In a LinkedIn post shared by Maniha Hashmi, she pens down her sentiments about being grateful for the opportunity to be the first Pakistani Fullbright Scholar at Columbia University to pursue an MS Degree in Management (Sports).
Hashmi had her first experience as a 19-year-old exchange student for the semester and happened to pass by the university during a trip to New York.
That’s when she made a promise to herself that she will be back and will take up her studies at the renowned institute one day, and she kept her word.
As a 19-year-old kid on an exchange semester who happened to pass by Columbia on her trip to New York City, I made a fleeting promise to myself; that I will come back to study here one day.
Seven years later, that day is here. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be the first Pakistani Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University to pursue my MS degree in Management (Sports).
Exactly one year ago today, I started my journey at Amazon as a Transportation Manager. Wide-eyed and keen to learn about this gigantic engine of world-class Technology and Operations, I had absolutely zero ideas that life would have other plans for me.
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I want to take this chance to especially thank Sumeet Biswas, my brilliant manager at Amazon (who is the kind of manager I aspire to be one day), and my wonderful team, especially Inga Teslonoka and Ross Jeffrey for making my brief stint at Amazon so amazing.
My remarkable professors and mentors who helped me get my Fulbright Scholarship: Dr. Muhammad AbdurRahman Malik, Asad Ahmed and Dr. Zafar Iqbal Butt. My mentors who were kind enough to guide me through the decision: Dr. M. Adeel Zaffar, Haider Khan, Aqeel Asim, Raheel Asim, Dr. Adnan Zahid, Sohaib Irfan, Dr Farrah Arif.
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My wonderful Naani, my parents and my in-laws. Especially my awe-inspiring, resilient Ammi Prof. Dr Shamsa Hashmi, who instilled a culture of sports within us from the get-go and has always been there to pick me up when I faltered; my Baba who has shown me how being kind and humble brings about the best things in life; and my father-in-law, with his encouragement and sweetest gestures (like keeping the electricity generator on at all times around my interviews to ensure no interruptions in the internet connection). My incredible friends, with their unbelievable ability to pull me out of the pits of Impostor Syndrome with their pep talks (you know who you are).
My younger brother Zikriya Hashmi, who is my biggest cheerleader in this world. My dearest husband Ahmed Murtaza Ali; without his constant support, love and unwavering faith in me even when I’m doubting myself, none of this would be possible. Lastly and mostly, my best friend and confidant; Allah Mian. For a girl who started her academic journey in a small school in Toba Tek Singh, all of this has been nothing less than magic.
Here’s to hoping I can create more opportunities for girls like me back at home. Onwards and upwards, InshaAllah!
Indeed Maniha is an inspiration for many girls who see themselves studying at a prestigious university like Columbia. We wish her all the best and hope she continues to make Pakistan proud.
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