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Alumna Aims to Boost Diversity in Motorsport After Trailblazing Rally Career

Kogod School of Business alum doubles down on championship-winning run as rally driver with a new focus on opening the sport up to more people.

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Kogod School of Business alumna Nabila Tejpar.


Ever since she was young, Nabila Tejpar (Kogod ‘14) has known what she wanted to do with her life.

The daughter and granddaughter of European rally championship drivers, the England native had long hoped to carry the torch as a third-generation motorsport competitor.

But with few rally drivers that looked like her during her childhood, Tejpar didn’t know, growing up, if following her father and grandfather would be a realistic option. 

“I used to go to events with my dad as a kid, and I always joked about wanting to be a racing driver,” Tejpar says. “It just didn’t seem feasible at the time.”

Fast-forward to today: After a spectacular, trophy-filled driving career, the Kogod School of Business alumna is dedicating her free time to ensuring that no other child has those same doubts. 

Long-Held Rally Goals

Tejpar grew up around motorsport. She spent her formative years watching her father and grandfather compete throughout Europe and Africa. 

For her part, Tejpar climbed into her first rally car as a teenager. That experience crystallized her hopes of competing in a sport that, in many ways, ran in her blood.

“I just instantly fell in love with it,” she recalls. “And I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

It was, in many ways, on the advice of her mother that Tejpar found herself on the AU campus in 2011.

She wanted her daughter to earn an undergraduate degree, so Tejpar moved to the US to complete her high school education and quickly narrowed her college search. She wanted to study in a major US city but on a campus slightly removed from the honking horns and bustle of a central urban campus. 

Admitted to AU through early decision, there was little doubt about where she’d attend—or what she would study.

“If I was going to university,” Tejpar recalls, “It was always going to be business.”

After graduating in December 2014 with a major in international business and entrepreneurial management (and a minor in international relations), Tejpar began a breakneck ascent to the top of the career she’d always wanted to pursue.

Post-AU Driving Career

Tejpar earned her competition license in 2015, setting her up for her career as a rally driver.

To say her career took off from there would be an understatement. It was capped by Tejpar becoming the British Rally Championship Ladies Champion for two straight years, in 2017 and 2018.

“There was a time I was doing 13-plus events a year, traveling all over the place,” she recalls. “I genuinely loved the experience.”

Unique among her competitors, though, was not just the fact that, as Tejpar notes, she was the only Asian female rally driver in Europe at the time. She also could boast a business degree from Kogod—something that offered her the sort of career autonomy few other drivers could boast.

I didn’t hire a PR company or anything. I did all my social media and sponsorship raising. It set me apart from everyone I was competing against.”

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Nabila Tejpar

International Business Alumna, Kogod School of Business

A New Focus

Seemingly poised for more career success, the COVID-19 pandemic stymied her schedule. After pandemic shutdowns, a wreck aggravated a rare eye injury that has, for now, brought her racing career to a hiatus.

The aftermath of that 2021 gut punch has left Tejpar wondering, no doubt, about what could have been—what accolades she might have realized had her career enjoyed the head start of many of her rally peers.

This approach has, in many ways, inspired the next chapter of her involvement in the sport.

“There was just no one doing it when I was growing up—there were no females within the space,” she says.

Having already challenged those historical norms with her career, she’s now dedicating herself to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sport.

It’s a passion project that sees her appearing on podcasts, giving motivational speeches, and assisting with outreach whenever her day job in commercial real estate allows her the time.

“It’s still a white male-dominated sport,” Tejpar explains.

It’s going to be a fundamental change at the grassroots level that enables people to open up the accessibility of motorsport.”

nabila tejpar _formatted

Nabila Tejpar

International Business Alumna, Kogod School of Business

“Because it’s not particularly cheap. So there needs to be ways to get grants and assistance and work your way toward that.”

Sure, Tejpar might get back in a rally car herself someday—perhaps for fun, if nothing else.

A decade after she left AU armed with a burning passion to race—set apart, in many ways, from the perseverance and business know-how owed to her degree from Kogod—Tejpar is poised to make a difference in a sport that’s long run in her veins.

“I am lucky to have lived my passion,” she says.