CNBC Explains

Salman Khan

Salman Khan_42880621
Founder, Executive Director, Faculty The Khan Academy

Founder, Executive Director, Faculty, The Khan Academy

Salman Khan is the founder and executive director of the Khan Academy based in Mountain View, CA.

In 2004, Khan began tutoring his cousin Nadia in mathematics using a Doodle notepad. When other relatives and friends sought his tutorial, he decided it would be more practical to distribute the tutorials on YouTube. He didn't want a format that would involve a person standing by a whiteboard — instead, he wanted to present the content as though he were sitting next to someone and working out a problem on a sheet of paper.

The growing popularity of his videos online prompted Khan to quit his job in finance in 2009 and focus on the Academy full time. The Khan Academy's current content is concerned with everything from simple math and history to college-level science, economics and calculus. Khan's long-term goal is to provide tens of thousands of videos on many subjects and to create the world's first free, world-class virtual school where anyone can learn anything. Offline versions of the videos have been distributed by not-for-profit groups to rural areas in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

Khan believes his academy shows there is an opportunity to overhaul the traditional classroom by using software to create tests, grade assignments, highlight the challenges of certain students, and encourage those doing well to help struggling classmates.

As of June 2011, the Khan Academy has delivered over 58 million lessons. In September 2010, Google announced it would give the Khan Academy, a non-profit, $2 million to create more courses and to enable the Khan Academy to translate its core library into the world's most widely spoken languages.

Khan has made numerous media appearances on shows ranging from The Colbert Report to NBC Nightly News and PBS. He also delivered a talk at TED in 2011. Born and raised in New Orleans, La., he holds three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: a BS in mathematics, a BS in electrical engineering and computer science, and an MS in electrical engineering and computer science. He also holds an MBA fromHarvard Business School.

Contact CNBC Explains


    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    Please choose a subscription

    Please enter a valid email address
    Get these newsletters delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and service. Privacy Policy.

Bonds and Rates Explained