IST Alumni Spotlight: Taking to the Skies, An grad’s journey to the top

IST Alumni Spotlight featuring Mohamed Khimji

Looking back at his time in school, Mr. Mohamed Khimji can recall the feeling of being small, remembering, “The first day of seventh grade and seeing the senior students who appeared so tall and so much older,” he said. 

But that feeling didn’t last long. As a graduate of IST, Mr. Mohamed has gone on to accomplish many great things as an alumnus.

An American with Tanzanian and Asian Indian background, Mr. Mohamed began his studies with IST in order to gain an excellent educational foundation. He came to our school in 1986, staying for 13 years until graduating in 1999.

Now as a First Officer/Airline Pilot for United Airlines, he is able to travel the world.

Want to re-connect with fellow IST alumni? Click here to join our new network. 

But Mr. Mohamed’s journey to the skies wasn’t a direct flight. After graduating from IST he travelled to the UK to pursue a career in accounting. He returned to Tanzania in 2005 to join the family business, but it wasn’t until 2013 that he travelled to the US in order to follow his dream of becoming a recreational pilot. This dream soon became a reality as he quickly fell in love with flying after taking a Discovery Flight, an introductory flight that allows the passenger a small amount of participation.

“I enjoyed the experience so much I decided to make a career out of it,” he said. “I had incredible support from my family, particularly my wife, it also involved extreme dedication, a lot of hard work and sacrifice.”

Mr. Mohamed credits his IST education for preparing him for his high flying future, saying it gave him the foundational tools, both academically and socially, to help lead him to success. He can specifically recall Mr. Roberts’ math class at IST, “and all the geometry and formulas I used to hate” as something that helped him get to where he is now. 

IST Alum Describes What it Takes to Become a Pilot

Preparing to be a pilot takes a lot of training and education. It took Mr. Mohamed five years to complete his private pilot, instrument rating and commercial pilot certificates at a small flight school in northern Virginia.

After six more weeks of training in Florida, he was ready to be a flight instructor before returning home to Virginia to work for the same flight school he attended, adding more certificates to his resume during that time.

It was in July of 2019 that Mr. Mohamed joined United Airlines as a regional carrier, meaning he provides passenger service to communities with lower air travel demands and also completing his Airline Transport Pilot certificate in December of 2019. This airline is responsible for around 1.6 million flights annually across five continents. 

Even from the skies, Mr. Mohamed remains a member of the IST community as a part of the Alumni Network. He joined in order to stay in touch with old friends and acquaintances. He even hopes to become a mentor to anyone who’s interested in aviation.

He speaks highly of the network saying the platform is better than any social media. 

“It isn't a cookie-cutter alumni network that we typically see,” he said. “It goes above and beyond and is modelled on successful networks and that shows the vision of the creators.”

Through our new IST Alumni Network, you can re-connect with the school community, see any upcoming events, sign up to be a mentor of an IST student and so much more! As you know, the IST alumni community is one of vibrancy and of camaraderie, two pillars which also happen to be at the centre of the network. The IST Alumni Network also fully integrates with social networks and cultivates a culture of helping and giving back. 

A picture with a link to the IST alumni network

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