by Catherine Donnelly
Following his instincts and curiosity has led to a fulfilling career for Danial Khan MBA/MSW ‘21, CFSW. He transferred to UB as an undergraduate where he completed a bachelor's degree in Psychology, minoring in Health & Wellness. He took a break from studying to drive around the United States, live in France, and figure out how best to follow through on his entrepreneurial interests, before returning to the MBA/MSW program at UB.
“Having been a WNY Prosperity Fellow, I was really engaged with the idea of launching my own business but I felt that I needed something more structured to develop my business and communication acumen, expand my awareness of the most pressing needs of the WNY community and beyond, as well as to foster meaningful relationships and experiences that could build my confidence as a compassionate, service-driven leader,” said Khan. “The MSW and MBA seemed like a perfect fit for where I was at in my life, so I could surround myself with people and knowledge that could teach me how to effectively influence and manage sustainable social impact through business, while also applying business strategy and tools to social work practice.”
Khan found his classes in the dual program to be engaging and informative. Highlights for him were Interventions classes with Peter Sobota, Diversity and Oppression with [Associate Professor] Anna Ball, Theory & Practice: Negotiations with Yekaterina Bezrukova, and Consulting Practices with Benjamin Rand. He participated in the inaugural Social Sector Innovation course which allowed him to apply his MBA knowledge to the social sector.
“I was honored to be selected as a Social Impact Fellow because it allowed me to work at Habitat for Humanity Buffalo where I learned so much about non-profit consulting, affordable housing, and neighborhood revitalization,” he continued. “I also have to acknowledge [Clinical Assistant Professor ]Michael Lynch, who not only helped me get involved with the Homeless Alliance of WNY and WEDI for my field placement opportunities but continues to offer career advice.”
In fact, Lynch shared the AmeriCorps Financial Wellness Specialist position that Khan has most recently held at UB. In this role, he coordinated financial coaching appointments with individuals, and financial education workshops, and collected data to improve ways to connect with students to improve their financial wellness overall. However, he was excited to share that he recently accepted an offer to become the new Financial Wellness Program Manager at Stanford University in California and will be moving in June 2022.
“It has been wonderful to work at UB and help other students achieve. My experiences as a student were life-changing, there are so many entrepreneurial, intelligent, and environmentally-conscious students who strive to serve others, Khan said. “I have been involved with Blackstone LaunchPad as a volunteer Venture Coach, was a member of Toastmasters International to practice public speaking, and served as Treasurer of the UB Macro Social Work Student Network. I also became a Certified Financial Social Worker with the support of the WNY Prosperity Fellowship Enrichment Fund and led an informal UB Financial Social Work Group. There is no question that my new opportunity would not have been available to me without the relationships, mentorship, and support I was fortunate enough to have had from UB’s School of Social Work, School of Management, and Student Life.”
His advice for students in the program now is to take the time to acknowledge when you are on the edge of your ability to manage. “I did utilize Counseling Services during the pandemic and they helped me to take care of myself, manage my responsibilities, and maintain relationships,” he said. “I would also recommend Wellness Coaching through Health Promotion and attending the variety of events that are offered like dog therapy, Chill Out, and other activities like yoga and meditation that are free for students. Create opportunities through your network and allow yourself to question what you really want. Be willing to change your mind, accept feedback that fosters honest self-awareness, and be patient and compassionate with yourself and others.”