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!

Groupon World Headquarters

Andrew Lisy – Director of Product, Marketplace

Andrew Lisy – Director of Product, Marketplace

ANDREW LISY

Director of Product – Marketplace Team
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2014

From bond trading on Wall Street to e-commerce in Chicago, Andrew has taken his high-stakes modeling experience to the more local-focused (and probably slightly less stressful) environment of Groupon.

Tell us about what you do! What do you love about it?

I lead our marketplace teams, which comprise everything related to supply and pricing. In the supply world, we split it into two groups — Supply Intelligence (SI) and Scalable Supply (SS). The SI role is really fun because it’s heavily driven by machine learning models and decision science. I used to be a Wall Street bond trader, so a lot of the mechanics that go into determining the best merchants to bring onto Groupon’s platform are very, very similar to the models I used to use to pick the best stocks and bonds to trade as a trader. On the scalable supply side, I get very involved in partnerships with a variety of companies that do really cool stuff in the local space. We work with these companies to list their inventory on our platform. Finally, pricing is really fun for a lot of reasons — there’s the fun/academic/nerdy/trader/financial side of building out elasticity models, the immediate gratification of seeing our work appear on the front page of the site, and the thrill of working with an amazing engineering and data science team.

What do your parents think you do?

Me texting my mom: “What do you think I do for work”

Mom: “Big data? Head of all data? Analyzes data? Did you get a sitter for Friday?”

So what’s unique about being a Product Manager at Groupon?

More than anywhere else I’ve worked, being a PM at Groupon means ownership. PMs really own their areas and are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of their product(s). It’s an incredible feeling — every day, I come in and influence a big part of a major e-commerce site with tens of millions of users.

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

Incredibly tightly! In order to create a daily habit, we have to have amazing supply and incredible prices. The work I do every day ensures that the merchants we’re bringing onto Groupon are the best ones to engage and delight our customers when they pull the app out of their pocket. If I do my job well, Groupon becomes an indispensable place to check every day to find great merchants around your area.

In order to create a daily habit, we have to have amazing supply and incredible prices. The work I do every day ensures that the merchants we’re bringing onto Groupon are the best ones to engage and delight our customers when they pull the app out of their pocket.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

When we launched card linked offers (CLO), we got a group of product managers in Chicago to go bar hopping to 3 or 4 bars that were in CLO. It was grueling work, and we were all in pretty rough shape after several hours of exhaustive product testing (and testing. and more testing). We try to do this sort of thing every time we launch something new. It’s a really fun way to “eat our own dogfood” and have a great time with co-workers.

Where were you before joining Groupon?

I was a trader — I traded convertible bonds at Merrill Lynch, options at a hedge fund, and then worked in strategy at a high-frequency trading firm. I loved the excitement of the markets, but something really clicked when I started building my own trading platforms for me and my trading group to use. One day, I work up and realized that building the platforms was what really thrilled me, and the trading part was just incidental. At that moment, I decided that I wanted to move to Product.

Smart people doing interesting work

Join us!

What was your first role here and how did you get to where you are today?

I started as a Senior Product Manager on a product called Quantum Lead (QL). QL was (and is) a very data intensive program and tightly connected with our sales org, so I spent a lot of time with our data science teams and sales teams. After working on that for a while, another fairly quantitative role opened up leading our pricing team, and my experience was a good fit to take that on as well. We’re always looking to give people new challenges and opportunities, and it was a really fun space to dive into.

Where can we find you outside of work?

I like making stuff, toys, and eating. Cooking satisfies all three of these interests, so I’m really into making delicious food. I’ve also been getting into woodworking lately because it’s fun to come home from a long day of making code and jump into making physical stuff out of wood. I like making cutting boards because they’re fairly complicated to make but also can come out looking really nice. Finally, I like photography, so I document both of these hobbies on some small personal blogs I keep around.

And lastly, Vim or Emacs?

nano (/nerdcred). I used to be a pretty heavy emacs user but basically lost all of that muscle memory.

Groupon World Headquarters

Varun Sood – Director of Engineering, Consumer Web

Varun Sood – Director of Engineering, Consumer Web

VARUN SOOD

Director of Engineering, Consumer Web
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2015

Former boarding school runaway Varun talks about the unique opportunity to make a huge impact on local communities worldwide alongside engineers who make each other better developers.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

It was the first viewing of our new Engineering space in Chicago. From standing desks to pairing stations to state-of-the-art conference rooms, it visually articulated how deeply the company was invested in its engineering and software development teams and processes.

Tell us about your job! What do you love about what you do?

I currently support the consumer web engineering group that is responsible for search and discovery, engagement, and the conversion experience on both the desktop and touch platforms. A good portion of my role involves working with stakeholders to align our deliverables with our mission. The thing I love about my role is building solutions that delight our consumers, helping our engineers learn and grow, and providing value to the business. Another thing I love about my job is having 1-1’s with my team members. We have really talented individuals in Groupon Engineering and I always learn a lot from those meetings.

So what was your first role here and how’d you get to where you are today?

I joined Groupon as an Engineering Manager for the web deal page team. I got to my current role by following three principles:

 

  1. Creating and fostering a collaborative environment
  2. Learning from others
  3. Solving problems the right way

“Although we connect local communities, the scale and impact of the engineering and product teams’ work are truly global. Not many companies provide a platform where you are exposed to this sheer volume of users.”

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve worked on?

When I first came to Groupon, there was a big focus on improving the latency of our web platform. Our web experience was great but just wasn’t fast enough. In the last 18 months, we have improved our numbers to match and in some cases exceed industry standards and we added more rigor around best practices related to performance. Working through these improvements was challenging, but the team’s focus was amazing and the results were worth it.

Tabs or spaces?

Tabs for sure.

What do your parents think you do?

I come from a family of medical practitioners, so I am not sure they completely understand what I do. If my mom has any trouble with her mobile, she calls me thinking I can fix anything just because I told her a while back I make mobile websites.

What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?

We feed off each other’s successes. This creates a very collaborative environment where everyone is rooting for each other to succeed. It also allows each individual to make a bigger impact.

What’s been most surprising about Groupon Engineering?

Although we connect local communities, the scale and impact of the engineering and product teams’ work are truly global. Not many companies provide a platform where you are exposed to this sheer volume of users.

What’s your favorite local business?

It has to be India House in Chicago. It has awesome Indian cuisine and desserts, plus they run deals on Groupon+ from time to time.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I once ran away from my boarding school (I was in second grade and feeling homesick). Luckily the school guards caught up with me, otherwise I was heading home.    🙂

Groupon World Headquarters

Ernesto Martin – Senior Finance Manager

Ernesto Martin – Senior Finance Manager

ERNESTO MARTIN

Senior Finance Manager
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2013

Ernesto’s mom may believe he’s actively trying to work as far away from Spain as possible, but if we had the opportunity to work in 4 countries and try our hand at acting, we too would pack our bags and go wherever Groupon sent us.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

Lots of options after 4 years in many countries! In Madrid’s office, we always produced our own content for Halloween, Christmas, and other events, and I had the honor to try acting a bit in 2014.

Tell us about your day-to-day work.

I manage the Finance side of Sales for North America. We work with different departments to make sure that our Sales team can have the tools to improve their efficiency. We help model new initiatives and tests. Finally, my team is in charge to set up compensation schemes and get Sales team paid in a timely, accurate, compliant manner.

Give us some background on your where you started and how you got to where you are now!

I joined as Finance Manager for Spain and Portugal as a member of the Southern Europe Finance team. As we grew the business and started to generate standard processes, I was offered a chance to join the European team in London that created a central finance function for the International Business. My job was to manage all processes related to Sales. I was the Business Finance partner for Sales, Sales Ops, Sales Compensation, and Merchant Payments. Groupon asked me to leverage that knowledge acquired in the international markets and move to Chicago to continue my work in Sales Finance, and here I am now! Groupon is a global business that allows us to grow and get out of our comfort zones.

What’s challenging about your work?

Sales Finance in international is quite challenging, as you need to coordinate different countries, languages, opinions, and timezones.

Who inspires you?

Anybody who is able to challenge the status quo and motivate the rest of us to improve things.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

From the very first day, I believed that Groupon had a rich culture with regards to ownership and inclusion. All opinions are respected and it is really easy to share your ideas and to see the impact of what you do. I also had the feeling that things were a bit messy in the beginning and now I feel really impressed about how much we have improved over time.

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

We try to maximize the potential of the sales team, making sure that we can get as many relevant deals as possible available for our users.

OK, so your role probably (definitely) exists at other companies, so why Groupon? What keeps you excited to come to work every day?

Groupon sales process is very complex. You need to be able to show to merchants how Groupon can help their business, but that is just half of it, as you also need to set a successful deal structure. The fact that our sales reps are not selling a closed product means that they all need to be experts in every single category they cover. We have an army of extremely talented salespeople and a constant need to update our assumptions. Nowhere else you can get the adrenaline of knowing you can always beat yourself.

Where can we find you outside of work?

I love traveling and tennis. I am also in love with Chicago’s steakhouses, and that is ruining my budget for traveling and my body for tennis.  🙂

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

Sales, the most important department in almost every company!

What’s your favorite local business?

Any business on Groupon+

What’s your biggest accomplishment while at Groupon?

We created a centralized process for deal approval and special redemptions for international. We had to coordinate Risk, Finance, Merchant Payments, Accounting, Sales and Global operations for all countries and all lines of business. The process was relevant and gave me a lot of exposure to all levels of management, as I was the owner of the project and had the chance to make a positive impact in management efficiency and forecasting accuracy across the region. I learned a lot about coordinating teams in different time zones and process compliance. Also, some commercial skills as we were constantly exposed to ongoing negotiations with our merchants. 

What do your parents think you do?

My mother believes I intentionally pick any job opportunity that gets me further away from Spain.

Why do you participate in Groupon en Español?

I just joined Groupon en Español, and so far, after a couple of activities, I think it is a great way to interact with other colleagues and also see the impact that your employer has in the community.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I like music festivals and techno music. This summer I went to Burning Man and I will try to repeat next year.

 

 

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Groupon World Headquarters

Lauren Mullins – Senior Sales Campus Recruiter

Lauren Mullins – Senior Sales Campus Recruiter

LAUREN MULLINS

Senior Sales Campus Recruiter
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2016

You can find Lauren all over the Midwest visiting campuses & recruiting future Groupon sales talent. OK, or you can find her at Taco Bell.

What teams do you primarily recruit for?

Sales for Chicago and Phoenix

What are some best practices for candidates to keep in mind when applying or interviewing at Groupon?

I specifically recruit college students for full-time, entry-level sales positions and know most of my candidates won’t have a ton of sales experience. Because of that, we are looking for transferable skills and for students to be able to tell stories in the interview process that show they have those skills. I am a firm believer in the STAR method of answering behavioral interview questions! If students can bring the skill set, we’ll teach them how to sell Groupon to local businesses.

So what should a university student expect from the recruiting process?

So glad you asked! You can learn more about our Sales Recruiting process here.

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

That our sales teams are ‘verticalized’ by category of business instead of assigned to territories or zip codes. For example, sales reps don’t just call on say Austin or Pittsburgh and call all different kinds of businesses. They call all across the U.S. and Canada to businesses within one vertical, such as Health, Beauty, and Wellness, Things to Do, or Services. They become an expert in that category instead of a specific market, which helps them be more productive.

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

When we meet students on campus at career fairs, most don’t do their research on companies or know what roles companies are recruiting for. We get a lot of students that come up and ask “what’s Groupon?” or “do you have any positions in X field?” The hosts of career fairs usually provide the list of companies attending and you can look on campus job boards to see what positions they’re recruiting for in advance of the event so you’re prepared. It can really set you apart if you approach booths knowing a little about the company, why you’re interested in the company, and what role you want to go after.

 

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

I hire sales talent from college campuses – the people who work with local merchants every day to ensure there is a strong selection of deals for Groupon customers to shop!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

I love that Groupon has a personality and always keeps you on your toes. Most recently, the day before Halloween someone hired spooky professionals to greet people as they came into the office. It was very unexpected and entertaining. Just the other day the Abominable Snow Monster from Rudolph was randomly walking around the office. People work very hard at Groupon, but also don’t take things too seriously, which makes it fun to come to work every day!

What was your first impression of Groupon?

When I came in for my onsite interview, I immediately felt like it was a place where I could be myself personally (and not hide my inner cat lady) as well as professionally.

What are your favorite local businesses?

Is the Taco Bell on Addison considered local? I kid, but how can I pick just one for reals? Top three foodie spots right now are Southport Grocery, Real Good Juice Co, and El Tapatio. Okay, one more, Ema… YUM.

Give us a glimpse of your workspace!

If you could have any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

I’d be the handler for the University of Georgia mascot, UGA, who’s the most handsome English Bulldog! He’s quite the celebrity, and I love all things University of Georgia – especially football season and when UGA sits in his dawg house on the sideline. If this didn’t work out or wasn’t possible, I’d open up a Cat Coffee & Cocktail Lounge, where you could sip on things and potentially adopt a furry friend!

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I am REALLY passionate about my alma mater (see desk pic) and I volunteer as the President of the UGA Alumni Association Chicago Chapter in my spare time!

Women@Groupon

Groupon World Headquarters