MEMP Student Helps Entrepreneurship and Technology Ideas "Hatch" at Duke and Beyond

November 15, 2008

Ali HabibWhen Ali Habib made the decision to leave his home town of Karachi, Pakistan to come to Duke as a Master of Engineering Management student, he knew he was embarking on a journey that would change him forever. What he didn't know, was how much impact he would have on the Master of Engineering Management program, the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke at large, and really, the whole world.

Ali is a Fulbright Scholar, so obviously he is brilliant. He also happens to be dynamic, kind, technology-gifted, and creative. MEM professor Larry Boyd recognized these qualities in Ali and asked him to redesign the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization website for Duke. Ali was initially a bit nervous about the project because he would be designing on a new platform, Drupal. His prior experience was with Java, but he rose to the challenge, taught himself Drupal, and took the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization website from weak to wonderful in a matter of months.

When Ali finished with the website, he was delighted to move on to another great project; DU Hatch, an incubator where student ideas can become real businesses in an educational setting. He says that one of the best things about Hatch is that there is always some sort of social venture or charity idea, it isn't just about technology. Ali's appreciation of technology functioning alongside non-technological ventures is part of what makes him such a great fit for the MEM program. He plans to bring the fundamentals of Hatch back to Pakistan and to set up a similar project for students there.

Ali has a few other side projects that he will continue to work on this year. He writes a weekly profile on a person who has an impact on the MEM program and he also serves as a member of the MEM Internal Communications sector of the MEM Program Development Committee. In his free time he likes to read, write poetry, watch movies, and work out.

Ali attributes much of his success to growing up in Karachi, the financial and business hub of Pakistan, and to his family. Ali's family is made up of stock brokers, business people, doctors, and entrepreneurs. He said that there is just something about the Habibs that makes them want to be their own boss. Ali will likely follow in these footsteps when he returns to Pakistan next May to pursue a career in technology management. He hopes to open his own company in Karachi.