At a time when the market was downsizing, earning a Global Executive MBA at Georgia Tech led to a promotion for Khuram Babar. He was named assistant vice president at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta after earning his degree in 2009.
Babar, who would one day like to start his own bank, decided he needed to earn an MBA to advance his career. “You really need an advanced degree to get ahead nowadays. I chose Tech because of its internationally known brand as well as the flexibility of the program.”
Designed for rising professionals who want to shift their career toward international business and/or understand global issues, the Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) program enhances traditional MBA coursework to provide perspectives on global trade, markets, organizations, and supply chain. Students meet on select weekends for Friday evening and all-day Saturday classes during the course of 17 months. They also go on two international residencies.
Babar says he got a lot out of the international trips. “From a financial perspective, it was fascinating. I got to see Argentina, a country that had defaulted trying to recover; Dubai, where a bubble was bursting; and India, an emerging world power,” he explains. “You can’t teach that hands-on international experience through a book. We got to meet with business leaders at companies operating overseas, including Microsoft, GE, and Toyota.”
Giving a Lift
Soon after graduation, Babar felt motivated to improve the world by starting the Give-a-Lift Foundation. The mission of this nonprofit organization is to help raise families out of poverty by assisting with education, food, and healthcare. “I decided to take my business knowledge and apply it to the nonprofit world,” Babar says. “I wanted to lower the expense ratio typical of many nonprofits, so that if you give us $100, $99 of that goes to helping someone.”
He started the organization with four other business people, and it has grown to 35 members, with satellite operations set to start in Chicago, Illinois, and Raleigh, North Carolina. Since its creation in fall 2009, the foundation has raised more than $100,000, and helped lift three families up the point of being self-sustaining.
“Our vision is a community committed to ending poverty,” says Babar, who donates around 15 hours of his time a week to the organization on top of his duties as a banker and father of two small children. “It’s a labor of love.”
In addition, Babar felt strongly enough about the benefits of his GEMBA degree to recently become an Ambassador for the program. “I talk to prospective students who want to get the perspective of a former student.”