The Pride is Mutual Between Graduating Business Students Atta Meer and Khadija Mir
By Ed Brennen
Spare a thought for Samira Meer.
Last summer, the dinner table of her family’s home in Allen, Texas, felt more like a Manning School of Business study hall. On one side of the table was her oldest daughter, honors business administration major Khadija Mir, doing homework for her online summer courses. On the other side was her husband, Atta, doing coursework for his online MBA.
“Khadija and I would spend the whole weekend sitting at the table, doing our work while her mom was going crazy,” Atta recalls with a chuckle.
“It was fun to discuss our different case studies at the dinner table, with a million discussion board posts going on, although the rest of my family probably hated it,” adds Khadija, who has two younger siblings.
Now, father and daughter are about to graduate together from UML.
“It will be a special weekend for the family,” says Atta, who is head of global network platforms for Takeda, a multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Tokyo.
Atta, who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in computer science in Pakistan, has worked for more than 20 years in information technology — including as a consultant for the UMass system when it upgraded more than 300 servers for its internet network.
Once he began managing people at Takeda, however, Atta knew he needed to get an MBA.
One day, she got an email from UML announcing that registration was open for the online MBA program. She forwarded it to Atta and said, “Dad, you have to fill this out.”
“She always spoke very highly of the school,” says Atta, who was quickly admitted to the program and finished the degree in just one year — while the family relocated from New Hampshire to Texas. “After the journey started, it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it a lot.”
“He did it really fast, even though he was already so busy. I don’t know how he managed it,” says Khadija, who, truth be told, deserves some of the credit.
“She was looking at my calendar all the time, saying, ‘Dad, you have to do this. You have this due,’” Atta says with another laugh.
“The graduate calendar is different from the undergraduate calendar, so I wanted to make sure he knew when his due dates were coming up,” says Khadija, who managed to finish her own degree in just three years. In that time, she served as president of Joy Tong Women in Business and was an Immersive Scholar and a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta and Beta Gamma Sigma honor societies.
“She did an amazing job. I’m so proud of her,” Atta says. “She was always so hard-working, even in high school, and I knew she would accelerate in college.”
The admiration is mutual.
“I’m extremely proud of my dad,” says Khadija, who plans to work for a year before returning to UML for her MBA. “With him doing his MBA, it encourages me and my siblings to pursue education beyond our undergraduate degrees. I’m happy that he has his degree that he’s wanted for a long time — especially from UMass Lowell, which I obviously adore.”