With $200 in My Pocket and the American Dream in My Eyes

My immigrant journey to earning an MBA—and entrepreneurial success

I landed in California in April 2014 with only $200 in my pocket and the American dream in my eyes.

I never dreamt of starting a new life in a foreign land and leaving behind everything. I did that with a huge leap of faith. I can confidently say that my story resonates with many successful immigrants in first-world countries, especially in the United States—the land of immigrants.

This is a story of determination, hard work, and to never giving up on your dreams.

First Job: Hot, Tough Tire Warehouse

My first job in the U.S. was at a tire and wheel warehouse where I worked as a warehouse supervisor. It was a tough job, especially during the summer. I sometimes had to work with the warehouse workers in the heat, emptying steel containers full of hot tires from China.

No one can imagine the confusion, fears and uncertainty a person goes through when he faces situations similar to what I faced back then.

Even though I had previously worked as an adjunct lecturer in Pakistan, I didn’t have any references, portfolio or even teaching credentials to start teaching again in the United States. I often felt like a scared fish who moves from a pond to the ocean. I only knew one thing: life is a journey and I can change my situation.

To this day, I always believe and say, “To succeed fast, fail faster.”

Milestones in My Journey

Working at a warehouse was never my long-term plan so I started working as a freelance content writer. My goal was to build good references and move as quickly as possible toward where I wanted to be.

In December 2017 my remote job ended, but soon I was hired as a service representative at a large chain of automotive repair and service businesses. Within a year, I became an automotive service manager with customer service ratings over 98%, achieving my sales and customer service targets with large margins. Although I felt great and motivated in this job, I knew that it was just a milestone and not my final destination.

In early 2019, I landed a job at a Fortune 500 company and soon I was looking forward to a promotion. However, despite my strong performance and qualifications, someone else with a bachelor’s degree from a local university who was hired a few months after me received the promotion.

UC Davis MBA: Skills to Launch My Company

This frustration led me to apply to the UC Davis MBA program, a decision that I have never regretted.

During my time at UC Davis, I focused on improving my skills in storytelling, leadership, emotional and social intelligence, communication, entrepreneurship, investments, venture capitalism and game theory. I feel like I now have the skills needed to survive in America’s highly competitive business world.

You can learn concepts or theories and complete any course online; but, the role of an amazing institute like UC Davis is not to just teach concepts. It is about developing your personality, character, confidence, leadership, storytelling, emotional and social intelligence, and other soft skills. This amazing knowledge and experience gave me the confidence to take risks and transformed me into an entrepreneur.

I am proud to say that I am now a first-generation master’s degree holder from a university in the United States and a first-generation entrepreneur.

Success as a Digital Learning and Development Consultant

I am now a learning and development consultant by profession and an expert digital content marketer by passion with an MBA.

Through my company, I help businesses develop and execute digital learning and development programs that may achieve business growth through employee learning and development. I am a digital transformation expert who offers digital transformation and presence consulting. I transform and implement customer-focused marketing processes through the learning and development of employees.

I am also a certified career development mentor and remote-work coach who has saved my clients more than 40% in labor-related costs through digital transformation, digital learning and remote talent placement.

If you think about it, my education of two master’s degrees, every job experience from teaching to remote digital freelancing, agile project management certification, automotive customer service, and every single minute of the first six years in the U.S. have contributed and made me what I am today.

At some point, it all comes together and it all makes sense.

I am living the American Dream, and am proud of the journey that got me here. I am still learning, earning and growing.

I hope my story inspires others to never give up on their dreams and to always strive for success.