“I looked across very diverse decisions—everything from deciding where to go to school, what to major in, how to spend your summers—and I realized that there were two things that were true about all of them,” she said.
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The daughter of an engineer and an art teacher, Mayer demonstrated an early affinity for math and science.
While at Wausau West High, she worked at a local grocery store, where she memorized the number codes for produce items in order to streamline the checkout process.
Most of them were software engineers, and all of the engineers were men.
Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, saw that Mayer would fit right in to the geeky boys' club (during the interview, they all chatted about a data-analysis method known as k-means clustering), and they quickly offered her a job. “I had to think really hard about how to choose between job offers,” she said. Over spring break, she studied the most successful choices in her life to figure out what they had in common.
Mayer was then a computer science graduate student at Stanford, and she’d been getting bombarded with offers from some of the world’s biggest tech firms.
“I remember I’d told myself, ‘New emails from recruiters—just hit delete.’ ” But Mayer found Google interesting.She was also on the three-person team responsible for Google Ad Words, which is an algorithm used by advertisers to get insight into the products consumers want.Ad Words helped deliver 96% of the company's revenue in the first quarter of 2011.Although she grew up thinking she would be a doctor, while at Stanford University, Mayer developed a passion for computers and went on to earn both a Bachelor of Science in symbolic systems and an Master of Science in computer science, with a specialization in artificial intelligence.But it was perhaps her research internships at SRI International in Menlo Park, California, and the UBS research lab in Zurich that helped her net 14 job offers fresh out of grad school.One evening in the spring of 1999, Marissa Mayer got a recruiting email from a tiny search company.