Software Development Intern
Carnegie Mellon University
New Jersey native Umang talks about how self-driving cars in Pittsburgh are NBD and how he slowly came to accept Groupon’s weird obsession with cats.
Tell us about the team you’re interning for.
I’m working on the Supply Intelligence and Dynamic Pricing team. On the supply intelligence team, we work to decide which merchants Groupon should target to onboard next. Using our proprietary machine learning model, we automatically curate calling lists for every Groupon sales representative around the world. On the dynamic pricing side, we are building a pricing engine that handles price changes for Groupon deals based on demand forecasting and deal performance. Intelligent prices drive value for merchants as well as keep customers engaged; our goal is to continuously iterate to derive the optimal price of a Groupon deal.
Describe your internship in 3 words:
Satisfying, eye-opening, Jabber-filled.
What was your first impression of Groupon?
“Groupon rhymes with coupon; well, this ought to be an interesting summer.” My experience here has been much less interesting/mundane and much more fascinating/demanding. How can Groupon strategize to stay at the forefront of its niche? How can Groupon become a daily habit for all users? These are questions I toil with every day with my manager and mentors, who help make my every day at work intense yet rewarding. An aside: the cat obsession really confused me for the first week or so, but then you become immune to it, don’t worry.
“It’s awesome to see how open everyone is to meeting 1:1 to talk about their work and to get to know you on a personal level. Be it a first-year engineer or a senior director, everyone is welcoming and ready to grab coffee or lunch. All they will say when you ask is ‘toss time on my calendar’.”
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired in two ways. In regards to my personality and character, I am inspired by my guru, Mahant Swami Maharaj. His humility, patience, and happiness leave me awestruck every day. I strive to emulate his qualities in all that I do so that I too can live a fulfilling and spiritual life. In terms of my career, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Sundar Pichai, Ben Horowitz, and the like keep me hungry for more. Reading about their ethic, focus, and grit shows me what I need to bring to the table if I want to see my product vision become a reality.
What’s the most innovative technology you’ve experienced in your lifetime?
Going to school in Pittsburgh, I feel self-driving cars are no longer abnormal. Aside from the smart phone and the personal computer as hallmarks of innovation, I have to say the self-driving cars I see on a daily basis are one of the most innovative pieces of technology we have today.
Your Instagram is mainly photos of….
My failed attempts of landscape photos of the places I visit and portrait photos of the people I spend time with.
What do your parents think you do?
My mom thinks I code, my dad thinks I’m in Sales.
Favorite restaurant in your current city?
Bad Hunter in the West Loop.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Can you write a Groupon haiku?
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