My Journey to Google

By Jalil Ahmad, Fall 2015 SJSU Fellow

It’s Fall of 2015, and the Braven Accelerator Course is slowly coming to an end. Feeling extremely confident with the skills I acquired and the professional connections I made as a result of Braven, I decided to take a shot at my dream company and apply for Google’s BOLD internship program. After making that decision, my cohort went on to win Braven’s Capstone Challenge. As luck would have it, our prize was a tour of Google’s campus in Mountain View. Putting two and two together, I thought to myself, “This is it. Clearly I am meant to be at Google. A month or so from now, I’ll be getting an email from Google for an interview. Then, I’ll knock that out of the park and BOOM– I’ll be interning for Google over the summer.”

As my cohort and I walked through Google’s campus, took pictures with Google’s first self-driving car, rode their colorful bikes, and networked with employees, I began to get comfortable with what I thought would be my new workplace over the summer. Fast forward a month from our site visit, and one of my predictions came true– I received an email from Google; only, instead of “Please let me know if this interview date works for you”, it was along the lines of, “Sorry, but we won’t be moving forward with your application. Thank you for applying.”

I immediately reached out to everyone I met during my site visit to Google, including two of our Braven Leadership Coaches who work at Google. I essentially begged them to find a way to give my application another chance. Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do, so my dream of interning with Google that summer came to an end.

However, I didn’t let this discourage me. I told myself that, one way or another, I would be back at Google as an intern. Since I was in my junior year at San Jose State, I realized how critical getting an internship would be for my career, so I continued to look and apply for other internships. Thanks to Braven’s partnerships in the Bay Area, I was able to secure an internship with Teach For America as an Operations Coordinator. During that summer I was able to develop my professional skills, build my resume, and expand my network.

It is now the last day of my internship, and out of a casual conversation, I shared with my manager that I didn’t get accepted into Google’s BOLD program. She immediately interjected and told me that her boyfriend was head of the intern program at Google, and that she could connect me to him. At that moment, my flame for Google that began to slowly die out was immediately rekindled. I knew, right then and there, that this would be a critical piece to solving the ‘how to get into Google’ puzzle.

Fall semester comes around, and Braven invites me to come back to their program as the Communications and Operations Intern. As the deadlines for summer internships began to approach, I had flashbacks of my rejection email that I had gotten from Google, just one year prior. With my confidence somewhat rattled, I began applying to many different internships from tech to retail. But then, I suddenly had an epiphany; I recalled something I heard Will Smith say in an interview: “There’s no reason to have a plan B because it distracts from plan A”. Now, by this point I had already secured an opportunity for the summer, so I couldn’t fully apply this quote to myself, but it was still very relevant. I knew Google was what I wanted, so I thought to myself, “why am I not fully focused on that? Why am I already thinking about plan B, when plan A is still a possibility?” Then I recalled how the universe works, and my firm belief in the law of attraction: Whatever you put out into the universe is what you receive. I knew that I had the skills, experience, and professional network needed to intern at a company like Google, and the only thing that could hold me back at this point was a defeatist attitude.

With that being said, I applied and I am pleased to say that I will be joining Google as a BOLD intern this upcoming summer.