College of Business

Graduating to Google


by Karen Doss Bowman

 
Derek Pierce in front of Zane Showker Hall

SUMMARY: Derek Pierce, '16, has dreamed since high school of working for Google, the tech company known for a casual, informal work environment that keeps employees happy. Since then, "I've geared everything toward that," says Pierce, noting that Google receives more than 2 million applications each year.


Derek Pierce, ‘16, has dreamed since high school of working for Google, the tech company known for a casual, informal work environment that keeps employees happy. Since then, “I’ve geared everything toward that,” says Pierce, noting that Google receives more than 2 million applications each year.

That dream came true in December 2015, when Pierce was offered a position as a a staffing services coordinator for Google. One of the newest graduates of JMU’s College of Business (CoB), Pierce will move to California in July to begin his job at the company’s headquarters.

“I’m excited to go to Google and to have the opportunity to grow professionally there,” says Pierce, who double majored in quantitative finance and mathematics. “I’ve had a great experience at JMU and developed a great network of faculty and friends. The College of Business has prepared me well for this opportunity.”

Pierce also is co-owner of a CellGiant LLC, a technology company he started with his two best friends from his hometown, Doylestown, Penn. The company offers pre-owned, refurbished iPhones and wholesales iPhones with participating partners. They also are working to offer Android and other consumer products.

Though the quantitative finance curriculum is demanding, Pierce appreciates the preparation he received in the College of Business. The team component of the classes and the small group of majors allowed him to form close relationships with his cohorts and the professors.   

“We all worked closely together to accomplish a task on group projects,” Pierce says. “If someone was struggling, there was always someone else to help out. We learned that we all have strengths and weaknesses, so we could bounce ideas off each other. It was a great dynamic.

A leader on JMU’s campus, Pierce has served as president and vice president of Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary fraternity for financial information students and professionals. He also was president and treasurer of JMU Club Dodgeball and a member of the CoB Student Advisory Council. Though he’s excited about his opportunity at Google, Pierce will miss JMU.

“I’ll miss the culture, the homey feel here,” Pierce says. “JMU has become my second home.”

Published: Friday, May 13, 2016

Last Updated: Thursday, January 4, 2018

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