Michigan Ross BBA Named 2019 Student of the Year

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Michigan Ross BBA Junior Sonny Khan is recognized for his efforts in using the power of positive business to make a real impact.

Khan

“Business as a force for real, meaningful change” — it’s inherent to the Ross mission, and Sonny Khan, BBA ‘20 and 2019 Student of the Year by The Michigan Daily, embodies this objective through his passion for service and using business as a catalyst to elevate the causes that mean the most to him.

During his time as a BBA, Khan co-founded the nonprofit Paani with the goal of improving the sanitary crisis in Pakistan through raising awareness of the issue and fundraising for wells, solar panels, healthcare technologies, and educational resources for youth. The organization came to fruition not only to shed light on an important issue that’s often overlooked, but also to foster the Pakistani community on campus.

Service has played a considerable role in Khan’s student experience, even outside his involvement in Paani. IceVax, one of his other developing nonprofits, aims at increasing immunization rates in Pakistan, Yemen, and Uganda by designing a box that keeps vaccines cool during the transportation process. Another nonprofit, Project United, provides high school students from low-income households with resources to help them successfully prepare for the college application process.

Khan acknowledges that his Ross curriculum as integral to the development and success of his nonprofit ventures.

“The foundational soft skills I honed in the areas of communication, leadership, critical thinking, and teamwork from working on cases, group projects, and presentations were skills I was able to translate to my nonprofit work,” Khan said.

“From building a team, to engaging with stakeholders, to establishing global partnerships, to developing a mindset where I can apply problem-structuring and business strategy — the lessons I’ve learned and applied from the curriculum have been essential in enabling me to give back to communities and create a positive difference.”

As for students who are interested in starting nonprofits of their own, Khan has some words of advice: “If you’re considering pursuing an effort, there’s no better time to start than while at Michigan. You’ll never have access to this many passionate people, this many invaluable resources and funding, and this much great mentorship and research.”

Read more about Sonny Khan’s nonprofit work in The Michigan Daily.

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