There was no business school in Husnah Khan’s plans. After graduating from law school in 2018, she planned to work on a false accusation case. Eventually she hoped to become a judge. While taking the bar exam, she worked at a major law firm.
But when Khan found out she passed bars, something changed. She expected to be uplifted about her future. Instead, she was overwhelmed with a sense of shock.
“I remember sobbing through the steering wheel when I realized I had passed,” she says. At that moment she said, ‘This wasn’t what I wanted, this was what I wanted. idea I wanted “
She knew: what she had been working on for years wasn’t the right path for her.It was time to find a new direction.
Khan, now 34, is a first year MBA student at the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. This summer, she’s going to Seattle to work as an intern at Microsoft’s human resources department. “If she had been asked a year ago if she’d ever seen anything like this happen, she wouldn’t have believed it,” she says.
Khan has loved his time with Simon so far. I especially love my classmates and the community she finds. With her focus on accepting students from “special backgrounds” as well as her welcoming environment in 2019 when she first visited Simon on a weekend program, she I was drawn to this program. School wants you to succeed, so your peers want you to do well,” she says.
She knows the unexpected—both good and bad. When Khan was five years old, her father moved her family from the UK to work for her brother’s healthcare company in Michigan. But in 2001, the company underwent an FBI investigation of her. “His brother was committing medical fraud,” Khan says. Her father was embroiled in a lengthy lawsuit that had a devastating and long-lasting effect on her family: “Her father struggled to find her a job,” she says. “Our community shunned us, experienced multiple evictions, and had to rely on food stamps to survive.”
Through his father’s legal battles, Khan realized the need to change the legal system. She also saw the detrimental effects that legal danger could have on her family. Helping those adversely affected by this system led her to pursue her law career. Ultimately, however, she came to realize that working in her law had taken a toll on her mental health, due to the trauma of her family’s own experiences with the legal system. I was.
If there is anything you can do to help people in need, “do it”
From an early age, Husna Khan always wanted to help people. “I think that’s my life’s mission,” she says. She credits this to her parents. Khan’s father is from Afghanistan and her mother is Malaysian. “I’ve always seen her parents helping others despite the problems they faced,” she says.
She described one instance in college when her father took her back to campus and stopped to fill up with gas. “My father had five dollars in his pocket to fill the car with gas…and he saw a woman crying in the car and gave her five dollars. I didn’t have gas money.” She asked her father how he was going to get the rest of the way now that he had paid for gas. “Angels push cars,” he told her.
“That’s my father,” Khan says. She has that spirit of hers and whatever field she goes into, she wants to put her skills and her experience to good use for someone else.
life upside down
In August 2010, Khan’s father was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, just as Khan had returned from four years at the University of Michigan, after spending the summer abroad to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Oxford University. rice field. His past association with his brother’s company prevented him from obtaining full American citizenship. He was deported to the UK in 2011 after spending a year and a half in his detention facility.
“It was like someone flipped the hourglass and my life was turned upside down,” Khan said. She put her professional ambitions and plans for graduate school aside — in the shock of her father’s detention, Khan completely forgot that she had just been accepted into an English master’s program at Oxford University. — and instead took a minimum-wage job to support his family. , said writing poetry and performing at local open mic nights had been her “saving grace” during the year.
Years later, while in law school at Wayne State University, Khan interned at the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic, where he played a key role in securing a new trial for then-imprisoned client Mubarez Ahmed, 17. He was released after a year. He was put in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
At the Innocence Clinic, Khan witnessed the damage incarceration does to families, especially children of incarcerated parents. This is what she herself suffered when her father was detained by her ICE. “When I was passing [that], I felt very isolated,” she says. She decided to start a non-profit organization to help her incarcerated children of her parents and provide access to resources such as education and employment opportunities.
But she lacked some of the skills, resources, and connections needed to start and run a high-impact nonprofit. She realized that her School of Business was the best way to fill these gaps. When she began considering an MBA program, she worried about keeping up with math-heavy classes. Business school gives her an opportunity to challenge herself, learn new skills, and hone in areas that may not be easy for her. “I said, ‘I’m going to take this leap because I know I need to learn new skills and strengthen the ones I have,'” Khan said. , her time with Simon challenged her in new ways and showed that she was capable of more than she knew.
“Did I make a difference on this planet?”
It also broadened her horizons as to what her future could look like. She said she still plans to revisit this in the future, but may put it off for a while and work in the business sector in the meantime.
Now she is looking forward to her internship and Microsoft and is excited about the opportunity to work in HR and advocate for people in new ways. Since she began working with Simon, she has listened to herself and feels a newfound confidence in her ability to make powerful changes. “When you come to her school of business, you hear everyone because you’re in a program that likes to speak up, advocate, and participate in healthy dialogue and debate.”
Husnah Khan’s drive is to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
“At the end of my life,” she says. did i make an impact? Have I made a difference on this planet? ”