Alumni Spotlight: Lena Muslem

We’re shining the spotlight on one of our remarkable KIPP alumni: Lena Muslem, an alum of KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy. We caught up with Lena this month to hear about her current internship with LinkedIn as a Sales Operations Analyst Intern and she had lots to share!

lena_muslemLena Muslem

KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy Class of 2010
Berkeley City College
Currently: Sales Operations Analyst at LinkedIn


Describe your career path. What opportunities and decisions led you to become a Sales Operations Analyst at LinkedIn?

I graduated from Drew High School in 2014; while in school I worked as a secretary at a law firm, was a Digital Media intern at CBS News, and worked at California Pizza Kitchen. Upon graduation, I applied to many colleges and was unable to attend due to financial reasons, so I attended Berkeley City College as Business major. I took a leave of absence after a year and a half at BCC; wanting to focus on finding my passions, and learned about Year Up, through a friend, who is also a KIPP alumni.

I am currently a Sales Operations Analyst Intern at LinkedIn, working on improving onboarding effectiveness within the sales organization.


Tell us a little more about Year Up. What is the application process and what does a year at Year Up entail?       

Year Up is a non-profit organization that provides young adults with professional development and technical skills, focusing on closing the opportunity divide. The program is highly competitive, with an application process including a personal essay, resume, and letter of recommendation and an in-person interview.

When you start the program, you sign a contract so you understand what’s expected of you. There is also a point system that is similar to the paycheck system at KIPP to help reinforce professional behavior in the workplace.

The program is divided into two phases: learning and development (5 months) and a corporate internship (6 months). During the L &D phase, students are seated at 8:30 am ready for class to begin. A few classes that students take include Web Development, Networking, Troubleshooting, Computer Hardware, Business Communications, and Professional Skills. Each day ends at 3:30 pm, with staff staying late to assist students with deliverables.

In order to be placed in an internship, students decide what track they would like to explore more in-depth. The available tracks for Year Up Bay Area (YUBA) are Quality Assurance, Cyber Security, Project Management, and Networking. I chose Project Management, where we focused on learning Excel and tackling large projects in smaller dosages. Your internship placement depends on a lot of factors including test scores, personality, and overall fit within 200 Year Up partnered companies, to ultimately place you at a company that fits your learning style and will challenge you.


What would you say has been the most rewarding part of Year Up?

There are two: 1) Learning new hard skills, like coding. Now having built two websites of my own during the L&D phase, I have a greater appreciation for the art. 2) The relationships that I have built – with instructors, students and at my internship. Relationships mean a lot to me, so I thank Year Up for establishing an environment, for me to build meaningful relationships with my YUBA class and my peers at LinkedIn.


Do you have any tips for potential Year Up applicants?

Make sure you understand what motivates you, your goals, and how Year Up can help you accomplish those goals. Be yourself during the interview process and tell the interviewer your story, not what you think they want to hear.


What was your most memorable KIPP moment?

Outside of the friendships that I made at KIPP, many of which I am still in contact with, I would say the music program. I have always loved music and was able to learn to play the viola. Playing the viola, allowed me to join the Golden Gate Philharmonic and attend Stanford Jazz camp.


How has KIPP impacted your life?

KIPP has taught me discipline – I learned that in order to climb the mountain to college, we always have to work hard. We have to actively go out there and make things happen because things aren’t just handed to us.


Looking for more internship and career advice? Reach out to Lena on LinkedIn!