gig at one of the world’s leading games companies? She asked politely. “I knew someone who worked at EA on the FIFA team,” she notes, “I emailed him, and told him I was into analytics, and asked if he knew anybody looking for someone.” From there, Kiran’s information was shuttled to her friend’s colleague on the marketing team, who then put her in contact with University Relations. At this point, Kiran looked for job descriptions on the company website that interested her, and pulled bits and pieces of each position together to give University Relations an idea of what her strengths were, and what she would be able to offer. University Relations took this information along with Kiran’s resume, and matched her to a job, which Kiran then applied for and landed.
At first, the learning curve was steep for Kiran, who had some experience in data analytics from her previous Co-op position with openmedia.ca, but a relatively limited technological background. At EA, Kiran utilized Google Analytics to run reports and create data related to other teams’ website traffic upon request. She would then use plugins to pull data into tables and Microsoft Excel to create pivot tables and graphs which would eventually turn into reports. When asked about her on-the-job learning experience with EA, Kiran said, “considering I didn’t know as much as my manager would have liked at the beginning, I was really confident throughout the role, and it went really well.”
This confidence comes months after a nerve-racking interview with her team manager and development director where she was grilled with technical questions and lingo that she was unfamiliar with. “I thought, ‘there’s no way I’m getting this job.’ I just tried to relate my experiences from my previous Co-op job, to demonstrate my skills and learning ability.” After a year working at EA, Kiran certainly proved that her blend of communication skills, analytical skills and prior Co-op experience made her an excellent fit within her team. She was approached by multiple teams regularly for reports and data analysis, proving that she had picked up the software knowledge she needed quickly.
For students looking to go into an analytics Co-op position, Kiran explains that Communication students shouldn’t shy away from job postings that might seem out of their reach. “Companies like EA are willing to teach you on the job, and you are a huge plus to them if you are a quick learner. There are tons of opportunities: event organizers, production coordinators, internal communications, business, marketing, social media . . . you just need to get your foot in the door.” Kiran also notes that EA specifically has a fantastic new graduate hiring program, and that candidates interested in trying their hand in the tech industry, should apply.
What’s next for Kiran? Currently, she is working on finishing her Communications degree with the help of a $5000 scholarship courtesy of EA! The Linda Srere Scholarship goes to 5 or 6 trainees and past and current EA co-ops/ interns around the world – just one of the many benefits to working for a large-scale tech company like Electronic Arts. As for what the future holds for Kiran? With her Co-op experiences at EA and openmedia.ca, her in-demand skills in web analytics, and her drive to make things happen, the future looks pretty bright!