Sadia Khan MBA’95D - The Value of Volunteering and Making Time for It

Sadia Khan sits at a desk
Sadia Khan MBA’95D

Volunteering is a selfless act of service that not only benefits the community and society but also provides invaluable life lessons and personal growth. Sadia Khan, a serial volunteer with deep ties to INSEAD, perfectly demonstrates how volunteering can be a life-enriching experience.   

Sadia believes the most valuable lesson she has learned is that she gained more from volunteering than she gave back. A standout moment in her journey was when she volunteered in New York in the early 1990s, delivering food to the elderly and less mobile. This experience not only proved deeply rewarding but also led her to write a scholarship winning entrance essay for INSEAD, highlighting that volunteering can open doors to unexpected opportunities and rewards. 

“Finding time for volunteering in our busy lives often feels like a challenge. It's not about finding time; it's about making time for it in our list of priorities.” – Sadia Khan, MBA’95D 

Beyond giving back, volunteering forges meaningful connections. Sadia has been an INSEAD volunteer for almost 30 years, starting during her MBA in 1995. During that time, Sadia built a network of like-minded friends. Who later helped her in transitioning back to her home country of Pakistan after a period of studying and working abroad. Together, they actively championed causes, raised scholarship funding for deserving candidates, and showcased the power of INSEAD's alumni network as a force for good. 

Sadia's experiences with her fellow alumni underscore the benefits of volunteering. Through her volunteer work, she has not only maintained a strong connection with the school but also gained access to innovative research and lifelong learning platforms. By promoting faculty lectures and alumni outreach at INSEAD, Sadia ensured that volunteering became a source of continuous learning and personal growth for herself and her INSEAD community. 

Furthermore, volunteering helped sharpen Sadia's skills and keep them relevant, even when her professional life underutilized those talents. Her journey involved honing strategic planning, management, and corporate governance skills while leading volunteer organizations, which later proved invaluable in her efforts to benefit INSEAD and other organizations. 

One of the most critical life skills that volunteering instilled in Sadia was effective teamwork. As a volunteer leader at INSEAD and other institutions, she learned the importance of inspiring volunteers to deliver results, which subsequently translated into her being a more effective and respected leader in her professional life. Despite her full-time job and the responsibilities of raising two daughters, she continued to volunteer, setting a positive example for the next generation. 

In recognition of her dedicated volunteer work, Sadia received a Volunteer Leaders award from INSEAD in February 2023. While she now serves as a board member of the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association, her deep connection to INSEAD's global alumni network remains, further highlighting the enduring impact and fulfilment that volunteering can bring to one's life. 

Volunteering offers not only an opportunity to give back to the community but also a chance for personal growth and self-discovery. Sadia’s inspiring journey, closely intertwined with INSEAD, shows that the lessons learned from volunteering can be invaluable, and the key to finding time for it is to make it a priority in our lives. 

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