Disclaimer — I will not be naming the Alumni from this meeting. I’ve expressed my gratitude already but if you do see this, thank you again.
Why I wanted to connect
I wanted to connect with this alumni after meeting her during the Weather Underground Trek in San Francisco that took place during mid-March of this year and was organized by the Center for Entrepreneurship. We met multiple times across the three-day trek and we kept in touch via LinkedIn during the rest of the school year.
I really enjoyed our conversations — about life, ambitions, and our shared interest in Clean Tech. Thus reaching out to her while in San Francisco for my internship was a no brainer.
She currently is working at a high-tech commercial bank which assists start-ups and newer organizations for banking and investment. She has vast experience in dealing with start-ups and has seen what is required to be successful when trying to start a venture. This coupled with her keen interest in Clean Tech helped me really understand a lot regarding the disruption happening in the energy industries and how I may be able to get involved.
What I learned
We met for coffee one Friday afternoon as everyone was getting out for the weekend and talked for a good hour. The topics ranged from our experiences and ambitions to her giving me some solid advice and actionable steps moving forward. For the sake of being relatable, I will focus on the point she made which I feel is the broadest –
“Be specific in your interests.”
For those of you reading this who are not too familiar with the Clean Tech industry, here’s my short overview. The term Clean Tech is more of an all-encompassing term. These range from the smallest chemical components for storage batteries all the way up to large scale grids reorganization — note that the variance is in size and NOT IN IMPORTANCE. All of these require different skills, experiences, outlooks, ideas etc.
For me, this meant two things –
– On a micro scale, I needed to figure out which areas I am most interest in. I list them off as solar panel, solar energy distribution methods, large scale grid distribution and solar energy business models in no particular order. These choices include both my interests and area of understanding the technology.
– On a macro scale, I need to focus on firms that are within the industry for my future career. As an international student going into my senior year, I had gone into a frenzy of applying to almost all the large corporations just to get a job. I was advised otherwise and to stay calm when making decisions on where to apply. If I really want to work with Clean Tech in the future, I should specifically look into firms that are in the industry rather than waste time in applying to firms which have a world wide name but won’t offer growth in my interests.