MAY 22, 2023 — At the young age of six, Hafsa Ali ’18, MBA ’23 and her family packed their bags and moved from Pakistan to Queens, New York in pursuit of the American dream. Her father supported their family as a cab driver, taking passengers around the city to some of the nation's tallest buildings, always wondering what took place inside.
After driving across the big apple for over a decade, her father decided the family needed a change of scenery. While Ali was in high school, they moved to Texas and made San Antonio their home.
With her family's closest relatives living halfway across the world, Ali decided to stay close to home after graduating high school and attend UTSA’s Carlos Alvarez College of Business to receive her undergraduate degree in accounting. This weekend, she earned her MBA with a graduate certificate in technology entrepreneurship and management in the college, with support from an Alumni Association Scholarship.
“On top of being close to home, UTSA has a very family feel and 45% of the students here are first-generation. So that really lured me in, knowing I would be around people that are experiencing the same thing as me,” explained Ali. “I also knew that I could get the resources I wasn't able to get from my family to guide me.”
Growing up, Ali focused her energy on how she could achieve success. As the oldest child in her family, she felt it was important to set a good example for her younger brother and make her family's sacrifice of leaving their home in Pakistan worthwhile. She made it a point to seek out avenues that would help her succeed and joined several on-campus organizations during her undergraduate years, including the Professional Businesswomen Society; Prism at UTSA, an LGBTQ+ focused social group; and the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting.
She also took advantage of study abroad opportunities in the college and participated in a business immersion program in Spain for the 2017 spring semester.
After graduating with her bachelor’s in 2018, Ali utilized the resources provided by UTSA to secure a position in risk management. In this role, she was the direct manager of a team of 17 associates and learned about the importance of servant leadership and decision-making in the face of ambiguity.
Ultimately, Ali decided to return to UTSA to receive her master's degree and pursue a career she was passionate about, product management. Receiving a scholarship from the Alumni Association affirmed her decision.
“I was really lucky to receive a scholarship. I thought I might have to keep my job on the side of classes,” expressed Ali. “Getting into graduate school, I knew was my second opportunity to finally do what I wanted. What I've dreamed of doing.”
During her first year of graduate school, Ali joined the National Black MBA Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the enhancement and development of educational and economic empowerment for African American students and other minority groups.
She applied for and was selected to attend their 2022 annual conference in Chicago. It was here where she solidified her professional goal of working in product management—resulting in an internship opportunity in Summer 2022 with a renowned international technology company.
At the end of the summer, Ali received a full-time job offer as a product manager with the company in New York City. Beginning in August 2023, she’ll be working in one of the giant NYC buildings her father, now a real estate agent, once wondered about.
“It's just one of those very beautiful things that's happened in my life. Everything has come full circle and my dad was over the moon for me,” Ali said. “The opportunities I got from UTSA are the reason that I'll be where I want to be in my life and that I'll be able to change the trajectory of my family's life— because it's not just about me. It's my little brother. It's my future kids. They now get to see me go from an immigrant child with no direction to a college graduate with my dream job.”
Come celebrate the doctoral students graduating this commencement season.H-E-B Student Union Ballrooms, UTSA Main Campus
Celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates of the College for Health, Community and Policy, College of Liberal and Fine Arts and College of Sciences.Alamodome, 100 Montana St, San Antonio, TX 78203
Celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates of the Carlos Alvarez College of Business, College of Education and Human Development, Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design and University College.Alamodome, 100 Montana St, San Antonio, TX 78203
First Friday Stargazing gives anyone free access to the night sky using university telescopes and teaching equipment. Weather permitting, experienced astronomers will provide a handful of telescopes of varying designs, give training on how each operates, and point to various astronomical objects that may appear in the sky for that given time of the year. If you have a telescope and do not know how to operate it, feel free to bring it and get instructions on its use.4th Floor of Flawn Science Building, Main Campus
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