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Empowering Students And Building Educational Success With MS Education Consultants: Dr. Mariam Shaikh

We recently had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Mariam Shaikh, Founder and CEO of MS Education Consultants. With a career span of over three decades in the education industry, Dr. Mariam Shaikh has held diverse roles and achieved significant milestones and honors, along with being a celebrated entrepreneur.

Dr. Mariam’s career transition from being a senior university professional to an entrepreneur reflects her passion and dedication to empowering students. In this insightful interview, Dr. Mariam Shaikh shares her career trajectory, her business-leading style, and offers us a glimpse of her company.

The Beginning

We started the session by asking, “Can you tell us about your professional journey and what led you to your current role?”

Dr. Mariam Shaikh

Dr. Mariam Shaikh shared, “Having spent over 30 years immersed in the field of education in the United Arab Emirates, my journey has been a rich tapestry of diverse roles and impactful experiences. It all began with me starting a preschool for my daughter, where I first discovered my passion for nurturing young minds. From there, I ascended to the role of Head Principal in K-12 schools, where I honed my leadership skills and deepened my understanding of the educational landscape. 

But it was as a Founding Senior Leader that I truly found my stride, spearheading student recruitment, marketing, and enhancing the overall student experience for some of the UAE’s largest and most esteemed universities such as Amity University, Heriot-Watt University, and the

Canadian University of Dubai. It was here that I realized the transformative power of education on a larger scale.

Now, as the driving force behind MS Education Consultants, I am excited to continue this journey of success and opportunity, both for students and educational institutions, not just in the UAE but across the globe. Together, let us embark on a path towards greater achievement and fulfillment in the world of education.”

Setting MS Education Consultants Apart

We were intrigued to learn how Dr. Mariam Shaikh sets a unique approach in the market with her company. We asked, “What sets your business apart from competitors in the industry?”

Dr. Mariam Shaikh

Dr. Mariam Shaikh replied, “MS Education Consultants specializes in guiding and advising students throughout the entire application process, helping them choose suitable and trending programs, providing insights into career prospects, facilitating internships abroad, assisting with accommodation both on and off campus, offering visa support, and addressing any other needs they may have to ensure their student journey is a remarkable one. What distinguishes us from other service providers is our extensive experience of 35 years in collaborating with leading international universities.

At MS Education Consultants, our primary focus is to offer a comprehensive solution for students seeking admission to universities in various countries including the UK, US, Canada, Australia, UAE, Europe, Malaysia, and India. Through our partnerships with esteemed

universities such as Toronto Metropolitan University and University of Guelph in Canada, Heriot-Watt University, Canadian University, and many others, we strive to offer students a diverse selection of courses and programs to suit their interests and career goals.”

She added, “By collaborating with universities across different countries and regions, we offer students a broader perspective and the opportunity to explore educational options in various international destinations. This exposure can broaden their horizons, foster cultural understanding, and enhance their global outlook. These universities are recognized for their academic excellence, world-class faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and commitment to providing a holistic learning experience. 

MS Education Consultants has introduced a Cultural & Higher Education Experience Program, a week-long immersive opportunity for students eager to gain valuable insights into future careers and immerse themselves in Dubai’s flourishing economy. This program offers participants the chance to explore renowned international university campuses in the UAE while experiencing the vibrant culture and rich heritage of the United Arab Emirates.

We aim to empower young and adult learners with physical and virtual experiences, industry-led training, and innovative learning programs. Our company values staying ahead in education and offers cutting-edge opportunities for students to thrive globally.”

Worth-Sharing Achievements

We further asked, “What has been your business’s biggest achievement to date?”

She continued, “Our business’s most significant achievement to date was when I received the GCC Leadership Award in March 2019. This accolade holds a profound significance for me as it came just before embarking on my entrepreneurial venture following a successful 35-year career in senior leadership roles at three major international institutions. The award served as a pivotal moment of validation and encouragement as I transitioned into the unfamiliar territory of entrepreneurship. It instilled in me a sense of confidence and determination, affirming that I could navigate this new chapter in my career. 

Being recognized among the esteemed GCC Women Leaders was a source of immense pride and honor. It underscored the years of hard work, dedication, and expertise that had shaped my professional journey. All my awards are not just acknowledgments of past achievements but also serve as motivators to continue pushing boundaries, embracing new opportunities, and striving for excellence. They remind me of the progress made, the challenges overcome, and the endless possibilities that lie ahead. Each recognition fuels my commitment to making a positive difference in the world and leaves a lasting impact on society.”

A Graceful Progress

Dr. Mariam Shaikh


To learn more about Dr. Mariam Shaikh’s leadership style, we inquired, “How would you describe your leadership style?”

Dr. Mariam Shaikh replied, “My leadership style is characterized by a visionary approach, adaptability, and a commitment to fostering personal connections. I believe in having a clear vision for the future of our company and developing strategic plans to achieve that vision, while also understanding the ever-changing landscape of education and identifying opportunities for growth and improvement.

In terms of student recruitment, I prioritize face-to-face interactions and personalized counseling efforts, as I firmly believe they yield superior results. Through various events and one-on-one sessions, I ensure a tailored and impactful experience for both parents and students, addressing their needs and concerns effectively.

I prioritize empowerment, delegation, and motivation in effective leadership. I delegate responsibility and authority to foster growth and achieve goals. Being a motivating and inspiring leader, I focus on solutions rather than problems, while valuing people and building strong relationships of trust, respect, and encouragement. Continuous learning, self-improvement, and graceful progress are important aspects of my leadership style.”

Retaining Top Talents

For a successful business, having the best talents is paramount. So, we asked, “What strategies do you use to motivate and develop talent in your organization?”

Dr. Mariam Shaikh replied, “I employ a multifaceted approach aimed at fostering growth, engagement, and empowerment among team members. One of the key strategies I utilize is to create a supportive and inclusive work culture where individuals feel valued, respected, and motivated to excel.

Firstly, I believe in providing opportunities for continuous learning and development. By investing in the professional development of our team members, we not only improve their capabilities but also demonstrate our commitment to their growth and success.”

“Additionally, I promote open communication and feedback culture through regular check-ins, evaluations, and constructive sessions. This fosters accountability and encourages individuals to take ownership of their development. Recognizing and celebrating achievements further reinforces team members’ values and motivation.

Finally, I believe in leading by example and embodying the values and behaviors that inspire and motivate others. By demonstrating integrity, resilience, and a commitment to excellence, I aim to inspire our team members to strive for their best and reach their full potential.” She added.

Impact Of AI – Reshaping The Education Industry

With the fast-paced digital transformation happening currently, every industry is undergoing massive transformation, including the education sector. To understand Dr. Mariam Shaikh’s perspective on this, we asked, “What role do you see artificial intelligence or technology playing in this industry?”

Dr. Mariam Shaikh responded, “Artificial intelligence (AI) and technology play increasingly vital roles in the education industry, revolutionizing various aspects of teaching, learning, administration, and student recruitment. In terms of teaching and learning, AI-powered educational platforms and tools offer personalized learning experiences tailored to individual student needs and preferences. These technologies can analyze student data to identify learning gaps, provide real-time feedback, and offer customized recommendations for improvement. 

In student recruitment, technology plays a crucial role in reaching and engaging prospective students by utilizing digital marketing strategies, data analytics, and AI algorithms to target specific demographics and personalize communication. Virtual campus tours, webinars, and online counseling sessions offer convenient access to information and support for prospective students. Chatbots and virtual assistants enhance communication and efficiency within educational institutions.”

She further added, “Virtual events and online platforms provide interactive experiences, allowing students to explore campus facilities and interact with faculty and staff. Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies showcase campus life and academic programs, creating a memorable experience for prospective students.

AI predictive analytics aid in identifying trends and predicting student behavior, enabling data-informed decisions to enhance student success. By analyzing extensive data, AI identifies at-risk students and provides targeted interventions. Additionally, technology streamlines the application and admissions process, using online portals, electronic document submission, and automated reviews to simplify and expedite the process for students and staff.”

Envisioning The Future

To learn more about the insights Dr. Mariam Shaikh has regarding her industry, we asked, “How do you envision the future of your industry?”

Dr. Mariam Shaikh responded, “The future of the education industry is shaped by a convergence of technological advancements, evolving pedagogical approaches, and shifting societal needs. Here’s how I envision the trajectory of the industry.

Technology will facilitate personalized learning for students, adapting to their unique needs and preferences through adaptive learning platforms, AI-based tutoring, and immersive simulations. The line between traditional and online learning will be blurred as institutions adopt blended learning models, allowing for flexibility and accessibility while still incorporating in-person interactions and hands-on experiences.

Also, lifelong learning is crucial as individuals adapt to changing job markets and technological advancements. Continuous education and professional development are necessary for staying competitive. Globalization of education will increase with technology and demand for international collaboration. Remote learning options will expand, enabling access to quality education worldwide. Competency-based education models will replace traditional degrees, emphasizing specific skills mastery. Digital credentials like micro-credentials and digital badges will gain recognition as alternative forms of credentialing.”

Dr. Mariam Shaikh added, “Institutions will increasingly rely on data analytics and predictive modeling to inform decision-making processes related to student recruitment, retention, and academic performance. Data-driven insights will enable institutions to identify trends, predict outcomes, and implement targeted interventions to support student success. Education will focus more on student well-being, mental health, and social-emotional learning. Furthermore, prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion will help address systemic inequalities and create inclusive learning environments. The EdTech sector will grow rapidly with startups driving advancements in adaptive learning, gamification, virtual reality, and AI, changing how education is delivered.

Overall, the future of the education industry holds immense potential for innovation, collaboration, and positive societal impact. By embracing technology, adapting to changing needs, and prioritizing student success and well-being, the industry will continue to evolve and thrive in the years to come.”

Overcoming Major Hurdles

Every business inevitably faces certain challenging phases. To learn how Dr. Mariam Shaikh overcame these situations, we asked, “What have been some of the most significant hurdles you’ve encountered in your business, and how did you address them?”

Dr. Mariam Shaikh

Dr. Mariam Shaikh shared, “In my business journey, I’ve encountered several significant hurdles, each of which has contributed to my growth and resilience. Transitioning from a senior professional role in a university to becoming an entrepreneur was a major challenge for me. The shift from a steady salary to the unpredictability of generating funds as an entrepreneur required me to adapt quickly and adopt a proactive approach to securing finances.

One of the biggest challenges I faced as a female CEO was navigating the stereotypical expectations of adopting a “male” attitude in business. However, I firmly believe in remaining authentic to myself and finding my voice, which has been essential in overcoming these

preconceived expectations and asserting my leadership style.”

“Additionally, raising capital for my business, particularly as a woman-owned venture, presented its own set of obstacles. While I haven’t yet needed external investors, I recognize the importance of being pitch-ready as my business scales up. I am committed to preparing myself to effectively communicate the value and potential of my business to potential investors in the future. Navigating male-dominated industries or workplaces has also been a recurring challenge. However, I am fortunate to be operating in Dubai, a vibrant and supportive city for female entrepreneurs, allowing for valuable growth and recognition despite navigating male-dominated industries.

With my extensive experience, expertise, and educational network, leveraging the trust and reputation I’ve built over 35 years, I overcame hurdles. I also actively seek resources and support from women’s groups and coworking spaces for guidance and networking. Through determination and authenticity, I drive my business forward in a changing landscape.” She added.

A Valuable Business Advice, we asked Dr. Mariam Shaikh

We asked, “What is an excellent piece of business advice you have ever received?”

Dr. Mariam Shaikh replied, “One of the most valuable pieces of business advice I’ve ever received is from my brother, Professor Imran Currim, Chancellor Professor at the University of California, Irvine. He always told me, “Strive to thrive, it’s not enough to simply survive or get by; true success comes from continuously pushing yourself to excel and grow, both personally and professionally.”

To thrive in business means embracing challenges as opportunities for growth, staying agile and adaptable in the face of change, and never becoming complacent with the status quo. It means setting ambitious goals, pursuing them with unwavering determination, and constantly seeking ways to innovate and improve. There will inevitably be setbacks and obstacles along the way, but it’s how we respond to these challenges that ultimately determines our success. By remaining resilient in the face of adversity and maintaining a positive attitude, we can overcome even the toughest of circumstances and emerge stronger than before.

But most importantly, thriving in business is a journey of continuous learning and improvement. It’s about recognizing that success is not a destination but a never-ending process of growth and development. By constantly seeking ways to innovate and improve, we can stay ahead of the curve and maintain our competitive edge in an ever-evolving marketplace.”

Maintaining A Harmonious Balance

We ended the session by asking Dr. Mariam Shaikh, “How do you balance investing in up-to-date ideas with ensuring ongoing operations remain successful?”

Dr. Mariam Shaikh shared, “Balancing investment in up-to-date ideas with the ongoing success of operations is a delicate dance, requiring strategic foresight and adaptability. By employing specific strategies, I try to strike a harmonious balance between investing in up-to-date ideas and ensuring the ongoing success of operations, ultimately driving sustainable growth and competitiveness.

I ensure allocating resources proportionally between innovation initiatives and sustaining current operations. While innovation is crucial for long-term growth, neglecting day-to-day operations can jeopardize stability. I clearly define my priorities for both innovation and operations and identify which areas of my company require immediate attention for maintaining efficiency and which ones offer the most potential for innovation and growth.”

“Also, I try to promote a culture where my employees are encouraged to come up with or experiment with any new ideas. Additionally, I am on the constant lookout for collaboration opportunities with external partners, such as research institutions, startups, or industry experts, to access new ideas, technologies, and best practices. This injects fresh perspectives into the organization while mitigating risks associated with internal innovation efforts.

While we carry out all our operations, I emphasize the need to remain flexible and adaptable in the face of changing market dynamics and emerging trends. This flexibility allows the company to seize opportunities for innovation while effectively managing operational challenges.” She concluded.

Follow Dr. Mariam Shaikh on LinkedIn.

Find MS Education Consultants on LinkedIn and visit their website

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Monday, May 27, 2024

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