Alumnus of the Month - Yahya Gahbiche
By International Programs and Yahya Gahbiche , March 15, 2022
We recently caught up with Yahya Gahbiche from Tunisia. He graduated from Green River College in 2017 with an Associate in Business. Yahya shares how he navigated the OPT landscape and networked to get his current job as a Machine Learning Data Associate at Amazon.
Did you do OPT after you graduated from GRC? How did GRC help you?
Yes, after graduating from GRC I wanted to get a job first before transferring to a university. I knew that experience was going to be crucial for the years that will follow. I was fortunate to land an entry-level job at the corporate Amazon office in Seattle.
GRC helped me with the OPT process. I want to give special thanks to my advisor who walked me through the OPT application and made sure I didn't skip any steps.
Where did you transfer to? What was your major? When did you graduate from your transfer university?
I transferred to Seattle University and majored in Business Analytics. Fortunately, it was a STEM major which means that I could apply for STEM OPT and get three years of work opportunity after graduation. I graduated in fall 2020 in the middle of the pandemic.
I understand you are now working for Amazon? Please tell us a little bit about your job and how you came across this opportunity?
During my first year at Amazon in 2018, I felt very inspired to be working in such a dynamic environment where the opportunities for growth and success were abundant.
One of the benefits of working at the Seattle headquarters is that Amazon would regularly organize large networking events so it was the ideal environment for me to grow my network. With each interaction I had, I shared my enthusiasm, genuine personality, and interest in technology.
After I finished my year of OPT I left Amazon to transfer to Seattle University, though I made it a goal for myself to come back to Amazon. Shortly after graduating I went on LinkedIn and reached out to a software engineer who I worked with on a project. I sent him my resume, where I included the projects I worked on in school, and he then referred me for the job I currently have, which he thought I would be a great fit for. It does pay off to build strong connections with your peers and managers.
In my current role, I collaborate across diverse teams, design new experiments that aim to improve a customer’s shopping experience and update key features on the Amazon website for all 18 countries wherein Amazon operates.
What are your goals after your OPT?
My goal is to use the time I have at Amazon to get sponsored for an H-1B visa or Green Card. After that, I would like to go back to school and pursue an MS in Data Science.
What kind of advice would you give GRC graduates who would like to participate in OPT?
Apply for jobs even if you think you don’t qualify for them. Ask people questions and follow up with them. Work on fun projects and share them online on your website, your LinkedIn profile, and your resume. That's how you'll be noticed. There are so many opportunities at Amazon and other companies; just find something you're passionate about and pursue it.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Be kind to yourself and be grateful for every experience you have because you never know, that experience may turn out to be a stepping stone to your next big dream.
Here is a LinkedIn article I wrote about meeting Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon.
Another blog post I wrote in 2019 when I determined to come back to Amazon