The odds of Bangladesh residents Parisa and Sharif Khan earning MBAs in America were long. But they won visas in a country-wide lottery, exelled at Terry, and their story has a happy ending.
The Bengali term for window is “Janala.” It could also be the title of a story about love, good fortune, and the long journey of a young couple who meet in their native Bangladesh, receive life-changing news foretold by a mother’s intuition, and ultimately travel across the globe to begin life anew. This is the most improbable story of Parisa (MBA ’14) and Sharif Khan (MBA ’14).
Parisa and Sharif met as employees of BBC Radio. They were working on a non-profit program called BBC Janala, a multimedia project that provides affordable English language education in Bangladesh. Parisa was handling the finance and budgeting for an interactive team responsible for developing the multimedia products; Sharif was a producer and product manager in charge of delivering the content. Love wasn’t far behind.
“I knew right away,” says Parisa about meeting her husband for the first time. “After nine months of dating, we got married.”
“Definitely. I knew she was going to be the one,” says Sharif, as Parisa laughs with obvious delight at his response. “We even worked together for a year after we got married.”
When Parisa decided to pursue an MBA, the Khans’ original plan was for her to apply for a Canadian visa and attend school in Toronto near family. Sharif, who had finished his master’s in linguistics and literature a few years earlier, would continue traveling between London and Asia as a producer with the BBC. But intuition had a different plan and it gave Parisa’s mother a glimpse through the window of a most unlikely future — a Diversity Immigrant Visa.
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