Girls Education Means Something Extra for Maryam Haidary ’18 MSA
Dec. 19, 2018
Maryam Haidary ’18 MSA
Only one in three girls in Afghanistan attends school every day, according to a 2018 UNICEF report.
So Afghan native Maryam Haidary feels fortunate that she was raised in a family that valued education more than anything.
“My mom saw the need for educated women in society and encouraged me to never lose hope and to follow my dreams,” she says. Haidary put all her efforts into her studies—and became highly skilled at math. So much so that she graduated as high school valedictorian and earned a full scholarship to the American University in Kabul, where she majored in business administration.
Two years into her college career, her family relocated to Kyrgyzstan for safety reasons, and Haidary enrolled in the American University of Central Asia. Despite this disruptive life change, she found herself excelling again in her studies.
“I organized a group study with students, which was primarily intended to prepare them for their accounting, math and statistics exam, and I also built up my own confidence of becoming a CPA,” she says. She ended up graduating magna cum laude in 2016.
But more life changes were in store.
Through family connections, Haidary became engaged to a medical student studying at Banner University Medical Center in Tucson. They married and she moved to the United States shortly afterward. In one fell swoop, Haidary had to acclimate to a new culture, a new environment and a new relationship.
“The disruption actually forced me to find myself,” she says. “I took stock of what I want to be and where I want to go in my life.”
She was elated to find a prestigious accounting program at the same university where her husband was studying. But despite her earlier academic success, Haidary did have a learning curve in the Master of Science in Accounting program: specifically, she was unused to “presenting herself” to companies in order to land an internship.
“I realized I had to improve my communications skills,” she says, “and once I started focusing on that, I grew more self-confident.” The second time she attended annual School of Accountancy “Meet the Firms” event, she was ready—securing an internship first with LEIDOS and then with R&A CPAs.
Now, newly graduated, Haidary is off to Phoenix to start in a full-time auditing position with Deloitte, where she hopes to stay for a long-time. And whatever successes are in store for her, she remains grateful for all she’s been given, crediting a lot of her development to faculty in the MSA program.
“They always found a way to get me and my fellow students on a solid path,” she says. “My wish for all students is that they embrace relationships with professors. Take advantage of office hours, talk to them about career aspirations, allow them to help with academic challenges and life challenges.”
And given where she’s come from, Haidary is also very happy with where she’s ended up. “I had a unique path to get here,” she says. “And I’m eager to see where I’ll go from here.”