Annika Khan made a dramatic early career change, but not without the advice of people throughout the Suffolk community.
She made a point of attending as many University events as possible and networking with fellow alumni from all walks of life as she considered leaving Liberty Mutual Group, where she was a senior financial analyst, and beginning a new business venture with her sister.
Buoyed up by peers
“Everyone I talked with believed I could do it,” says Khan, BSBA ’09. “They felt the timing was right, and they gave me the encouragement that I needed.”
Khan made her big move about a year ago when she and her sister purchased Custom Stitch, a Wilmington, Massachusetts, company that specializes in embroidery, screen printing and tailoring. As a managing partner, her main responsibilities include new business development, operational finance, relationship management and expert tailoring.
“The most rewarding aspect of my job is that I am doing it for myself, as well as for my sister,” says Khan, who was honored this year at a “10 Under 10” alumni reception. “At the end of the day, we are responsible for the success or failure of our own business.”
Khan said that her journey through the Sawyer Business School allowed her to explore options in the corporate workplace as well as entrepreneurship.
“My education in the business school set a solid foundation for me to feel confident enough to move out of the comfort of a large and secure firm and go into business with my sister,” she says.
“I apply what I learned in school on a day-to-day basis, from creating new accounts in Quickbooks to completing a break-even analysis, a business valuation and a sales strategy. All of these things require me to draw on my Business School knowledge.”
Lessons from classroom & campus involvement
Khan uses the term “well rounded” when describing her overall experience at Suffolk.
“I gained a lot from my courses and was involved in on-campus activities and organizations,” she says. “The courses are where you gain the technical skills, and the involvement is where the soft skills are developed.”
Khan remains actively involved with her alma mater. She is president of Suffolk Ventures, an alumni organization focused on connecting students and alumni to the entrepreneurial community in and around the Boston area.
She is also a member of the advisory board for the Business School’s Management Department.
“I had such wonderful experiences at Suffolk, and I think it’s the responsibility of the alumni to sustain a strong sense of community and pride,” says Kahn. “It’s rewarding to be able to give back, share your story with students and know that you've had an impact on someone’s future.”
Khan and other young alumni were recognized for their accomplishments at the “10 Under 10” reception hosted by the Alumni Association in April. The 10 alumni honored earned their Suffolk University degrees within the past decade.