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Saturday, September 23, 2023

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December graduate Ari Weizman December graduate Ari Weizman

Working Backward to Success

Ari Weizman’s 3½ years at SDSU end with a job offer from Google.
By Aaron Burgin

Ari Weizman received a powerful piece of advice from a San Diego State University mentor: work backward.

“He told me that we all have these big aspirations, and the question is how do you turn those long-term goals into short-term, manageable things,” Weizman said. “So if you have this goal like ‘I want to be the COO of a Fortune 500 company,’ you work back from what do you have to do immediately before you reach that step, and so on and so forth.”

So, let’s start Weizman’s story from its concluding high point.

Weizman is set to graduate this month with a bachelor’s degree in business administration after only 3½ years. After graduation, he plans to visit his native Israel with family for a month, complete a lifelong goal by learning how to play the guitar, catch up on his reading and some movies.

Then in June, Weizman will start his new career at Google as a growth associate to help small businesses discover their marketing goals and improve their Google ads.

The Bay Area tech giant offered him the position in October after a summer internship.

“There’s no other time in my life where I’ll have six months with a job secure and having no responsibility,” said Weizman. “So I am going to discover who I am without school.”

For Weizman, graduating early and landing a job at Google was all about balance and planning in life and work, and not procrastinating.

After interning with Northrop Grumman during the end of his first year to the beginning of his sophomore year at SDSU Weizman started to think about his next internship opportunity, knowing it would likely be a critical career move .

So, the meticulous and ambitious Weizman created a Google document in August 2021 in which he listed 50 of the top companies in the country. His goal: to study and apply to at least one company per day, tracking the firms’ responses in the document.

A step to yes

A steady stream of “no’s” didn’t deter him. It was a lesson his mother taught him early in life, one that had been reinforced by his mentors and experience at SDSU.

“It took hundreds of ‘no’s’ for me to get to that ‘yes,’ but if you never give up you will get a ‘yes’ eventually — maybe not exactly how you expected but you will succeed.”

Fowler College of Business Assistant Dean Patricia van Damme was also influential.

“We have met at least once a semester, and she has grown from an adviser and mentor for my major to a powerful mentor in my life — continuously empowering me to be proud of my accomplishments while constantly pushing me forward toward my future aspirations,” Weizman said.

Van Damme said Weizman’s determination “is one of the most important attributes in mind shifting that students can have. You will hear ‘no’ many times in your life, and you can either become a pity puddle on the floor, or use that ‘no’ as a jumping block for you to bounce up.”

“A ‘no’ means ‘not now,’ not ‘not permanently,’” van Damme added. “I am beyond proud of Ari for taking that lesson to heart.”

Joining the campus service group Rotaract gave Weizman a chance to help set and achieve goals for an organization, including improvements to a recruitment process he recognized as insufficiently inclusive.

His resolve was also put to the test during 2020, when, after just nine months on campus, he began taking classes remotely along with the rest of the student population.

Weizman regularly checked in with his friends, making sure they were OK and keeping those connections alive. By the end of his freshman year in spring 2020, he got involved with Associated Students, and was named a representative of the Student Support Commission, which markets and advocates for student resources.

“In life, there are things we can and can't control,” Weizman said. “If you work hard and put in effort into the things you can control, you’ll have a bright future.”

Service to students

While serving on the commission, it created a student resources guide aimed at informing students about each resource they were eligible for.

Weizman was very proud of this accomplishment, as he thought the guide would demystify the web of opportunities available to students — especially those who are commuter students just as he is.

Remaining on campus into the evening, he got involved in student organizations. He joined a study group with four other students in his Statistics 119 course.

“It’s very hard to get involved (as a commuter student) because you really have to plan,” Weizman said. “I didn’t want that to be my narrative.  I wanted to make sure I was involved.”

From participating in campus organizations, to helping change Rotaract, to landing a dream internship to being hired by one of the world’s largest companies, it’s safe to say that Weizman accomplished his college goals.

“I feel very blessed,” Weizman said. “When I reflect on the journey, every step helped me get to the next one. And I’m so excited to think about what’s next.”