Starting out in networking and forming connections can lead to landing your first internship in high school.
Today we're sharing an email we received from Fathima Shaikh, a BETA Camp alum and now an incoming freshman at UC Berkeley. Fathima shares how she re-approached her mindset around cold outreach and networking to land her first internship and more.
"Hello Ivy and Yifan!
Hope you've been doing well so far. I don't know if you check the BETA Camp spring 2021 slack anymore, which is why I am reaching out via email with an update of what I've been up to so far (none of which would've been possible without BETA Camp). I know I participated in BETA Camp a year ago, but its impact on my life has seriously extended way beyond just the cohort.
I went into BETA Camp expecting to learn how to cultivate a business. I left BETA Camp with the fundamentals to do so but along with one other thing that has been changing a lot of things about me - networking.
On Friday, I had my first ever in-person coffee chat with someone whose career I was interested in learning more about. I've developed an interest in real estate development, and the lady I was meeting had a plethora of experience and is up and coming in the industry. I was nervous as heck and arrived at the café early to attempt to calm my nerves.
The chat went amazing and I learned so much. She wanted to meet again and show me a development her company was currently doing (her company is called Related, they worked on Hudson Yards in NYC).
I know it is a small thing, but if you asked me a year if I'd be meeting professionals at the age of 16 for coffee, I would've said "hell no".
She actually originally thought I was an MIT student (since an MIT professor introduced me to her) and was surprised when I said I was just a junior in high school.
After the enriching chat, I reflected on how I'd grown from just an ambitious student to someone actively taking steps to bring myself up the ladder despite not even being in college.
These next 2 weeks, I am booked with many more coffee chats with real estate professionals. I'd never have been able to do this without BETA Camp showing me your age does not really matter. Your ambitions and goals do. BETA Camp exposed me to networking online and because of that, I am able to now network in person too.
Along with these, I've landed an internship at a company called "The Community Builders". They work on affordable housing and property developments that build strong communities amongst the low-income populations around America. In the summer, I emailed the president who then forwarded my email to the president of the Midwest region who then scheduled a call with me, agreed to board me on his team and connected me with his staff. Last Thursday, I entered one of their completed developments where over 600 people live (200 of them being youth).
Once again, everything I touched on in this email never would've been able to get done without BETA Camp exposing me to writing emails and scheduling calls to people I don't personally know. The business setting that BETA Camp builds for its students mimics the real world and it's something I didn't even notice until recently. Even the experience I got while I was interning as lead gen at the beginning of the year has shown me so much that many other high schoolers do not get to see.
There is much much more I'd like to tell you, but this email has gotten extensive already. I hope that BETA Camp continues to change lives like it changed mine.
Thank you both, I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week!