Faculty and Staff Support the U: Alumnus Invests in His Home Away from Home
Now a subject matter expert for Enterprise Resource Planning on the Coral Gables campus, Tariq Syed, A.B. ’04, M.B.A. ’12, has been part of the University of Miami community for as long as he can remember. “My mother, Zeenat Akhtar, works in the disbursements department. My sister and I would come here whenever we got a chance—there were many days spent at the University Center’s bowling alley and arcade room,” he says, adding that his father, Syed Shameem Akhtar, is a retired banker.
“It’s like making an investment in your home away from home,” he says. “You can contribute throughout the year, and every dollar helps build our University.”Tariq Syed
After high school, Syed enrolled at UM and earned a degree in Spanish. As a student, he discovered that the University’s student organizations and sporting events offered a unique opportunity to bond with peers outside of the classroom. Even today, he enjoys the camaraderie of UM games. “I still stay in close touch with my friends,” says Syed. “We enjoy tailgating at Hurricanes football games and look forward to homecoming as well as other alumni events. In winter and spring, we look forward to ’Canes basketball.”
Because of his affinity for sports, Syed supports the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. He also contributes to the University through the United Way and provides donations to benefit the College of Arts and Sciences. With six years of consecutive giving to the University, Syed is a Loyalty Society member, and he encourages other staffers to give as well. “It’s like making an investment in your home away from home,” he says. “You can contribute throughout the year, and every dollar helps build our University.”
With his UM degree in hand, Syed initially went to work in the University’s payroll department. He then moved to purchasing as a buyer, and was promoted to senior buyer. While still working at UM, he went back to school in 2010 and earned his graduate business degree in December 2011 through the M.B.A. Program for Working Professionals. Now, he is busy in the UM Information Technology (UMIT) department contributing to the implementation of Workday, the University’s new HR, payroll, and finance system. In his spare time, he co-advises the Federación de Estudiantes Cubanos (Federation of Cuban Students), an organization dedicated to keeping the Cuban culture alive and present in the University community.
Looking back on his academic and professional career, Syed says he’s very proud of the advances the University has made in the past decade. “It’s exciting to see UM move up in the national rankings to become a top 50 school,” he says. “You can look around anywhere on campus and see how much we have progressed. That’s one of my motivations for giving back to the ‘U’—I want us to continue moving forward.”