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From McDonald's to C-suite: Immigrant says American dream 'is still available'

Brooke DiPalma
Associate Producer

Despite polarizing political battles over immigration and the trepidation among immigrants looking to find the American dream, one immigrant entrepreneur thinks the U.S. is still “the place to be.”

“There’s a reason why there’s long lines outside a lot of American consulates around the world,” Ali Master, the author of ‘Beyond the Golden Door,’ told Yahoo Finance’s YFi AM in a recent interview. “Even though the lamp that Lady Liberty holds is a little dimmer... I feel like the dream is still available.”

Master made his journey to the United States from Pakistan nearly 33 years ago.

Master started his career at a McDonald’s (MCD) chain restaurant, where he eventually became a manager. From there he went on to earn an accounting degree, start his own firm — and eventually landed a position as a Managing Partner for EY (formerly Ernst & Young).

Ali Master, author of 'Beyond the Golden Door' and Managing Partner at Ernst & Young joins his wife and 4 kids.

He is not the only one to think the American Dream is still alive and well. According to the right-leaning think-tank American Enterprise Institute, 41% of American families think they’re already living the dream; 41% think they are on their way to achieving it; and 18% think the American Dream is out of reach.

2017 Pew Research poll found that most Americans still believed a better life was within reach.

From McDonald’s to Ernst & Young

Master cautioned that his path to success wasn’t easy, telling Yahoo Finance: “I had a lot of challenges coming here. It wasn’t like you came in and boom success happened.”

At a time when college graduates are drowning in student loans and student debt, Master said working hard to pay off your education is what makes it worth your while.

“It took me seven years to graduate,” Master said. “I had no scholarships, you had to pay it all off.”

He added that despite the financial burden, “there’s value in working so hard and eventually paying all of those things off... the fruit that you get is sweeter when you work so hard to pay those things off.”

Brooke DiPalma is a producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @brookedipalma.

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