Maria is a 21 years old Molecular Biology and Genetics student at Istanbul University.
She saw the Embark program as an opportunity for her to get an idea about the business environment in Turkey and find a purpose for herself from an early age. “I was in my second year at the university when I applied to the Embark program, and I had no clear information about the concept of reverse mentorship. Leading a discussion with a high-level business leader was something I never thought about before.”

In the interview with the Embark team, Maria was very excited and she mentioned her goal to show the high-level business leader a good example of youth. “When I understood the concept of reverse mentorship and realized that I have to find something to give. I said maybe I am very young, but still, I can be a bridge between two cultures and generations, and I can be a good example of young Syrian refugees in Turkey.”

Making a successful reverse mentorship relation between Maria and her mentee was not very hard. They could break the ice and set their objective from the first meeting. “My mentee was an HR Director at a very well-known company in Turkey, and we decided from the first meeting to speak openly and discuss the job interview questions from both sides. She took the role of HR, who asks and explains the questions, and I was the job seeker who answers freely without being afraid of losing the job opportunity. The aim of this for my mentee was to find a better understanding of the young generation who don’t have professional experience, their concerns, challenges, and the difficulties that they are confronting in their journey to find a job and develop better strategies for their recruitment processes. For me, it was a great experiment on how to pass the job interviews successfully. One of the best moments in the embark program was when my mentee prompted me to read books in the Turkish language, and from that moment, I read at least one chapter every day.”

To prepare herself to be a young leader, Maria attended the Embark series of Bootcamps for skills development, and she could improve her soft skills and build her CV. “My self-confidence has increased after attending the Bootcamps. I learned how to present myself and my ideas. I improved my presentation skills and leadership skills, which appeared obviously in the meetings with my mentee. I learned how to set objectives, and how to present myself professionally. Finding a job was not one of my priorities because I thought it was a bit early to have a full-time job as a university student. but Embarking on Business life- Career Management Bootcamp revealed to me the importance of internships and voluntary work to strengthen my CV and increase my chances to find better job opportunities after graduation.”

Maria was the youngest participant in the Embark program, she had friends from the school, but within the Embark community, she met with different people from various backgrounds. “I was a bit shy, and I didn’t know how to present myself because I am still young, but the Embarkers community showed me that I am not alone in this, and it’s not related to age. I see myself stronger than before because I am now a member of a trustable community of experts and good friends.”

The power of the impact:
Maria is a university student, and she can speak fluent Turkish in addition to Arabic as a mother tongue. Attending the social entrepreneurship Bootcamp shifted her point of view.

“I feel that I am not alone, I need support, and I can help too. Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp motivated me to be more aware of my social responsibilities, which led me to apply for an internship to be a translator and help refugees who cannot speak Turkish. especially, the mothers who want to find good schools for their children, I go with them and ask their questions and find better places for their kids.”

The Embark program for Maria was an important step to start her professional journey with a better understanding of the business environment in Turkey and take strong steps to build her future career.

“Thanks to the Embark program, it led me to find my purpose and my potential at a very young age, and that was the best achievement for me this year.”