Juneteenth Celebration!

Juneteenth Celebration!

B.I.G. invites you to join all of us to celebrate Juneteenth – the African American Independence Day!

We will be celebrating in traditional New Orleans style with great food, great music, and a history moment for people who would like to know more about Juneteenth and what it represents.

“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela.

Dude Food on the Deck – Groupon HQ Father’s Day Event

Dude Food on the Deck – Groupon HQ Father’s Day Event

Are you a Dad, did you have a Dad, and/or have you ever loved a Dad?  If so, this is the event for you!!!

Nice and casual, just the way Dad likes it.

Parents@Groupon would like to see everyone come with their best Dad jokes to the rooftop deck for snacks and beer.

Make sure there’s enough for you by signing up at bit.ly/groupondad

Or just email James Ellis.

See you there!

Ana Ananthakumar – Product Manager, Supply Intelligence

Ana Ananthakumar – Product Manager, Supply Intelligence

ANA ANANTHAKUMAR

Product Manager, Supply Intelligence
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2017

Ana describes his job as being an agent for Groupon’s version of the CIA. What does that entail? We’d tell you, but…just read his story to find out!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

On the day before Halloween, I was busy at my desk working and wearing a T-shirt and jeans (on that day, my tee-shirt and jeans combo was the most formal attire). I was already enjoying the costumes people around me were wearing. Top Gun’s Tom Cruise (our engineering manager), was sitting with his costume. A few desks away, a fox was coding. I thought that things couldn’t get any more hilarious. As if to prove me wrong, I saw all hell break loose in our office: Freddy Krueger, Jason, and a lot more of the everyday villains that haunted you were walking among us.

Where were you before joining Groupon?

I was born and raised in Sri Lanka. I graduated an Electrical Engineering major, completed CFA Level 3,  and worked for Unilever’s supply chain for four years. Then, I came to Kellogg to get my MBA. This was the first time I lived outside of Sri Lanka. Last summer, I was the product manager for a drone company. Now I am here!

So tell us about your job. What do you do? What do you love about it?

I am the Product Manager for Supply Intelligence. My product—an AI platform—brings in the best supply/merchants into Groupon. I think of it as GIA (Groupon’s Intelligence Agency – like CIA). Think of it as an ‘agent’ going out and looking at all the available merchants in the market, and gathering intel about which merchant would maximize Groupon’s value in the future ⇒ repeat. I love the fact that this is at the cutting edge of technology, and that I get to impact the entire Groupon, both North American and international as well. (This is the intimidating component as well!)

Where can we find you outside of work?

I am on okay cook (Sri Lankan and South Indian cuisines) and an excellent eater. I have won eating competitions (26 pieces of pizza in one instance). I used to play rugby and chess for school/college. I am a singer and a disaster of a dancer. Currently looking for friends who might go to fighting classes, dancing (you’ve already been warned), or climbing with me.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I eat a lot of sweets. One of our team members brought in a bag full of candies that were too much even for his kid (remember, this was right after Halloween, so the bag was really big). I have been constantly eating away all those candies, alone – without the slightest hint of guilt.

I always believed that with the agile methodology things would be fast paced, but at Groupon, I have seen some of the ideas go from concept to implementation within a few sprints.

Tell us about your first impressions of Groupon.

My first interactions with Groupon were with the recruiter, an alum, and the hiring manager. I got the sense that Groupon had a very open and inclusive culture because all of these folks focused on genuinely listening to my story and understanding what I wanted to do. I also felt that Groupon focused more on potential when it came to recruiting, rather than experience (slope vs intersection argument: Groupon hires more so for the slope). This means that not only does Groupon benefit from its employees, but it also has a keen interest in investing in their skills and career development.

What do your parents think you do?

They still can’t wrap their head around the fact that a tech laggard like me is handling a product that involves a lot of AI. “So your product has something to do with AI right? And you still take notes on paper? Son, you’re like from the stone age.”

What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?

How collaborative and organized the team is. In my team, I could find a textbook example of the Agile process, and every aspect of it. We have an excellent scrum master who works on the finer details of the agile process and drives it like a religion. I remember the entire team instinctively getting up and gathering around his table at 10:30 for the daily stand…even on Mondays, the only day of the week we don’t have that meeting. As the book, “Scrum”, says, he is driving the agile methodology into our bloodstream, as a way of work that would come naturally to us.

What about the Product culture?

Despite being a large organization, I can directly see how my product impacts the business. I have responsibilities that create a meaningful impact on the entire business. This also means that I should be extremely careful about the changes I make to the product given the level of impact it has on Groupon.

What has been surprising about working at Groupon? Or what would surprise candidates to find out?

Surprising to me: How fast-paced things work. I always believed that with the agile methodology things would be fast paced, but at Groupon, I have seen some of the ideas go from concept to implementation within a few sprints.

For external folks: Work hard, play hard culture. I’ve been at Groupon for a few months and already have been with various teams to dinners, improv shows, breweries, and even rock climbing. It is great to see that the teams truly enjoy being together whether at work or outside of work!

What’s your favorite view from the office?

How does your work connect to Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

My platform brings in the local commerce to the sales reps. Very direct connection.

What are your favorite local businesses?

Horror houses. I visited one and learned that Groupon has a big impact on the incoming traffic to the industry during the Halloween season.

What do you love about your team’s Software Development process?

How well defined the user stories are and how articulate the engineers are about the user stories. The dev team has a good ‘big picture view’ of how some of the changes might have downstream and upstream impact on the business. This makes it easy for me to connect the dev process with the other parts of the business and the respective stakeholders.

One of our software developers created a presentation which illustrated our process end to end. I use it all the time when I present to others about my product and process. Not only was it easy to understand, it was also quite comprehensive. Furthermore, we have a platform called Flux for our machine-learning models. As you might have already figured out, it’s a very hard concept to grasp. The engineer in charge of that explained it to me in such a manner that I could well understand what it meant for my product and for Groupon in general.

We have another engineer who has an amazing curiosity to learn. He makes sure to ask questions to hammer out the details. He sweats the details in meetings and finally when the products are built, there is no question as to any of the nuances being overlooked. I believe that this ability to articulate so well and curiosity, are key ingredients to a successful process.

Mike Erickson – Corporate Recruiter

Mike Erickson – Corporate Recruiter

MIKE ERICKSON

Corporate Recruiter
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2013

You won’t believe what this recruiter wants you to do on a phone screen.

What teams do you recruit for?

Sales in Chicago and Phoenix

What’s your advice for someone interested in applying at Groupon?

Be yourself and only apply to roles that you are most interested in.

Anything a candidate should know about how to work with you during the recruiting process?

Be prepared to tell me why you’re excited about the role: I love chatting with folks who have that enthusiasm for the position that they are applying for!

What qualities do the most successful sales reps have?

First and foremost, ya gotta WANT to be in sales. Sales is tough: you have to know why you want to be in a sales role in order to succeed. Whether you are money motivated or passionate about helping small businesses, that “why” has to be a clear motivator for you to keep pushing through those tough sales days. Once you have that, I find that the people who know how to nail that balance being coachable and being self-sufficient are our strongest sales reps. We have a great team of mentors and leaders here who know how to be successful, but at the same time, they won’t make your calls for you. Striking that balance is key for finding that success.

What’s your proudest Groupon accomplishment?

Being a Sales Recruiter is usually a lot of crazy ups and downs in terms of volume. One of our craziest times was the opening of our sales office in Phoenix; everyone was all-hands-on-deck to get quality people in the office and making sales and it was all during the holiday season. We filled the office then and I continue to fill it today, now being the primary recruiter for the Phoenix office. I love that office a ton and I’m happy I get to interact with them on a daily basis!

What’s the #1 thing you wish all candidates did?

Beatbox during phone screens.

Tell us more about the Phoenix office! What’s it like there?

The Phoenix office has such an infectious and positive energy to it. I’ve visited a handful of times recently, and as soon as you walk in the door it’s hard not to have a smile on your face. I will describe it as best as I can:

As you enter the office, you see the gleaming smile of our Sales Trainer, Jabril Baker, giving some solid sales advice while boppin’ to whatever jam is being played by Marlon Evans, one of the sales managers. I turn to my left and say “WAZZUP” to Kelly Light, the Site Director, and give Sam, the Phoenix HR Business Partner, a high five. I keep walkin’ past all the sales folks, giving as many finger guns as humanly possible, then make my way to the crown jewel of the office; the Coke Freestyle machine. I pour myself a refreshing beverage then head back to my makeshift desk space. As I’m about to start doing some work, my senses are absolutely overloaded with the fresh scent of the peanut-butter stuffed pretzels, the snack of snacks. I grab a handful and try to hold back happy tears. “This is paradise,” I say to no one in particular.

“The only Keane album I enjoyed was Strangeland.”

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

I get to hire people who help small businesses find success in an increasingly big-business world. I’m super into that. I love small businesses and we get to help them succeed.

Talk about your involvement with Blacks in Groupon (BiG) – what does your partnership with them look like?

I’m the talent partner for Blacks In Groupon (BiG). My goal is to provide resources to the group as to how to utilize their networks to bring in top talent, as well as being a resource for current members in terms of internal options if they want to search for a new role at the company.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

I do a lot of comedy stuff here in Chicago, and in April of 2014 I had my first live show. I was so nervous to actually perform in front of people for the first time, and a few minutes before showtime, I look out into the audience and my entire recruiting team was in the front row. This was the first time it really hit me how lucky I was to work for this great company. Here was this team that barely knew me, front row of a show in which I danced around the stage like Paula Deen. I’ll never forget that for as long as I live.

Who inspires you?

Folks who wear shorts during the winter because “they don’t get cold.” Hehe, just kidding. I have been inspired by a wide variety of things, but mostly musical theater, baseball games, and my brother Samb.

Do you beatbox on phone screens?

What was your first impression of Groupon?

Whoa! What a cool place. How neat are these swinging chairs! Let me go to the 4th floor to check that out. Oh god, I am locked in a stairwell.

What’s your favorite local business?

Southside Sub Shop in Elmira, NY. They have the best bread in the world. They also do this thing where they add just a smidge too much mayonnaise, but it mixes with the bread and hot peppers so well that you don’t even care at all.

What’s something that candidates are surprised to learn about Groupon?

The vast majority of the company has breakfast at least a few times a week.

If you could do any other job for a day, what would it be?

My dream job is to be what Andy Richter is to Conan – the late night host’s sidekick.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

The only Keane album I enjoyed was Strangeland.

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Steve – Finance Manager in London

Steve – Finance Manager in London

STEVE

Finance Manager
London
Joined: 2012

Last year, a few members of our Chicago-based Finance team had the chance to relocate to London in order to establish a center of operations for international finance. Steve was one of those lucky Finance Managers who made the move, bringing his expert karaoke skills across the pond to Groupon’s London office.

So tell us about your job! What do you do every day? What do you love about it?

I work in the Financial Planning and Analysis organization, which forecasts our performance and helps communicate our results to senior leadership.  We’re responsible for all countries outside of North America. It’s very interesting to interact with the folks who are running the business day-to-day and to see their perspective on what makes their business tick. Learning happens on both sides of the table. The exposure is great as we have meetings with everyone up to the CEO.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

We had a mariachi band come to the office one day to play for us. They were fantastic; it’s the kind of randomness that makes working at Groupon fun and unique.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by the hard work of the team that reports to me. They have incredible drive, passion, and dedication to moving the ball forward on new projects and making us work smarter every day.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

I was really impressed with how passionate everyone was; my team’s function was relatively new when I joined, and everyone was excited to establish what our focus should be and how we could push forward our team’s mission. I think that kind of “blank slate” made the first few months—which are normally stressful or slow in a new job—super fun and engaging.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

My team’s work is used by the leadership as a source of truth to help them understand how their decisions are shaping the results of the business. The finance team is always working to understand how customer behaviour is reacting to a change in how we operate or a new product we offer.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on in your time here?

I think taking over the international FP&A team earlier this year was the biggest challenge. I had never done FP&A before, and the team was also relatively new to the business. We also need to work across a few different time zones, as my manager is in Chicago and we also look after Japan and Australia.

Your role exists in other companies, so what makes your job at Groupon unique?

For me, it’s always been the great way that finance works day-to-day with the leadership teams operating the business; we aren’t in our own silo but instead part of the greater team. This leads to great opportunities to get your thoughts heard and to help with key decisions.

What’s your biggest accomplishment while working here?

18 months ago, a group of us from the Chicago office relocated to London to help establish a centre of operations for the international finance team. We were able to transfer some of the knowledge and process we established in North America’s business, as well as learn a whole lot from the business leaders in our EMEA and APAC businesses. I think it was a great success and we’ve been able to build a stronger global team from the project.

What do your parents think you do?

I’m not sure, but I hope they think I operate a giant coupon printing press, monitoring ink levels and stressing out about card stock quality…

What’d you do before Groupon and how’d you get here?

I was in investment banking prior to joining Groupon. Investment banking was super presentation-oriented as opposed to a ton of analysis, which was the piece I was more interested in. I wanted to work in a more casual and fast-paced environment, so I was drawn to Tech. I actually just applied straight through the website and got a response the very same day! I remember being the most formally-dressed person in the building when I came in for my interview and was surprised to find that a lot of the other people I interviewed with had similar backgrounds to mine. They came from more traditional finance roles and then switched over to the tech industry.

If you could do another job for a day, what would it be and why?

Maybe a head chef? I love food and wish I was better at making some for myself!

What’s your favorite local business?

It has to be “The Orange Buffalo.” It’s a Buffalo wing food truck in the Shoreditch neighborhood of London, and it reminds us of home!

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I am the finest karaoke performer on my team.

What are you up to when you’re not at work?

I love to travel; I just reached 33 countries the other day. Living over here has opened up the door to a ton of cheap flights to great places. Since moving here I’ve traveled to France, Ireland, Poland, the Netherlands, Poland, Morocco, Japan… the list goes on!

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