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.”
UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to email@example.com. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.
Dr. Michael Doyle has had an immense impact on the field of catalysis and organic chemistry. Join in a one-day symposium. In order to honor Dr. Doyle’s colossal career accomplishments with his upcoming retirement, we are holding a one day symposium eventRiklin Auditorium (FS 1.406,) Frio Street Building, Downtown Campus
The San Antonio Military Health and Universities Research Forum (SURF) attracts presenters from around the nation to showcase the work of students, trainees, faculty and staff. The mission of the SURF conference is to “advance research collaborations among academic, military, and industry partners to improve health outcomes and readiness.”TBD
The NHERI Summer Institute is a free event for early-career faculty, NHERI Graduate Student Council, K-12 educators from the San Antonio area, engineers, and researchers to learn more about the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) community.La Villita Room (DBB 1.116,) Durango Building, Main Campus
Connect with peer mentors and fellow first-gen and transfer students, and learn how you can join UTSA's First-Gen programs for the Fall 2023 semester.Mentoring Hub (MS 2.02.02,) Multidisciplinary Studies Building, Main Campus
Building the Dual Language Leader Symposium will provide a safe space for current and aspiring leaders to learn best practices, theories, policies, and systems that support a dual language bilingual education.UTSA Southwest Campus, 300 Augusta St.
Streaming of Spray the Word that will conclude with a discussion with San Antonio's Poet Laureate, Andrea "Vocab" Sanderson.Aula Canaria (BVB 1.328,) Buena Vista Street Building, Downtown Campus
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at our very own street fair - Calle UTSA. We will have activities, performances, food, music, and pinatas to break open! All free to UTSA students, faculty, and staff.Student Union Paseo, Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.