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Milad Mahdian – Meet the Mentor

Milad is a tech lead at Google, with a focus on improving automated bidding at Google Search and Shopping ads. Previously, he was the founder and CEO of the Turtles app, a customer marketing and engagement platform for brick and mortar small businesses.
Milad Mahdian

Tech lead and founder coach, Google

Why did you decide to become a mentor?

One of my favorite experiences here at Google has been the various opportunities to mentor and seek mentors. I have found a genuine passion to guide and support more junior engineers. I’m also a volunteer mentor for a different program to help city college students land careers in tech and finance. With this mentorship program, I hope I can help people with different backgrounds achieve their goals and reach their full potential.

How did you get your career start?

I’ve had quite a few jumps throughout my career. I initially considered getting into academia. I loved teaching and deep focused research. So I started my PhD in ECE under supervision of Prof. Edmund Yeh at Northeastern University. He was an amazing advisor. I will always be in his debt for his unwavering support throughout my PhD program. My PhD research was on information-centric networking which has many applications in cloud and mobile edge networking. We had applied for and received multiple patents based on our research, and naturally, started exploring commercial use of those applications. We ended up not pursuing that path for personal reasons, but that experience was exciting enough for me to change my mind about my career path. Instead of academia, I decided to go to NYC to work at Goldman Sachs as an associate. This was a great opportunity for me, as I had the chance to work with really smart people in the electronic trading arm of the firm, working on some of the most challenging problems in finance. I was grateful to be promoted to a Vice President after being there as an associate for only 14 months, which was a huge achievement for me. Then COVID-19 happened, and like many others, I had an epiphany. I realized I wanted to move to tech to be closer to cutting-edge technologies. So I interviewed at Google and received an offer to work in the auto-bidding team. Working at Google is an amazing, and also a humbling experience. I am grateful to be working alongside many highly talented engineers on really high-impact projects at Google ads. I am currently a tech lead at Google, leading multiple efforts in the auto-bidding team to improve bidding quality for advertisers.

What do mentees usually come to you for?

Each mentee’s goal is unique, but generally, they’re looking for a change. Some are changing jobs, some want to start a new company, or get a promotion at their current company, etc. Regardless of the type of change, my solution is focused on the big picture, finding the high priority tasks, eliminating distractions, and devising roadmap to achieve those tasks successfully. It’s a timeproof recipe.

What's been your favourite mentorship success story so far?

I had a mentee who was an intern at Google last year. He was a smart and hardworking engineer, but was very stressed about getting a return offer. Understandable especially during all the tech layoffs last year. Through the mentorship program, we were able to develop a plan and work through things he had control over, particularly his project, and networking with his teammates and leads. He was noticeably much more comfortable for the rest of his internship, and that by itself, was a success story to me. A few months ago, he PMed me that he had returned to Google as FTE! That really made my day.

What are you getting out of being a mentor?

Throughout my career and personal life, I have had to deal with many challenges, made lots of mistakes, and now here we are. I was always too scared to ask for help, so I went through these challenges all by myself. With this mentorship program, my primary goal is to be there for my mentees when facing their challenges, assist them in creating a path to overcome these obstacles, and guide them to achieve success.

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