Born in Tehran, Iran, Mahmoud Reza Banki immigrated to the US to attend college and became a naturalized US citizen in the 1990s. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a double major in Chemical Engineering and Applied Mathematics. He subsequently earned a PhD in Chemical Engineering with a focus on Biotechnology from Princeton University and has published numerous scientific articles  and a biotechnology book. After completing his PhD, he worked as a management consultant at the New York City office of McKinsey & Company , the premier global management consulting firm.
After his release Banki earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University of California, Los Angeles, and also worked at NBCUniversal.
Banki spoke publicly for the first time about his case at TED (conference) Talk in 2014  and presented a compelling case for change.
As of 2015 a documentary film about the case was being made.