Entrepreneur Salman Khan became a global superstar after launching the free online educational site Khan Academy. Started as a passion project in 2004, Khan Academy is the most-used library of educational lessons on the web. Today it boasts over 10 million unique students per month, over 300 million lessons delivered, and over a billion exercises completed. Notably, the success of Khan Academy has brought significant media attention to its founder. Singled out by Bill Gates as the future of education, Khan has been profiled by "60 Minutes," featured on the cover of Forbes, and recognized as one of TIME’s "100 Most Influential People in the World."
Previously, Khan began his professional career as a financial analyst for a hedge fund based in Boston, Massachusetts. Over the years, his efforts to revolutionize the educational process have led to multiple awards for Khan, including the Heinz Award in 2014 (in the category to improve human conditions) and the Shorty Award for Best Education in 2016. As of May 2021, the Khan Academy channel on YouTube has 6.6 million subscribers and Khan Academy videos have been viewed more than 1.8 billion times.
In 1994, Khan enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a decision which would impact the rest of his life. During his junior and senior years as an undergraduate at MIT, Khan was given the Eloranta Fellowship to create education software. Called, "Planet Math," the software can be seen as a nascent version of Khan's later non-profit creation. Academically, Khan was easily one of MIT's best students. He received two Bachelor of Science degrees—one in computer science-electrical engineering and one in mathematics—as well as a Master of Science degree in computer science-electrical engineering. All of which he accomplished in four years. In his final year, Khan's MIT professors even made him the class president because of his excellent academic performance.
In 2012, Khan received one of his alma mater's highest respects when he was asked to return to campus to deliver the keynote address at MIT’s 146th Commencement. In doing so, Khan (only 35 at the time) also made history by being the youngest commencement speaker in at least 30 years. Taking the podium, the founder of Khan Academy wasted little time in describing the importance of his time at MIT.
"I think MIT is the closest thing to Hogwarts on this planet," said Khan, referencing the famous wizarding school of the Harry Potter series. "You’re taking all of these kids from around the country and the world... they’re all a little bit off-the-charts in one way or another. And you’re bringing them all together and they’re having this tremendous shared experience. It’s a magical shared experience."