Ahmad Muhammad (Illinois Institute of Technology)
Ahmad Muhammad (he/him)
When Ahmad Muhammad began to think about where he wanted to go to college, he didn’t spend much time thinking about colleges in Chicago. From Broadview, Illinois—a suburb 12 miles west of Chicago—Muhammad was ready to go far from home and escape the winters that help give Chicago its Windy City nickname.
As he prepares to complete his college journey in December with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s in marketing analytics from Illinois Institute of Technology, Muhammad has a much different perspective on his college experience in Chicago.
“Chicago is a perfect place to go, because it’s become so diverse that it tends to take on a global perspective,” he says. “You start to think about other places that you could venture out to—even going to Illinois Tech, I was exposed to so many people from different countries. I didn’t have to leave or go far away in order to learn those things.”
Muhammad ultimately chose to attend Illinois Tech because he received the full-tuition Camras scholarship, saw the opportunities that attending business school at Chicago’s only tech-focused university could provide, and because he was able to continue his basketball career.
The experience has proven even more bountiful than he originally anticipated. A four-year starter on the Illinois Tech men’s basketball team, Muhammad has been exposed to a multitude of elements of the business world—including finance, marketing, and data analytics, all through a tech-focused lens—and has held internships at companies such as BMO Harris Bank, NBC Sports Chicago, and, beginning this summer, at 2K Sports.
More than that, his experience at Illinois Tech opened him up to a whole new world—in his backyard—through ventures like the World Languages and Cultures Club, which he started to learn more about languages and cultures such as Mandarin and Japanese.
“I truly believe the universe brought me to Illinois Tech,” Muhammad says, adding: “A lot of the cultures that I’ve been exposed to really open up what I’m passionate about.”
That included co-founding a startup business, Beyond the Sole, a human performance data company that leverages wearable technology and machine learning algorithms to optimize athletic performance, detect common movement patterns related to athletic injury, and assist in recovery after injury within physical therapy practices.
In addition to the resources provided by Illinois Tech’s Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship, Muhammad pitched Beyond the Sole twice during the fall 2021 semester through P33’s TechRise, a multi-stakeholder initiative to support historically underrepresented tech founders from Chicago.
“[Beyond the Sole] wasn't even something that I really pursued or thought about prior to taking a class [at Illinois Tech], because you had so many barriers to go into the tech space,” Muhammad says. “Working with Kaplan, one of the things that we really keyed in on was being able to conduct a lot of research, being able to gather the information that we need in order to take it out to market. I even connected with TechRise, and they’ve also provided resources. I’ve even spoken to Aaron Seabron, vice president of U.S. sports at Adidas.”
It is because of these experiences, and many others, that Muhammad says there is only one word that comes to mind when he thinks about the opportunities Chicago provides for college students: abundant.
“I've been here for like 20 years of my life, and I still haven't explored the entire city. There’s so many more things to get exposed to, all the city has to offer,” Muhammad says. “I feel like you would never get tired here going to school, just because there’s so many things to do to relax.“