Being a little brave can take us a long way: Fahad Shiraj’s journey

Contact: Abbie Griffith

Fahad Shiraj

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—From Dhaka, Bangladesh, senior Fahad Shiraj has learned to be curious and brave during his time at Western Michigan University. Majoring in business analytics, Shiraj has traveled the U.S. learning new skills in the industry, applied what he’s learned in internships and grown as a leader along the way.

As a data analyst, Shiraj is able to put his inquisitive and curious personality to work. While on the outside research is just facts and numbers, Shiraj can find the elements that make it exciting.

“Data is everywhere and being able to analyze and interpret it allows us to find insights which were unknown,” he says. “The thing that appeals to me the most is that I get to identify trends from mundane data and find interesting decisions. This is the interesting part of my major my work will never be boring!”

As the treasurer of the Business Analytics Information Technology registered student organization and a founding member of the Bangladesh Student Association, Shiraj isn’t afraid to make his mark on his community.

“I believe all these experiences have paved a path for my future success and instilled many values in me such as accountability, taking up challenges and hard work. I’m grateful that I was awarded these opportunities to serve the community and my school!”

Traveling across the globe to attend Western, Shiraj has been able to take his adventures further to San Francisco, California, with the TechNext team to explore new opportunities with potential future employers. After visiting companies such as Cisco and Intuitive Surgical, as well as local startups, Shiraj had a lot of takeaways from the trip.

The opportunity of networking with professionals in the Bay area was a breathtaking experience. I cannot emphasize enough how important this professional trip is and how it has shaped my thinking and helped me grow,” he said. “One of the most important things I learned during the trip was to be bold and to take up opportunities. I learned to become someone who initiates and motivates, not someone who sits back and relaxes.”

Additionally, Shiraj has been applying the skills he has learned in his internship as a customer support specialist at Streamline Healthcare Solutions.

“I enjoy working with this company because I get to work on different projects, and I love how my contribution is valued,” he says.

One of his favorite projects has been a sales forecasting project, combining his skills in data analysis along with communication, leadership and critical thinking to solve problems.

“I am very proud of the results of this project as I was able to make meaningful contributions as a business analyst and this has helped me grow professionally in terms of technical skills and business acumen”

Being adventurous and daring can be nerve-wracking at times. It helps to have supportive mentors along the way as Shiraj has. Dr. Mohammad Daneshvar Kakhki, associate professor of business information systems, and Barcley Johnson, instructor of management, have been those individuals for Shiraj.

“I have had many mentors in my time at WMU Haworth, but the first one that comes to my mind is Dr. Daneshvar Kakhki who is the advisor of the Business Analytics Information Technology organization and who has mentored me in my never-ending pursuit of education. He has advised me in terms of professional career goals and has helped me become more motivated in my field of study,” he says. “Another person that comes to mind is Barcley Johnson who was the instructor for the TechNext course. He’s inspired me to come out of my comfort zone and push myself harder.”

While Shiraj has learned plenty of technical skills that he will apply to his future career, he has also learned life skills that will carry with him forever.

“The most important thing I’ve learned as a business student is to be courageous. As someone who has a tough time with public speaking, I had a hard time networking, but I’ve learned that being a little brave can take us a long way.”

All of Shiraj’s hard work has paid off as he was awarded the John W. Snyder Scholarship in March 2022 and was previously awarded the Deither H. Haenicke Scholarship when he was admitted to Western. He has proven that being brave is worth the risk.

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