Two reasons prompted Hashim, a Sudanese engineer and entrepreneur, to leave his home in Khartoum, for New York.
First, he wanted to have international impact. “I lived my whole life in Sudan. I wanted to be global rather than focus my energy on a local level” he said.
Second, his business in Khartoum was suffering from the effects of political and economic tension.
Though Hashim studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Khartoum, he had the entrepreneurship bug. After college he founded a company that connected smallholder farmers with international markets, but their success was stalled due to the separation of Sudan and South Sudan.
“Sudan lost 80% of its foreign currency reserves and our whole business was dependent on international deals.”
Because of the new economic landscape, the government imposed a lot of regulations on foreign currency” Hashim notes. Add this on top of the fact that Sudan was under US sanctions, and his international clients paid in US dollars.
Frustrated by the roadblocks his country faced, he set his sights on the Big Apple. In Sudan, not only had he started his own company, but he had worked for Caterpillar, the world’s largest manufacturer of mining and construction equipment. So he had experience in business, but he wanted expand his scope.
“I wanted to learn about new technologies and how they could be applied to new problems.”
Once he was accepted into Columbia’s MBA program he moved to New York to begin his business education.
His transition, from Sudan to the US, was unique. His environment was a melange of people from all over the globe. Columbia’s MBA program, like New York, was a cultural melting pot.
“We were students from 66 different countries, from different backgrounds and cultures. We were all here to learn from each other,” Hashim told Thrive.
About a month before graduation, Hashim was desperate to move from student housing to his own apartment. He had secured a job as a business strategist at Microsoft, but moving in New York is stressful and expensive. He did not want to do that while settling into a new role.
“I graduated in May and I wasn’t going to be earning anything until I started my new job in July. I was wondering how I would finance that gap,” he worried.
He knew it was best to move before starting this next chapter, but he was unsure how he could fund a move before receiving his first check.
“I was an international student. I did not have access to credit cards, and I did not have access to student loans.”
In addition, Sudan’s fraught political situation meant he was further isolated from many financial alternatives. “My only real option was to take out a loan from a friend” he notes, but like many international students whose roots in America have only been recently planted, “I would rather take out a loan from a company than from a friend.”
Hashim heard about ThriveCash a month before graduation. It was a viable solution for him because when looking for apartments in the Big Apple you need to move quick “once you find something you can’t wait for it.”
With the loan approved and cash in hand he embarked on his search for the perfect apartment.
“I spent a month walking down different streets in the city. I would just walk into apartment buildings and ask if they had anything available.”
Hashim tied up his laces and went door-to-door, knocking on front doors asking if the buildings had any apartments available. He did not want to compromise, he was going to keep searching until he found exactly what he wanted.
Eventually, he found the perfect one. It was in a beautiful neighborhood and had a washer and dryer — New Yorkers, you know, that this is a big deal. With the cash he received from ThriveCash, he was able to pay the deposit immediately. Boom. “I live in the West Village, I love my location, I love my apartment,” he said.
“My goal was to move apartments before I started my job. That would not have been possible without Thrive.”
Hashim believes that one should never take ‘no for an answer, from his desire to have a global impact, to his relentless search for the perfect home he simply states: “If I took ‘no’ as an answer, I wouldn’t be here.” For this business strategist, “nothing is impossible. It is just about hopefully finding the right opportunity and being open to work hard for it.”