The good news about sales—especially at growing technology companies—is that it’s a meritocracy. The better you do, the more money you’ll make, and the farther your career can go. If you’re dedicated, driven, and talented, it’s a short path to a $100k salary…and beyond.
The problem: Getting hired isn’t a meritocracy. It’s often about having the right experience, the right internships, or—unfortunately—knowing the right people. When you’re a new graduate with potential than proof, those things can be hard to come by.
That’s why SV Academy was founded. Through a four-week, remote intensive training program that involves learning sales methodologies, tech platforms like Salesforce, social intelligence training, and personal coaching, you can become the perfect candidate for sales roles in tech hubs like San Francisco and New York City. And it’s completely free of charge.
Here’s a look at how three different people changed their lives—and their careers—through SV Academy’s Business Development Fellowship.
Lupe Paid Off Half Her Student Loans And Broke Six Figures In Her First Year
Lupe, who graduated from the fellowship at SV Academy in July 2018, was living in Madrid teaching English before her program started. She wanted to come back to the states, but living in her home city was prohibitively expensive, and she had student loans to pay off, too.
“I needed financial freedom and stability. I grew up in foster care, so I lived all over the Bay Area. I knew that education was my only way out, and being from the Bay Area, working in tech was the way to make money,” Lupe says. “And I knew that I once I got in, I’d be in, but I didn’t have a network in the industry.”
That’s when one of her professors forwarded her an email from SV Academy. It almost sounded too good to be true. A free, remote training course with job interviews at the end of it? But the concept wasn’t too unfamiliar for here.
“I knew a lot of people who were doing these bootcamps for coding, and this was the same thing for sales,” Lupe explains.
So she applied, got in, and began training remotely with SV Academy. She and her classmates were learning sales methodologies, emotional intelligence, and gaining experience doing hands-on homework and projects. It was hard work, and coordination was difficult at times, but that just showed Lupe how serious everyone was about making it in tech.
“I remember one time trying to make a meeting with someone in New York while I was in Madrid, and someone else was in Hawaii,” Lupe recalls. “It took about 400 calendar invites but eventually we got it right.”
Finally, after all of the coaching, training, and collaborating, she was ready to apply for jobs. SV Academy helped with that, too.
“They put your resume in front of recruiters, and the companies reach out to SV Academy to request interviews with you,” Lupe says.
And it wasn’t just securing interviews that SV Academy helped with. Every fellow undergoes rigorous interviewing, too.
“Interviewing is just another skill,” she explains. “We were taught to get our answers down to 90 seconds. We were taught to hit on certain strengths and points. They’d give you a cheat sheet to help learn about the products and the company.”
And when she finally arrived, Lupe was able to put those skills to good use and achieve the goals she had set out to: financial stability and freedom.
“I paid off $33,000 of my student loans in the first year,” Lupe tells us. “I made over six figures last year. The best part is that you’re working for yourself. If you decide to stay here a little longer and get an extra meeting, that’s money in your pocket. I grind. I let my reps know that if they need me I’m here.”
How Marcos Doubled His $45K Salary After Graduating From SV Academy
Like a lot of great salespeople, Marcos’ story is full of ups and downs. Growing up in New Mexico, he excelled at sports and school, but his real dream was a career in Silicon Valley.
“I remember reading Entrepreneur magazine as a kid and ‘thinking I want to be on the cover,'” Marcos tell us.
And so he made a plan and followed it. Get into school as a division-one athlete? Done. Graduate in three years as valedictorian of his state university? Check. So what was the hold up on his dream? The hard part, he realized, was that no matter how impressive his grades or his story were, his applications were still getting rejected—over 200 of them.
So, he decided to shelve his Silicon Valley dreams for a while and pursue another dream: professional sports. After becoming a nationally ranked triathlete and qualifying for Team USA, an injury forced him to reconsider a role in tech.
Without connections or prior experience, he ended up taking a role at a local tech firm in New Mexico. It was grueling work with little reward, and, without proper training, Marcos didn’t feel like he was building the right kind of experience. He almost considered giving up on working in tech altogether. That was until he heard about SV Academy through one of his college honors society newsletters.
“I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I knew I needed a way in,” Marcos told us. However, when he arrived, he instantly recognized that the fellowship was going to be useful. His athletic experience had prepared him for training like this.
“SV Academy aligns you with three coaches,” he explains. “You have a communications coach who’s going to help you build your brand, check your writing, and teach you grammar and syntax. The mindset coach is really about breaking you down and building you up. They try to find what your weaknesses and strengths are. This helps you develop your growth mindset and emotional intelligence, which are essential because sales roles face rejection a lot.”
The final coach is one who stays with you for a year after you graduate from the program and start your first job. Marcos’ coach was a helpful third-party mentor and sounding board. He even helped him negotiate his salary and angle for a promotion.
After every challenge he faced, Marcos was finally thriving in a Silicon Valley tech role—and he had doubled his salary from his first full-time job.
Rachel Used Her Journalistic Skills To Crush Her Quota And Soar To A Six-Figure Salary
“Before SV Academy, I was studying journalism at school, and I loved it, but I was nervous because it was such a turbulent industry,” Rachel, an October 2017 graduate of SV Academy, explains. “And I always had an interest in business because my dad was a small business owner.”
She wasn’t sure how to break into the business world, though. Her applications were consistently getting rejected or yielding no response.
“I had a non-traditional background. I was in journalism. I didn’t have any sales experience,” she says. “But I knew that if I had a shot to get in front of the right people, I would blow them away.”
As it turns out, the team at SV Academy thought so, too.
“I stumbled upon SV Academy through my honors society at CalPoly. I thought, ‘Sales is really scary, but I think I’d be good at it.’ Journalism is all about asking the right questions and making people feel comfortable enough to open up to you,” Rachel says. “Sales is the same way.”
Rachel was right about that. After the same training that Marcos, Lupe, and all of the other SV Academy fellows went through, she was so well prepared for the role she ended up taking that she was quickly promoted, breaking into the six-figure salary zone in just a year. In her first quarter as a fully ramped Account Executive, she hit 558 percent of her quota. But even after all of her self-driven success, she still credits SV Academy with getting her in the door.
“We did so much prep at SV Academy. We did at least three mock interviews with mentors in the SV Academy network. We had to get our stories down, what our strengths were, what was a challenge we had, and how we overcame it,” she explains. “We started to develop what the ideal profile looked like. That’s how you really get the job.”
Before They Got Their Start, SV Academy Got Its Own
SV Academy was created by a serial founder with a story much like those of his students. Growing up in government housing, Rahim Fazal didn’t have the resources to attend college. However, through a relentless desire to learn and an entrepreneurial spirit, he cut his own path into tech, founding a marketing tech company that would eventually be acquired by a multibillion-dollar software giant, Oracle.
When he co-founded SV Academy with tech executive Joel Scott, his aim was to give others the tools that empowered him: mentorship, knowledge, and an opportunity to make hard work count toward a fulfilling career.
But it’s not just the students getting a leg up. The team at SV Academy solves an equally pressing issue for tech companies: a lack of qualified, ready-to-go sales talent. Spotting high-potential salespeople is difficult—and tapping into that potential with the right training is even harder. SV Academy takes the guesswork out of the occasion, and companies pay to get connected with graduates of the fellowship.
If you want to join this ecosystem of coaches, leaders, and rising stars, apply to the Business Development Fellowship at SV Academy on WayUp!