Beat The Streets - New York City Wrestling

In a recent partnership with Varonis Systems, Inc., five BTS youth participated in a new internship opportunity where they had the ability to gain real life skills, as well insight into various departments that make up an organization, helping put them on a road map for success. They rotated through five departments within the company including Marketing, Information Technology, Human Resources, Sales, and Finance. From Monday, July 17 to Friday, August 11, Noorshifa Arssath (University of Massachusetts Amherst, freshman), Shabab Khan (Hunter College, freshman), Yusif Noori (Robert F. Kennedy Community HS, senior), Serjey Thomas (Hunter College, freshman), and Chad Williams (Buffalo State College, sophomore) interned three to five days a week. During their time at the Varonis Headquarters, they gained relevant professional experiences and acute focus for their futures.  

BTS was invited to a special lunch with organizers of the program, Michele Siegel (HR Specialist at Varonis), and Dana Shahar (VP of HR at Varonis) during the last day of the internship for an inside look. During this, the interns spoke professionally about what they learned in each department. They noted for example, that spending time with the HR department was extremely useful specifically in teaching them what a great resource LinkedIn is for networking. As one intern stated "LinkedIn is like Facebook, but instead of being as social as possible, it's about being as professional as possible." The reviews they had for the overall internship were overwhelmingly positive and revealed how much they learned in their 5 weeks at Varonis Systems Inc.

Towards the end of this lunch, Michele and Dana surprised the interns with the news that they were going to keep the laptops they had been using throughout the program. This transformed the exterior of careful professionalism to sheer joy, all of them cheering with excitement. Serjey Thomas, who wants to study Computer Science at Hunter, was relieved at not having to figure out how he would purchase a laptop for college thanks to Varonis.

Michele, created and was the interns point person during the internship—the first of its kind. When Michele organized the internship, she wanted to ensure that the interns understood how each department was vital to the success of Varonis and the career paths of current team members, and have them take away real life skills applicable to their lives now, from every team they spent time with.

When asked about changes Michele has seen in the interns, she began by describing how she could see it was a first time experience for many of them being in a corporate setting. Michele described seeing the transformation from "wide-eyed kids to young adults."

Considering the enthusiasm on their last day, it is surprising that the interns were wary of the internship prior to their first day. Chad Williams, who had initially wanted to put his time into a paid internship, felt that the experience really paid off. "They taught us a lot of things for the future. I made connections and I networked a lot. Now I have good opportunities next summer."

Shabab Khan is glad he did this internship stating, "Because in the long run, this is going to help a lot more than a fast-food job, and is more relevant to what I want to do in computer science". Khan also spoke about how his dad's perspective of Beat the Streets had changed due to this internship. While Khan's dad previously believed that Beat the Streets was just about wrestling, "his mind was boggled" that his sons coach pushed him to get an internship and helped him outside of wrestling. "My dad didn't get it until now," said Khan.

Yusif Noori cited “the story of how Varonis began”, by Yaki Faitelson (Co Found and CEO of Varonis) to speak about his favorite lesson from the internship. "You can be that person who creates something and be that solution to whatever problem you see in the world. When you're in high school, you're thinking small scale and this broadened my view."

When asked what their favorite part of Varonis was, the interns unanimously agreed on the people and the culture. "Everyone was so nice and genuinely cared about what they were contributing. “One of the Finance team members created Excel spreadsheets to teach us about budgeting for College and Post College, as an 80 page Excel Guideline for all of the interns" said Noorshifa Arssath. Arssath also mentioned how employees not directly involved in the program provided support and advice, such as making suggestions on how to improve their LinkedIn profiles.

All five of the interns agreed that Beat the Streets should find more opportunities like this for student-athletes in the future. Considering the tremendous feedback received on the success of the program, Beat the Streets will definitely be on the lookout for more internships.

Thank you to everyone at Varonis who worked with the interns! Thank you particularly to Yaki Faitelson, Michele Siegel, and Dana Shahar for making this internship possible. Congratulations to the interns for completing this experience!

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